Don’t Have A Password?  Your computers will be buggy

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A common misconception of computer users is that no one will want your data, so why use a password?  Using a password to access your computer will help prevent others from gaining access to your data.  It will also help prevent malicious software hack-attacks from wiping out your computer and rendering it useless, causing you to spend money to recover it.

computer support dallasComputers today come in many varieties, sizes and shapes.  Computers include your office workstation, laptop, tablet, and smart phone to name a few.  All computers should have a strong password because all computers can be hacked.  Using a strong password to gain access to your computer devices might be less convenient, but it is a simple and proactive approach to saving money on tech support costs and minimizing data loss, not to mention the hours of expensive downtime.

Not only should you have a password in place to access your computer, you should choose a strong password that is hard to crack.  I’m often told that having to type a password is too inconvenient.  Think about how inconvenient it will be on your pocket book to spend money recovering your computer’s operating system because it was too easy for the malicious hacker software to attack you.

The top 10 bugs you don’t want on your computer devices…

  1. Virus
  2. Spyware
  3. Worms
  4. Adware
  5. Rootkit
  6. Trojan
  7. Ransomware
  8. Keyloggers
  9. Browser Hijacker
  10. Rogue Security Software

Hackers and viruses enter your computer’s operating system in many ways.  A common way is through the Administrator account of your Windows operating system.

By default, the Administrator account does not have a password.  Anyone who can log in using this account has “unlimited” control over the operating system and its settings.  That means that they can put viruses on your computer or wipe out your hard drive even if you have installed antivirus software.

Whatever they want to do to your computer is accessible through the Administrator account.  Furthermore, some viruses are programmed to attack computers with weak Administrator passwords.  A virus can run through a dictionary of words until it cracks into your computer.  Once inside, the virus has unlimited Administrator access to infect your computer.

When Microsoft Windows is originally set up, it prompts you to select an Administrator password or to set up yourself as an Administrator. Often users will choose a simple password such as their dog’s name, company name, the word “password”, or even leave it blank for convenience.  A computer manufacturer will intentionally leave the Administrator password blank so that you can customize it by entering your own password.

Why shouldn’t you use a simple password?  When you connect your computer to a network or the internet it is subject to a constant barrage of attacks. If you don’t believe this install a software firewall, pop some popcorn, and sit back and watch the attempted attacks.  Hackers and virus writers use simple and very effective programs to scan computers on the internet or local networks for vulnerabilities and attempt to gain control over them.  These hackers are usually not actual people sitting behind a computer punching buttons.  They are in fact computers with software that can scan thousands of times per second looking for potential victims.

A common and frequently successful technique is to check for a blank Administrator password or try to guess it. Guessing may take the form of checking a few hundred commonly used passwords or running a full dictionary attack. If the attack succeeds, your computer may then be used to send out tens of thousands of spam messages, to store and make available stolen or pornographic material, or to attack other computers and networks.  You should know that the authorities have equipment which will detect whose computer is responsible for the attack, or who served up the pornographic material.  Would you like the FBI visiting you because it was your computer?

The trick is to make your password difficult to guess.  All computers should be secured with a strong Administrator password. All other accounts on your computer, especially any with Administrator privileges, should also have strong passwords.  Strong password guidelines include using at least 8 characters with a mix of all of the following: lower and upper case letters, numbers, and punctuation characters.  Do not use a password that will be easily guessed such as a name or any word in the dictionary.  For most Windows operating systems you can go to Control Panel and type ‘change password’ in the Help window for your specific procedure.  For other operating systems, consult the Help index and search for ‘change password’.

Computers today come in many varieties, sizes and shapes.  Computers include your office workstation, laptop, tablet, and smart phone to name a few.  All computers should have a strong password because all computers can be hacked.  Using a strong password to gain access to your computer devices might be less convenient, but it is a simple and proactive approach to saving money on tech support costs and minimizing data loss, not to mention the hours of expensive downtime.