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Firewall Flowchart

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

I always recommend having a Software Firewall on your computer, but the one catch is that you have to know what to do when you get an alert. It's not very hard once you've seen it once or twice, but to help you walk through it, I've made this firewall flowchart:

Click on the image for a larger view

Just start at the green oval and answer the yes/no questions to trace your way through.

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In most cases, the only thing that protects your money, your reputation, and your livelihood are the passwords you use to protect them. Computer security, online accounts, and everything else all pretty much rests on your ability to make and keep good passwords. So why is it that the average person spends so little time and effort doing it right?

Chances are it's because they were never taught how or why they needed to do so. Well, let's change that!

Making Good Passwords

To understand what makes a good password, let's talk about what makes a bad one first.
Making good passwords can be complex, but here are some tips and tricks that will make it easier.

Password Protection

Once you've taken the trouble to make a good password, the next step is to keep it safe!
Now that you've done all this work, you have to learn the most important rule of all: DON'T GIVE THEM AWAY!
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AVG – Free Antivirus

AVG free anti-virus


Due to rampant privacy invasion, I no longer recommend the AVG anti-virus. At this time, the best free anti-virus available is Avast which can be found here

I'd used Norton products for years because I got them free from working in retail or attending a school with a special license). Now that those days are over, I've had to look at paying for the anti-virus and I've begun to wonder if it's worth it.

Norton software is a notorious hog of system resources and can drastically slow down your computer's start-up time. Switching to free alternatives is a big help.

The newest version of AVG works very well and also includes a feature that automatically checks your search engine results for malicious code. A site with a green check next to it is considered safe and anything else should be treated cautiously.

When you got to the site, remember to be careful to get the free for home use version and not the "Free trial" of any of their other versions. Also be cautious during the install process to uncheck any options for add-ons like Yahoo! Toolbar or such. Other than that, it should be a pretty straight-forward process.


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Bad Passwords

To understand what makes good passwords, first check out some of the worst passwords out there and what makes them so bad.

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Password Tips and Tricks

It's impossible to expect someone to make good passwords by just giving them some rules. There are tricks that make your passwords secure and easy for you all at the same time.

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Password Protection

It's really a skill to come up with secure passwords that you can remember. Once you've learned how, remember that it doesn't matter how good you are if you don't protect your password properly.

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Password Mugging

A disturbing new practice among websites and services is where they ask you for your user name and password to other sites. I call this "Password Mugging"

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