Monday call-in on computer security

Some tips from our call-in panel to keep from getting hacked, or worse when you go on line

Some thoughts on computer security from our panel on Monday evening's call-in on NBC3:

~If you put something online it can be found. Professor Yang Wang, who looks at privacy issues at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, says there are efforts at no tracking of personal information, and there are some programs now that can block some efforts, but it's all a work in progress.

~Passwords are the first line of protection, and should be 10 characters or longer and include upper- and lower-case letters as well as symbols and punctuation characters to minimize hacking.

Passwords should be changed on a regular basis, and each account should have its own (otherwise if someone gets into one program, they could get into others, as well). Password Management Programs can keep track in your 'vault' (there are free programs available that wil also generate very strong passwords for online accounts. (LastPass, DashLane, Roboform and KeePass are some options, here's a link to more )

Do not let a program 'remember' your password, though you're often prompted to do so. And, don't share your password with friends and family, or store account info on an unsecured document on your computer or network.

And, consider 2-factor Authentication. Sheila Sicilia, in Onondaga Community College's Computer Studies Department, says any password is hackable, but a second factor greatly increases log-in security. There are several brands of USB keys to purchase, and here's a link to more information

~Programs that can help keep you safe include anti-virus---AV, Avast and Malwarebytes are free, McAfee and Norton require fees. And Eddie Moran, who is te computer lab coordinator at Ithaca's Southside Community Center says you should also have anti-spyware to cut down on tracking your online work. Spybot Search and Destroy from is one option. So is Adaware.

Resources for more information include area libraries (many offer courses as well as help sessions) and senior and community centers.

Next week's Monday Call-in will be on wills and end of life directives. You can email questions anytime to

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