Browsers, Passwords and Security

November 9, 2013

Install Multiple Web BrowsersWhen someone calls to report most any type of issue involving the Web, one of the first things I ask them to try is to use a different browser. It is just a simple way to test if the browser they originally tried is part of the problem. It always surprises me when the person tells me they don’t have any other browsers beyond the one they are using installed.

Let me ask you a question. If I were to ask you to list the five computer activities that involve the most time for you, wouldn’t browsing the Web be included? Remember that some of you access your e-mail via the Web. It could be research, reading articles, downloading drivers or social media. So if using a Web browser is one of those top five activities and all of the browsers are free, remind me again why so many people don’t have more than one installed?

An even bigger problem is that the one browser typically installed is Internet Explorer since it is supplied with Windows. It is also the one that gets attacked the most and developers report as being the most problematic. Please, please, please read me post from April entitled Install Multiple Web Browsers and Avoid Download Managers. It has links to download all of the major browsers and it wouldn’t hurt if you installed one or two more. Heck, you might even find you like one of the others better!

Another reality of the Web is keeping track of the various accounts you create on Web sites. If you are like most people, you use the same credentials on many sites and your passwords are incredibly easy to crack. Did you hear where as many as 150,000,000 Adobe Accounts were hacked? Yes, this could be a problem with an account you have with Adobe. The bigger problem is that you probably use that same password all over the Web. So now the hackers can access a lot more than you might think!

I know, I know, you can’t keep track of difficult passwords on all of those accounts. You don’t have to remember all of them! I wrote back in January Choosing Strong Passwords and Remembering Them Easily. I probably have 200 or more different “logins” stored on my devices using the Roboform software described in that post. It not only works on your computers, but also on smartphones and tablets so your logins are available on all your devices. Some of you will complain about having to spend some money for it. Would you rather use basic passwords and have your accounts hacked? How expensive will that be to fix? Just think of all the money you saved on Web browsers since they are free!

Another really important tip is to always Copy (Ctrl + C) and Paste  (Ctrl + V) passwords from the e-mail or other source into the forms. That way you don’t accidentally type anything incorrectly. If you take advantage of other browsers, use strong passwords saved with Roboform and use Copy/Paste, you’ll find that things work much better!

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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