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Online Security

Ok, you know that you ‘should’ be more secure when online, but how do you go about it? What do you do? Below we outline several key areas that will help you protect yourself and increase personal online security.

Keep your Computer Up to Date

An older computer opens up your chances for spyware, malware, virus infections, hacking and identity theft. The most important thing you can do, is to always make sure your Windows operating system is up to date. If you need a new computer get one. It is not worth the risk of using an older computer in this day and age.

NTI QuadStation ComputersPerform Windows Security updates on a regular basis (at least once a month). We are not a fan of Automatic Windows Updates as it can sometimes wreak havoc on a computer.

When performing Windows Updates the Critical Updates are the most important and what keeps you secure. Other updates are considered ‘optional’ updates which are usually non critical such as drivers etc. Note when your automatic update setting is turned ON, you will get all critical updates plus ALL optional updates.

This is the part that we do not like. Particularly on our  multi display computer systems, Microsoft usually tries to change the video drivers and ends up dropping out displays.

For more on keeping your computer tuned up, see Routine Computer Maintenance.

Personal Data

Backup, Backup, Backup! We can’t stress this enough. We have said this for more than almost 3 decades now. “The frequency of your backups should be directly proportionate to the value of your data”. If it is priceless, back up daily. A general rule of thumb is to back up no less than once a week for general data, word processing documents, pictures etc.

We recommend backing up accounting data daily. Quicken and QuickBooks both have a backup utility built right in, so no excuses! If you don’t know how to backup, learn.

Online Security

How to create strong passwordsWe have talked before about how to create strong passwords, but have you been using them? If your passwords are weak, take the time to fix that now (particularly with online banking). Create strong passwords, login when you need to and log back out when you are done.

Make note of your own behavior. Do you log in to your banking, Google, Amazon, etc and walk away from your computer? This is a bad practice and you are leaving yourself vulnerable. Get in the habit of logging out of everything, every time, when you are done.

Browser Security

​You would not believe how much of your personal information is captured simply by browsing the internet. Most people do not give online security a second thought. They are looking for something, they want a fast answer, they “Google it”…done. It is easy, it is fast, the answer is there.

Keep this in mind. For example, let’s say you are looking for bread recipes for your bread machine. You Google it, found a great one and you are baking away.

Thanks to browser cookies, Google now knows that you have an interest in bread, bread machines, recipes and so on. Ok your bread is done, the house smells great! You come back to your computer and you are getting spam emails about Martha Stewart’s new cookbook, offers from, cookbook specials, sales on bread machines etc. That is no coincidence. There is an easy solution for that, go incognito !

Browse in Incognito or Private Mode

What this means is that pages you view in “incognito / private mode” won’t stick around in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after you’ve closed all of your incognito tabs. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be kept. It is not a cure-all but very easy to do on the fly without slowing you down. How to go incognito:

​In Chrome choose New Incognito Window from the dot, dot, dot menu on the upper right. You can also RIGHT click on the Chrome icon at the bottom of your screen, or hit CTL+SHIFT+N.

In Firefox on the upper right menu choose New Private Windowor hit CTL+SHIFT+P.

In Internet Explorer, from the TOOLS menubar (right click on top of browser if not showing) use InPrivate Browsing.

How to Open Chrome Incognito by Default on your Computer

  1. Click on your Start menu> Programs and locate the main Chrome icon. NOTE any other Chrome shortcut you already have created will not work. You must do this on the main Chrome icon!
  2. RIGHT Click on the main Chrome icon and left click on Properties.
  3. At the end of the Target line after chrome.exe, put a Space then add : “-incognito“. So it should look like this:


Next, delete OLD Chrome shortcuts on your desktop , start menu and task bar.

Finally,  make all NEW chrome shortcuts based on the MAIN Chrome icon modified above on the Start menu. Open the Start menu> Programs going back to the main chrome icon. RIGHT click on it and Create Shortcut, Pin to Start, Pin to taskbar or Add to Start menu.

Thats it. Whcn you click on any of those new shortcuts your Chrome browser should open BLACK indicating you are in Incognito Mode.

In FireFox it is called Private Browsing but the same thing basically. To set that default in FireFox, go to Settings>Privacy and Security and scroll down to the History section.

Put a checkmark in Always Use Private Browsing Mode. Then follow the same instructions above to create all new FireFox shortcuts.


How to Open Chrome Incognito / Private Browser on Your Phone by Default

To always open your browser in incognito (private) mode by default on your phone, do this:

Google Chrome IconIn Chrome, long press (press and HOLD for a couple seconds) on the Chrome icon.  Let go when you see this little menu appear.

Then press and hold and DRAG the New Incognito Tab icon…off to your phone’s home screen.

Firefox by MozillaIn FireFox the procedure is basically the same. Long press the Firefox icon until this little menu pops up.

Then press and hold and DRAG the Private Window icon…off to your phone’s home screen.


Laptop Security

Since laptops are portable, it is more important to maintain security when away from your home or office. Here are a few tips:

  • It is a good practice to always have a login password. If you walk away from your laptop anyone can walk up and see your data.
  • Public WiFi. When possible avoid it by using your cell phone Hot Spot if you have it. If you must connect to any public wifi, ALWAYS use Incognito/Private  Browsing (see above).
  • Connect to the wifi, do what you need to do, the sign OFF. Don’t stay connected to public wifi any longer than needed.
  • If you are at a hotel, the same rules apply. When at a hotel, usually they require you to login to a special hotel browser connect to hotel Wifi. The same thing applies, log off before leaving your room, never stay connected.

Need a New Laptop?

QuadStation Traveler Multi Display Laptop with 3 screens by NTI.

The QuadStation Traveler is a professional grade laptop with multiple screens. The system includes 2 x portable USB monitors for a total of 3 monitors including the laptop. In addition, connect a 4th screen to a TV or monitor with HDMI for ultimate productivity when traveling. Everything fits in the weatherproof case which is regulation size so fits in the overhead of commercial aircraft.

Cloud Services

Storing your data in the cloud certainly makes things easier and convenient. But be aware that when you sign up for services like DropBox, iCloud, Evernote etc you are likely agreeing to share your data on some level. Do your research and actually read their Privacy Policies. Also ask them how your data is encrypted another security point. If you do not feel comfortable with what you find, consider storing your data locally.

Email Security

Regardless of which email program you use, empty Junk/Spam and Deleted Items regularly unless you love getting spam. This is the reason why. Spammers are true con artists. They know you delete them on contact, and end up in your Spam Folder or Deleted Items folder. Fine with them, they can work from there, and you have forgotten about it forever thinking they are gone. NO. Think of this like a Trojan Horse.

You should delete your Junk / Spam folder and Deleted items several times a DAY. Take a look now. How many items do you have in these folders now? Try to keep them empty at all times.

Antivirus Programs

​Nortons, McAfee, Avast, Kaspersky, AVG you have probably paid for at least one of these subscription services. Good news! Microsoft Defender is included with Widnows 10 and 11. Best of all, it is FREE, updates automatically and runs in the background. It does not interfere with other software programs and does a pretty good job at protecting against viruses, malware and spyware.

It just makes sense that since most of the attacks are against Microsoft software, who better to provide the protection against it?

Pandora Radio

​Make sure to OPT out daily! You start your day, grab your coffee, login to Pandora to get your tunes rolling. Pandora is great, but here is the thing you may not know. Look at the bottom of the Pandora page. You will see this:

How to opt out of pandora ads

Click on it. Did you know that when you sign up for Pandora the default setting is that you agree to OPT IN to be emailed from 100’s of companies?

See for yourself, here is what it says: “Advertisers may collect data about your online browsing activity and use it to show you targeted ads

Also, click on the PRIVACY link at the bottom there. It Pandora states this: ”We may receive or collect information about you from third parties, and combine and store it on our servers with other information we may have already received or collected from you“.

​Unfortunately, there is no way to OPT OUT permanently with Pandora so you have to do this every day. It takes just a few seconds, click on Select All and Submit Opt-outs. Get in the habit of doing this. Your spam folder will thank you for it.

Sign Out of Google

Sign Out of Google When you are logged into your Google account, you are logging into ALL Google products and your data is being stored. By that I mean the sites you visit, things you search for on the web etc. in the form of browser cookies and other means.

From Google’s perspective this is all in an effort to create a more personalized search experience for the user by recording what the user likes and dislikes. The tradeoff is that they are capturing personal information about you whether you like it or not.

To avoid this, login to your Google account to check your email, calendar or use other Google apps but when you are done, by all means logout. Also don’t forget about “Incognito Mode” mentioned above.

Video Camera Systems

Video Surveillance CamerasIf you are not protecting your family and your business with video surveillance in this day and age, you should be. With home invasions, terrorism on US soil and crime increasingly on the rise, it is a smart investment.

Don’t buy cheap Costco cameras kits. Spend a little more and get a high quality camera system. Not only will the video be cleaner and sharper, you will be able to view your cameras LIVE from your phone or computer when you are away.

Always Invest in Quality

Of all the advice that we have shared over the years, perhaps the most important is this: Invest in quality, not unreliable, cheap, disposable technology and you will never go wrong.  Creating a productive, secure and profitable work environment starts with high quality products designed with high quality components.

We take great pride in using only the ” latest and the greatest” components in all of our multi monitor computer systems and video surveillance systems.  When seconds and minutes count, you have to be able to depend on your technology to stay afloat and competitive in today’s rapidly changing world.  In other words: “If you are not riding the wave of change, you will find yourself beneath it”.

Multi Display Computer Systems

NTI QuadStation Computers