Internet Security: Password Dos and Don’ts

The Internet is a glorious thing! These days we use it for work, play, education, shopping, and more – and we all have many, many different password-protected accounts, so we can check our email, watch movies, check our kids’ progress in school, and request books from the local library. Unfortunately, for every person who’s a good citizen of the Internet, there’s someone else trying to steal personal information. This is why it’s so important to have strong passwords. Read on to find some simple dos and don’ts to help you stay safe online.

Do change your passwords frequently. If someone has been working at breaking into your account, all their progress will be lost. Also, make them at least eight characters long. The longer a password is, the harder it will be to crack.
Don’t use characters that appear consecutively on a keyboard (“12345,” “qwerty”), and don’t use words found in the dictionary, words spelled backward, common misspellings, or slang terms. These passwords are easy to guess, and there is even software out there to assist hackers in cracking such combinations.
Do use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters. Consider creating a password that stands for a phrase or sentence, such as “Hs:mP$2009” to stand for “Home security: my passion since 2009” or “Iat#1HPf” to stand for “I am the number one Harry Potter fan.”
Don’t use words relevant to your personal life as passwords, such as the names or birthdays of kids or pets, the company you work for, or your middle name. It won’t take more than a little research on your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media page for a person with bad intentions to find this information. Also consider this when choosing security questions to answer in case you forget your password. (Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account was once broken into by people who easily figured out the answers to her security questions.) Hackers can dig up your mom’s maiden name even if she never uses the Internet. Try to choose something less easily availble – perhaps the name of your favorite high school teacher.
Do use a different password for each account. If you use only one password and someone figures it out, they now have access to all your many online accounts.
Don’t leave your passwords on a sticky note at your desk or keep an obvious list of passwords on any of your devices. This sounds fairly obvious, but it’s a common mistake.
Do consider using an online password manager that will store your multiple passwords for you. Then you’ll only have to remember one very strong password to access your list. Alternatively, you can make a diguised password list on a device by creating a file with a title that looks like other files on your device (say, “LessonPlans_July” if you’re a teacher) but that you know is something different than what it’s labeled. Be sure to hide your passwords among other information in that file.
Don’t click on any links asking you to divulge or change your password, even if they look legitimate. If a company has suffered an information breach, they should email or text you and ask you to independently log on and update your account. When in doubt, always type in the URL for the site yourself. Don’t click on any links that seem odd or out of place, such as a strangely worded advertisement for a weight loss drug that your friend seems to have posted on Facebook. Clicking on that link will likely allow your account to be hacked as well.
Do be vigilant about logging off when using public computers or even your own devices on public networks. If at all possible, don’t enter any passwords when you’re on a public device (such as a computer at the library) or public network (such as the local coffee shop’s free wi-fi), as there is more likely to be malware or keystroke loggers present in these scenarios to steal your information.
Don’t give your passwords out to anyone, not even a spouse or close friend. Unfortunately, someone whom you trust today may not be so trustworthy in the future. Or perhaps that person might write down your password to help them remember it and then lose the note or forget to destroy it, potentially allowing your password to fall into the wrong hands.
Do use a lock screen if it’s an option on your device. Most smart phones and even some computers can be set so they can only be unlocked with a pattern drawn on the screen or a fingerprint that matches one already on file. While these features are not available for use on websites (yet?), keeping your device locked will make it that much harder for hackers to access your Internet history and other personal info.
Having strong, smart passwords is essential to keeping so much information safe: your bank balance, your medical history, your friends’ addresses and phone numbers, the features of your home security system. At Protectus Security Home & Business Security Systems in Dallas, we want to ensure that you are as safe as you can possibly be – online and in the real world.

Internet Security: Password Dos and Don’ts | ProtectUs Security in Dallas, TX

 

Tips from your home security systems in Dallas company, ProtectUs security!

 

The Internet is a glorious thing! These days we use it for work, play, education, shopping, and more – and we all have many, many different password-protected accounts, so we can check our email, watch movies, check our kids’ progress in school, and request books from the local library. Unfortunately, for every person who’s a good citizen of the Internet, there’s someone else trying to steal personal information. This is why it’s so important to have strong passwords. Read on to find some simple dos and don’ts to help you stay safe online.

 

Do change your passwords frequently. If someone has been working at breaking into your account, all their progress will be lost. Also, make them at least eight characters long. The longer a password is, the harder it will be to crack.

 

Don’t use characters that appear consecutively on a keyboard (“12345,” “qwerty”), and don’t use words found in the dictionary, words spelled backward, common misspellings, or slang terms. These passwords are easy to guess, and there is even software out there to assist hackers in cracking such combinations.

 

Do use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters. Consider creating a password that stands for a phrase or sentence, such as “Hs:mP$2009” to stand for “Home security: my passion since 2009” or “Iat#1HPf” to stand for “I am the number one Harry Potter fan.”

 

Don’t use words relevant to your personal life as passwords, such as the names or birthdays of kids or pets, the company you work for, or your middle name. It won’t take more than a little research on your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media page for a person with bad intentions to find this information. Also consider this when choosing security questions to answer in case you forget your password. (Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account was once broken into by people who easily figured out the answers to her security questions.) Hackers can dig up your mom’s maiden name even if she never uses the Internet. Try to choose something less easily availble – perhaps the name of your favorite high school teacher.

 

Do use a different password for each account. If you use only one password and someone figures it out, they now have access to all your many online accounts.

 

Don’t leave your passwords on a sticky note at your desk or keep an obvious list of passwords on any of your devices. This sounds fairly obvious, but it’s a common mistake.

 

Do consider using an online password manager that will store your multiple passwords for you. Then you’ll only have to remember one very strong password to access your list. Alternatively, you can make a diguised password list on a device by creating a file with a title that looks like other files on your device (say, “LessonPlans_July” if you’re a teacher) but that you know is something different than what it’s labeled. Be sure to hide your passwords among other information in that file.

 

Don’t click on any links asking you to divulge or change your password, even if they look legitimate. If a company has suffered an information breach, they should email or text you and ask you to independently log on and update your account. When in doubt, always type in the URL for the site yourself. Don’t click on any links that seem odd or out of place, such as a strangely worded advertisement for a weight loss drug that your friend seems to have posted on Facebook. Clicking on that link will likely allow your account to be hacked as well.

 

Do be vigilant about logging off when using public computers or even your own devices on public networks. If at all possible, don’t enter any passwords when you’re on a public device (such as a computer at the library) or public network (such as the local coffee shop’s free wi-fi), as there is more likely to be malware or keystroke loggers present in these scenarios to steal your information.

 

Don’t give your passwords out to anyone, not even a spouse or close friend. Unfortunately, someone whom you trust today may not be so trustworthy in the future. Or perhaps that person might write down your password to help them remember it and then lose the note or forget to destroy it, potentially allowing your password to fall into the wrong hands.

 

Do use a lock screen if it’s an option on your device. Most smart phones and even some computers can be set so they can only be unlocked with a pattern drawn on the screen or a fingerprint that matches one already on file. While these features are not available for use on websites (yet?), keeping your device locked will make it that much harder for hackers to access your Internet history and other personal info.

 

Having strong, smart passwords is essential to keeping so much information safe: your bank balance, your medical history, your friends’ addresses and phone numbers, the features of your home security system. At ProtectUS Security Home Security Systems in Dallas, we want to ensure that you are as safe as you can possibly be – online and in the real world.

DALLAS BUSINESS FEATURE – BREADWINNERS | ProtectUs Security | Home Security Systems in Dallas TX

Local Business Feature: Bread Winners

Looking for a great place to eat in Dallas any time of day? Bread Winners may become your go-to! It has four area locations: Uptown Dallas, in an adorable converted historical house on McKinney Avenue; Inwood Village in Dallas on West Lovers Lane; the Northpark Center Mall on CenterPark Garden; Plano, on Preston Road.
Bread Winners is known for its delicious breakfast items, such as Egg Scrambles, Honey Crunch French Toast, bacon pancakes, breakfast tacos, benedicts, and their famous Croque Madame, which comes with jalapeño cream gravy. Their endlessly creative lunch and dinner dishes seem to be a little more of a well-kept secret. Try their unique salads, such as the Albuquerque Turkey, and sandwiches, such as the Raspberry Chipotle Chicken; their variety of Tex-Mex favorites; their beef and vegetarian burgers; and flatbreads that will please herbivores and carnivores alike. After 5:00 PM, they feature entrees like Shrimp and Homestead Gristmill Sharp Cheddar Grits, Blackened Redfish, Tuscan Farfalle, Turkey Sweet Potato Meatloaf, and much more. Some breakfast dishes are served all day. Enjoy a cocktail with your meal, such as a Bloody Diablo, Mango Fizz, Texas Bluebonnet Mojito, or a traditional favorite mimosa or bloody Mary.


Bread Winners knows how to bring people in with its daily specials, like half-price bottles of wine after 5:00 PM on Wednesdays and a free dessert with the purchase of an entree after 5:00 PM on Sundays. Their happy hour runs from 3:00-7:00 PM at the Northpark location and 4:00-7:00 PM at the other locations and features half-priced appetizers, flatbreads, and cocktails and $1 off beer and wine.
But Bread Winners is more than just a stylish restaurant with a great menu. Their bakery offers cakes, tortes, pies, and cheescakes in such unique flavors as Hawaiian pineapple, strawberry sour cream, banana jazz, pumpkin streusel, and double caramel vanilla, along with traditional favorites. They bake brownies, cupcakes, cookies (plain and decorated), breads, granola bars, muffins, and “Popp” tarts, and they offer a selection of gluten-free options. Bread Winners’ many flavors and treats are available daily in their bakeries on a rotating basis, and customers are welcome to call to see what is in the case each day. Their bakers will also be happy to set up a specialty order for you, from a dessert tray to a custom-decorated cake.
The final feature of Bread Winners is their catering business, featuring items from their breakfast, brunch, and lunch menus and also special party and holiday menus. The catering service can be reached by phone, email, or an online ordering system. They require no minimum order amount and can handle events ranging from a small social party to a large corporate function. Bread Winners delivers every day and can even provide paper and plastic products, utensils and serving ware, and set-up and waitstaff services!
With such a variety of food and amenities, Bread Winners just can’t be beat. For a meal away from home or even a meal brought into your home, your home security company in Dallas, Texas, recommends Bread Winners!

Moving? Have a Trusted Moving Company in Dallas 

When considering the security of your property, we know you take it seriously. You’ve installed a full home securitysystem in Dallas,

 

knowing the precautions to take living in a metropolitan area. You have security cameras, you know the numbers to your local police and fire stations, and you’ve purchased lock-boxes for your valuables. But what about when you have to move? Having a moving company you know you can trust is of utmost importance when it comes to home security. After all, your movers will see every belonging you have, from your expensive electronics to family heirlooms. Knowing that you have a reputable, honest, and professional moving company in Dallas will be key in keeping your peace of mind when moving.
Moving is not on the top of anyone’s list when it comes to fun. Having to pack every item in your house, purge and donate items you no longer need, and clean both your old and new home, as well as making sure your address is changed with every financial institution, creditors, or companies you regularly deal with isn’t much fun. Having movers in Dallas that you can count on to get the job done right while being able to trust them in your home is of extreme importance.
When it comes to professional moving companies in Dallas, make sure they are insured and bonded. This way, if anything were to happen to your valuables or breakables, you are covered. However, research the movers in Dallas you are thinking of hiring. Finding professional, clean-cut movers who have had extensive background checks is your best bet.
When looking for movers, also seek out movers that you know are highly skilled in their craft. Moving a box seems simple, but moving a box packed with centuries-old family heirlooms is not. Having skilled, reliable, and trained movers will keep your move running smoothly.
An option that comes with some moving companies in Dallas is a full-service move. If you find yourself so busy that you can’t even find the time to pack your belongings yourself, hiring professional movers to perform a full-service move can save you a lot of time. If this is the route you are opting for, make sure you hire movers that you can trust.
We recommend using Wildcat Movers for your professional moving needs. Wildcat Movers is a bonded, insured moving company serving Dallas and the surrounding areas including Plano, Fresno, and more. Their movers are highly skilled, highly trained, and trusted as one of the top moving companies in the area. For more information on Wildcat Movers, visit their website.
We take security very seriously at ProtectUs Security. We wish you happy moving, and don’t forget to call us about relocating or installing a home security system in Dallas when you move to your new home!

PROTECT YOURSELF! How to Prevent an Assault or Mugging – PT 2 – Tips from ProtectUs Security Systems in Dallas, TX

Muggings and assaults happen daily in America, and in Dallas, crime rates seem to be on the rise consistently. By having a basic set of street-smarts and being aware of your surroundings, you can prevent a mugging or assault from happening to you. We have these tips for you to follow from our two-part series on keeping yourself safe from an assault or robbery in Dallas, TX.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Safety Tips
ATMs are a common spot for potential assailants to look for their next victim, as more often than not the victim is putting in cash or removing cash from the ATM. Attackers know that there is a good possibility that they can snatch the cash from your hands and run a way, with or without using violence or weapons. Keeping yourself aware and following these tips can prevent you from getting mugged at an ATM.
Try to use a machine inside of a bank rather than a free-standing ATM. Banks have more security than free-standing ATMs, and many banks have armed security guards in the building.

Be very aware of your surroundings. Look around before beginning of your transaction. If anything feels off, or you notice anything suspicious, follow your instincts and leave the area quickly.

Never leave an ATM with cash in your hands.

If you must use an ATM at night, make sure it is in a well-lighted area and if possible, do so from your car with the door locked and the windows rolled up, besides the one you are using.
Preventing an Assault
Assaults can happen between strangers, acquaintances, friends, or even loved ones. These can range from a physical fight and escalate to a deadly situation. Prevention is key, if you find yourself in a heated situation, try to diffuse the situation as best as possible.

Never carry a firearm, knife, or other illegal weapon. If you find yourself in a situation that is beginning to get heated, do not under any circumstances reveal your weapon. Most of the time, this will only escalate the situation.

If you find yourself in an argument that seems like it is escalating, the best thing you can do is to leave the situation.

If you see an assault in progress, or see a situation that looks like it will escalate, dial 911 immediately.

At ProtectUs Security, safety and security are our priority. Keeping yourself safe outside the home is just as important as keeping a home security system in Dallas, TX.

Follow us for more safety tips at http://www.protectussecurity.com

Protect Yourself! How to Avoid a Robbery or an Assault – Part 1 – Tips from ProtectUs Security in Dallas, TX

At ProtectUs Security, safety is our number one concern. While we primarily focus on installing home security systems in Dallas (as well is business security systems) we know that protecting yourself while you are outside the home is as important as protecting yourself within the home.

Robbery and assault are serious crimes that affect millions of Americans every day. While money is often the motivation behind many assaults and muggings, these incidences are often driven by physical violence. By staying alert, aware of your surroundings, and following these tips, you can keep yourself safe from robberies and assaults in public places.
Safety Tips on the Street

Remember the old saying that there is safety in numbers. At night or in less populated places like alleyways or parking garages, if possible, do not walk alone.

Let a family member or friend know your whereabouts, and when you expect to return. This way, if you are not to be found and cannot be gotten ahold of, the police can be quickly notified.

Stay in well-lit areas when walking at night. Avoid empty alleyways, even if it does seem like a good shortcut.

If you must walk somewhere alone, walk confidently and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to anyone who tries to distract you. Not to say that constant distrust of strangers is a good thing, but often times a potential attacker will try and disorient you while you are on your way somewhere and walking along.

Never hitchhike or get in the car with a stranger.

Report any suspicious activity or persons to the police immediately.

Most importantly, STAY AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. If you are walking alone, keep your keys in your hand and try to avoid distractions like talking on your cell phone.
If Someone Tries to Rob You

Don’t resist. Give the assailant what they are demanding. Your property can be replaced- your life cannot.

Report the crime to the police. Remember as many details of the attack and attacker as possible.
(Keep in mind, if you are being robbed or otherwise attacked, more people will respond to someone yelling “Fire” than they will to “Help!”)
Safety in Your Vehicle

Being carjacked or worse – kidnapped- can happen while you are in the safety of your own car. If you are being carjacked, follow the following advice:
Do not try to argue or fight the carjacker- especially if they are violent. Your life is more important than a car.
Vacate the area as quickly as possible – you never know if the attacker will come back for you.

Report the crime immediately to the police with as many details as you can remember.

While most people are kind, good-hearted, non-criminals, the small percentage of the population that is can move in on you at any second. Not every stranger that tries to strike up a conversation is a potential attacker, but keeping your mind on your safety and your surroundings can prevent you from suffering an attack.
For more tips on personal safety or informaton on keeping your home, belongings and family safe, visit us at http://www.protectussecurity.com for information on home security systems in Dallas, TX and the surrounding areas.

What Burglars Don’t Want You to Know – How to Protect Your Home From a Burglary in Dallas, TX

What Burglars Don’t Want You To Know – How To Keep Your House From Being Burgalarized

Having your home burglarized is one of the most violating feelings ever. One in eight thousand Americans who suffer a home burglary every day, and chances are, even if you haven’t had your house broken into and ransacked, you’ve had your car broken into, your pocket picked, or someone stealing something from your yard. While there’s no 100% way to completely deter a criminal from burglarizing someone’s home, there are steps you can take to better your chances of avoiding it.

Know The Mind of a Burglar:
Most burglaries are quick, snatch-and-run type of burglaries, where thieves spend a couple of hours casing homes in a neighborhood before figuring out someone’s daily schedule and doing a quick break and enter to steal easily removed valuables like electronics and jewelry. Most ‘professional’ thieves aren’t going to focus on a home burglary, as the big-dogs of this dark industry are likely focused on high-dollar items and big bank accounts. Focus on the common, everyday burglar – the kind who may be poking around your trash to find receipts or thrown-away boxes marking what kind of valuables you’ve just purchased, or the opportunist theif that notices the purse on the front seat of the car or an un-chained bicycle in the yard.
How It Happens:
In the movies, burglars take the ‘theif in the night’ approach, and target their victims in the wee hours of the morning, snatching what they want and leaving the home dressed in a face-mask and all black. While this is good for Hollywood (and would give the victims some sure-fire signs to look out for) it turns out that most home burglaries happen during the day. One of the most common home burglary scenes goes like this: A thief targets a house, and the burglar will park his car out of sight and walk to the front door. If the intended victim answers the door, he’ll pretend to be selling something door-to-door or have a story that he’s looking for a different house. If there’s no answer, he’ll typically head to the back of the house, looking for a point of entry that won’t draw too much attention, like the back door or an open screen. Even if the burglar can’t get in easily, he will force his way in, as he knows he will be in and out quickly. The sad fact of the matter is that the burglar will often target the house in broad daylight, as it is more likely the house is unoccupied. The thief will typically go to the master bedroom to look for valuables like money, laptops, and guns. If they see something else of value laying about on their way out (most home burglaries happen within 8 minutes or less) he will snatch that, too.

How to Prevent a Home Burglary – Tips
While everyone knows the basics of detracting burglars, like locking the doors and windows and keeping shrubbery trimmed away from the windows, there are some more effective methods than simply locking-and-leaving that can prevent a home burglary in Dallas.
Dogs – Nature’s Theft Deterrent
Every burglar hates to deal with dogs. If you have a dog, especially a dog with a big bark, great. If your dog is the kind that would more quickly lick a burglar to death rather than scare him away, get a “Beware of Dog” sign for your front yard or window. Sometimes just seeing these signs will deter a burglar from entering your home.
Get a Real Home Security System in Dallas . Not those fake ones – seasoned thieves can spot those from a mile away. By getting a good home security system, Dallas area thieves will not only be deterred from breaking into your home, but as soon as a burglary happens, the proper authorities will be automatically dispatched.
Keep a Low Profile. Burglars are likely looking for items that are easiest to sell and worth something at pawn shops and on the street, from laptops, to smart phones, to prescription drugs. If you have curb-side trash collection, be sure to put things like empty mediction bottles in the bottoms of trashbags, and put in your trash bin the morning of trash pickup. If you have a bigger ticket item like a new flat-screen TV, cut up the box. A thief who sees evidence of a high-ticket item will likely think you have other high value things to sell as well.

There are a multitude of steps you can take to prevent a break in of your home and the feelings of violation that come along with it. Call us today about securing your home, your belongings, and your family with a home security system in Dallas from ProtectUs Security!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.