Category: Passwords

Google Password Checkup is Such Great News!

With the frequent news about security breaches, are you concerned that your passwords might be compromised?

Have you registered with

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

I’ve got great news for you!
Google Chrome Can Tell You if your passwords have been compromised!

Google has created an extension (software program) for its Chrome web browser that will alert you if a username and password is known to be unsafe.

The extension is called Password Checkup and it checks a database of 4 billion credentials that have been compromised (stolen and exposed) in various data breaches.

When the extension detects an insecure password, it will display a big red dialogue box telling you to immediately change your username or password.

Of course, allowing an extension to read all your usernames and passwords raises concerns about privacy.

Google is well aware of this and has designed an encryption system to keep all your information private and anonymous:

“We built Password Checkup so that no one, including Google, can learn your account details. To do this, we developed privacy-protecting techniques with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University. For a more technical description of these innovations, check out our security blog post.”

Here’s a short video tutorial on How to Install Password Checkup

Or follow these steps:

Click on the 3 stacked dots (upper right)
Hover over “More Tools”
Click “Extensions”
Click on the menu icon (upper left corner)
Click on “Open Chrome Web Store (lower left corner)
In the “search the store” box, type “password checkup”
Click on Install
Click the X to close the confirmation window

If Password Checkup lets you know that a password you use is unsafe:

Sign in to the account with the unsafe password.
Create a new, strong password for the account and any other accounts that use the same password.
If the site offers another security measure, like Two-Step Verification, consider setting it up.

Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below

If you need help, you can schedule an appointment on my calendar here

I’m so excited to have a simple solution for keeping your passwords safe!
I hope you will forward share this tip with everyone you know.


P.S. I try to use as little Geek speak as possible, but you do need to understand a few terms.
I highlight them in bold so you can check yourself and look up the ones you don’t know.

Here’s a little self-test for you. How many do you know?
What is a web browser?
What is a browser extension?
Why does it matter if your account is taken over?
What is a dialogue box?
What does “account credentials” mean?
What does “compromised password” mean?

How To Make Your Technology Less Frustrating and More Fun This Year

“It’s that holiday time of year again, and that means it’s over the river and through the woods to…well, fix my family’s Wi-Fi and other tech problems.”  From: The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  by Jason Fitzpatrick
Do you have someone in your family who takes care of your techie problems for you?

I was that person for my mother. In fact, she was the one who suggested that I start this tutoring business to help other retirement-age adults.

I often laugh and tell people, “I’m your person, when you don’t have access to any techie relatives or you don’t want to impose. ; )

I recently read a fun article by How to Geek. The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  and I realized that it’s time to remind you that, “a few times a year someone needs to make sure computers are up to date,photos are backed up, and the tech is humming along as it should, so you won’t be in a in a position to have people exploit your computers, lose your photos to a hard drive crash, or otherwise be miserable because you just didn’t know any better.  After all, you aren’t out there keeping up on all the tech news and reading how-to guides.”

image of computer with 2019 on the screenAnd, there’s another great article for the New Year… Lock Down Your Tech With These New Year’s Resolutions by Justin Pot.  It urges people to:

  • “Use a freaking password manager
  • Lock Down Important Accounts With Two-Factor Authentication
  • Backup Your Computer (Seriously)
  • Update (or Upgrade) Your Router
  • Clean Out Your Browser Extensions
  • Remove Unused Third-Party App Access From Google, Facebook, and Other Accounts
  • Encrypt Your Computers and Phone”

As I often say, “using technology is like driving cars, they need check ups from time to time, and you have to know the rules of the road for your safety and security.

sparkler-839831_1280No Worries…There Are Easy Ways To Get It All Done:

  • Read the two articles and follow their very clear instructions or
  • Send these tips to your “Family Tech Guru” so he or she can do it or
  • Hire me to teach you how to do it or
  • Hire me do it for you

Whatever you decide is fine, but  please make a decision and “get ‘er done” so you can have less frustration and more fun.

Wishing you a very happy new year and may your techie world be simple, easy and fun this year!



P. S. Please share this with your loved ones so they can get the help they need too.  Thanks!

You Can Be A Hoax Slayer

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Friday, I received a call from a client about a phishing scam that was very convincing. It’s time to review the guidelines again.

“Be wary of ANY message that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to upgrade account details, rectify a supposed account issue, or implement new ‘security’ measures. If you receive a suspect message, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains. Instead, login to your account by entering the address into your web browser or via an official account application.”

This particular scam was pretending to be from Microsoft Outlook Team but there are others for Facebook, Yahoo, dating sites, and more.

Here is a great resource for you: Bookmark It has information about email, social media and internet scams. Many thanks to Brett for his voluntary service on our behalf.

Please share this with the people you care about and encourage them to call me whenever they have a question or need help with their techie tools and toys. My passion and mission is to help you and your loved ones more fully enjoy the many benefits of computer technology while keeping it it simple, easy and fun. Thanks!


No More Password Hassles with LastPass

No More Password Hassles!

Treat your password like your toothbrush.
Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.

Clifford Stoll                                     


Are you ready to put your password hassles to rest once and for all?  I’ve got a great solution for you!   Get LastPass password manager.  It’s free! It will generate secure passwords for all your accounts and insert them automatically. You only need to remember one master password.  Everything is encrypted and safe.

No more updating pages and pages of accounts and passwords or going through a bazillion steps to reset the ones you forgot!  LastPass even let’s you know if you have an account with a company whose data base has been compromised so you can change your password immediately.

I’ve been using the basic features of LastPass for years, but I just took a class on it to learn more and I am very impressed.  I had the opportunity to teach a client how to use it this week and she is so happy and relieved that she’s telling all her friends.

You can learn more about it here  I urge you to use it.  The little bit of time it takes to install and learn how to use it, will be minimal compared to the time it takes to clean up a mess if someone hacks any of your accounts.

Please share this with everyone you know so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident with their computers and techie gadgets.

Please post your thoughts or comments below….


Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

I know you hate having to use so many passwords.  It’s a big pain to keep track of them.  You might even be using the same password for multiple sites and allowing your web browser to save them so you don’t have to login every time.

A recent article by Kim Komando, inspired me to encourage you to take the bull by the horns, do some house cleaning and start using a password manager. This will make your online life so much simpler and safer.
Here are some great tips based on her article, One secret about online accounts every computer user needs to know

You may have created dozens of accounts that have only been used once. Just think of how many times you’ve created a username and password just to read an article, play a game or download something.  This can be dangerous because your information is floating around on dozens or hundreds of websites that may or may not be secure.  Even worse, if you have used the same username and password for every site, every account you have is in danger.  A hacker who gets your account information from one site can use it to get access to your other accounts as well.

The solution is to hunt down and close any accounts you are not using and then change the passwords to your existing accounts so that each one is unique.

A simple browser trick

1) When you create a new online account or log in to an old one, your browser stores the username and password. This makes it easy to log back in later.  It also means you can go now and see what accounts you’ve created.

2) After you locate your accounts, you can close down the accounts you are not using and create unique passwords for the sites you are keeping.

3) Then turn off “password storing” and erase the existing passwords in your browser. The option to erase the passwords is in the same place you view the saved passwords.  (The Instructions are below.)

Use A Password Manager

LastPass, The last password you will ever need






I know this seems like a lot of work but you only have to do it once.  Then, If you start using a password manager like LastPass all your unique passwords will be stored in a vault and you will only need to remember one master password.  The password manager will even generate secure passwords for you so you don’t have to think them up. You will love it!

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass, I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.
Thoughts or comments about this topic? Please share in the comment section below.

Instructions for web browser applications:


To see your login information in Firefox, go to the Firefox menu – it’s the icon on the right with three horizontal lines – and click Options.

Under the Security tab, click the “Saved Passwords” button.

Then click the “Show Passwords” button and click “Yes.”


In Chrome, click the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper right and choose “Settings.”

Choose “Settings” on the left, and then click the “Show advanced settings” link at the bottom of the screen.

Scroll down to “Passwords and forms” and click the “Manage saved passwords” link.

If you want to log back into your old account, but don’t remember the password, then you can click on a password and click the Show button next to it.

To see the password, you will have to enter your Windows account password, which does make it harder for casual snoops to get in.


You can’t view saved usernames and passwords directly in IE. You would need a third-party program like IE PassView.  However, I recommend that you don’t use Internet Explorer anyway.  It is easily invaded by spyware. I use Google Chrome but Firefox is good also.


In Safari, go to Safari>>Preferences>>Auto-fill. Click the Edit button to view the saved passwords.

Need Help?

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass,  I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.

Hear Me on 1450 AM Radio

My interview with Dominique Fruchtman on “The Most Interesting People in the Desert” on 1450 AM was so much fun! I hope you will enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed sharing about my work.

1450 AM Radio Interview

Radio cropped

Making Passwords More Manageable

The common issue that I seem to be helping with lately is Passwords.  I know…don’t groan, I will get you through this!

I have spent a lot of time helping people go through the process of re-setting passwords because they didn’t remember them and didn’t have them written down.  You know I don’t mind doing it, but I would like you to be able to save yourself the time and money.

Please, write down your user names and passwords and store them –separately from your computer–in a place where you can find them (and an intruder would not).  A file folder in a file drawer would be good.

If you change your passwords, for some reason, be sure to update the file folder.

If your children or grand children set up accounts for you, be sure they give you the login name and passwords for your folder.

Also, be sure your passwords are secure.

This past week, I received three emails from friends whose accounts had been hacked.  That means that someone figured out their passwords and was sending emails to everyone in their address books.

Not only is this a problem for them, but  their friends email addresses are exposed and they are at risk of being spammed.

Another issue is, if you use the same password for other accounts, you are vulnerable to the hackers accessing those accounts also.

So let’s get serious about passwords.

I know it’s inconvenient and I’m sorry we have to deal with it, but creating effective passwords and keeping track of them is a whole lot less work than straightening out the mess if you get hacked.

It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, big deal.

Here are some easy solutions from my friend and favorite Computer Tech, Dominique Fruchtman of Desert Cow Computers.  See her website:  It moos!

1) For dumb stuff you don’t care about, make it something really easy, like all numbers such as 22223333.

2) To be more secure, substitute numbers for letters as follows:

1 = i
3 = e
0 = o
4 = a

Example: CAROLINE becomes C4R0L1N3

3) Or, use the first letter of each word in phrase you know well:  ‘Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers”…  becomes 4s&7yaof

4) Or, use a very old home address, (that hackers won’t find) with the numbers behind the street name.

Example:   Adams3201

Passwords that have a combination of numbers, letters, symbols, and upper and lower case, are harder to crack and the above are easy ways to accomplish that.  Also, they are easy to remember.  But write it down too.  Please!

Now you are all set and, hopefully, peace and joy have been restored to your computing experience.

If you, or someone you know, have other challenges or questions, just call for an appointment and I’ll “make it all better.”   ; )

In Joy,

“Restoring peace and joy to the world through computer education.”

The Longest Password

The blondes win!
The Longest Password
We laugh — but her I.D. is safe. —- and oddly logical!

During a recent password audit by Google,
it was found that a blonde was using the following password:”MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofySacramento”When asked why she had such a long password, she rolled her eyes and said:
“Hello! It has to be at least 8 characters
long and include at least one capital.”

Where Are Your Passwords? You don’t use the same one for everything, Right?

I know passwords are a big nuisance.  If everybody would “play nice” we wouldn’t need them.  However, until the world has been totally restored to love and peace, we need to get a grip on passwords.

If you use the same one for everything and someone figures it out or gets access to it, they will try your other accounts and may cause you a lot of grief.


Here are a couple of solutions:  Think of a phrase that you can associate with an account and easily remember.  It could be a line from a poem, a song, a quote or a book title, etc.  Use the first letter of each word in the phrase instead of the words themselves.  Add in a number or two and a symbol like #, or @ or !.  I worked with one clever client this week that used the number 0 for the Os and 3 for the Es 1 for the Ls.  Really a neat idea!

I know they say not to write them down, but do it anyway.  I can’t tell you how much computer tutoring time is wasted, trying to figure out forgotten passwords.  Just don’t store the list right next to your machine, where a burglar might find it.  If you want to take the list on vacation,  hide the identity of the sites that the passwords belong to, by using abbreviations.  This sounds like a lot to do when you read it, but actually you only do it once, and you will avoid a heap of stress and wasted time later.

If somebody figures out your email password, they can log in as you and send bad emails to everyone in your address book. If they are able to change the password, you will not be able to get in and you will have to abandon that account and start all over with a new one.  That means getting all your friends to switch to your new email address and, even worse, having to tell them that somebody they don’t know has access to their email addresses.  So it you won’t take my advise for yourself, at least do it for your friends.

Another option that I like, is a free application called Last Pass.  It generates mega-secure passwords and stores them in a vault on your computer that can only be accessed by a master password.  I use it and love it.  It may be too involved for some of you, but I’d be happy to show you how it works so you can decide.

In any case, take a few minutes to get organized with the password thing, so we can spend our tutoring time on more fun activities…like learning new productivity tricks and playing with new gadgets.

In peace and joy,


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