Your Browser Says the Page is Not Secure

We have all heard the stories of a bank account being cleared out because a hacker convinced the owner to enter personal and account information in a fraudulent website. Ransomware, where a hacker encrypts the files on your computer and then demands money to release them, gets more and more publicity. We are justifiably wary when our browser, whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, or Edge, pops up a message that the web page we are visiting is not secure. But just what does that “not secure” message mean and what action should we take when we get it?
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April 2018 Windows 10 Update

On April 30, Microsoft released another major update to Windows 10, the April 2018 Update. This is the fifth major update, called a feature update by Microsoft, since Windows 10 was originally released on July 29, 2015. The previous four updates were the November Update (November 2015), Anniversary Update (August 2016), Creators Update (April 2017), and Fall Creators Update (October 2017).
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Should you Disable Javascript?

In a class I was recently taking, we went to a known safe web site to cut and paste some text to work with in the class. The web site, as almost all web sites on the Internet do these days, used Javascript. One of the students could not load the web site because she had been advised by someone to disable Javascript in her web browser as a security precaution. Is this necessary?

In a word, no. But that’s not the whole story. Javascript can possibly be used to invade your computer and you do need to be aware of how and how to protect yourself. Here is a good summary article about protecting yourself against Javascript malware. It gets a little technical, so I’ll summarize its advice: 

  • Keep your browser, any extensions you use within it, and your operating system, whether Windows or macOS, up to date.
  • Be suspicious of any link in an email or text. Make sure the link goes where you think it does by hovering your mouse pointer over it and checking that the address displayed in the popup line in your email program is the same as where the email says it is. Even then, don’t click on a link in an email unless you believe it is safe.
  • Run anti-malware software on your computer and keep it up to date.
  • Never click on an attachment to email unless you know who it came from and trust them. Even then, if you were not expecting an attachment, confirm with the sender that they really sent it.
  • Disable Flash and Java in your browser and operating system. (Java and Javascript are two separate, different, unrelated things.)

Yes, that’s a lot of work. It’s the price of enjoying the Internet today.

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Basics of Clearing a Browser Cache

If a frequently updated web page that you visit does not appear to change between visits, your browser may be loading an older version from your browser cache. If you also use a publicly-available computer, such as at a library, to access a secure site, some of your information may remain recorded on that computer when you stop using it. To remedy these situations, you may need to clear your browser cache. This post tells you how.
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Who Were the Original Programmers?

With all our devices today—computers, tablets, smartphones—we depend on computer programmers to write the code that allows us to do incredible, complex things. The world now seems to run on computer code. What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think about a computer programmer? I’m guessing most of us visualize a young man, mathematically inclined, who might tend to be a loner, spending days and nights on end pounding a keyboard to turn out some new app or game. That is probably a reasonable picture of today’s primary computer programmer. But it may surprise you to learn that the original computer programmers were all women.
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Which is Better: Mac or PC?

If you type this article’s title into an Internet search engine, be prepared to enter a “holy war” in which proponents of each type of computer will passionately bombard you with reasons why one is better than the other. We’re going to try to stay objective and factual in this article to give you information to help you decide for yourself. I am a long-time Windows user. Four months ago, I bought a MacBook Pro. This article is basically my personal experience with my purchase.
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Windows Fall Creators Update

On October 17, Microsoft released the Fall Creators Update to Windows 10. This is the third major, named update since Windows 10 was originally issued on July 29, 2015. The previous three updates were the November Update (November 2015), the Anniversary Update (August 2016), and the Creators Update (April 2017). As with earlier major updates, it will take several months before everyone is updated.  Continue reading

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