As 2009 winds down, I wanted to give one more mention of the new Oregon area code that is set to be introduced in 2010. The new area code, 458, is set to augment the 541 area code that is already in place for the mid, southern, and eastern portions of Oregon. What does this mean for your Internet and telecommunications services? At PEAK, this means that if you connect to the Internet through a dial-up connection, you will need to update the area code section of your connection settings to 541. Otherwise you will most likely receive an error when trying to connect after the new area code gets introduced.
- Open Internet Explorer
- Go up to the top of the browser and locate Tools, left click.
- Go down to Internet Options (this will be at the bottom), left click.
- Internet Properties Box is now showing, at the top you will see a number of “Tabs” find the Connections Tab and left click.
- Find the Peak connection in the white box below labeled “Dialup and Virtual Private Network settings”, left click your connection then look to the right and left click “Settings” (found below Add and Remove)
- Now next to the Account name you will find a “Properties” Button, left click.
- Left click at the beginning of the dialup number listed before you, if you are not at the very beginning please use your arrow key to the left until you are at the beginning.
- Now type in your area code (541,458) you do not need spaces, hyphens, or parentheses.
Internet and Computer Security
The importance of Internet and computer security can never be underestimated. With your online identity and financial well-being at stake, it is important that you stay up-to-date on the latest practices and tools to keep you protected. Where can you turn? The Tech Talk crew is here to help! Join in as Jim and Dan discuss everything you need to know about your online and computer security.
Listen in as Dan goes over his comprehensive security guide. Review your password strategy and find out about different applications that will help you track and generate new passwords. Steer clear of new phishing scams and learn how to quickly determine if a suspicious e-mail is credible. Lastly, make sure your computer is protected with the proper anti-virus and malware protection. Tune in, the May episode of Tech Talk will help you master your Internet and computer security.
Don’t miss it. Tune-in or download this month’s show to get the latest in technology explained to you. You can download this podcast directly by going to http://www.peakinternet.com/techtalk
Radio Ray steps in as guest host for Tech Talk
KGAL/KSHO’s Radio Ray stepped in to host the November installment of Tech Talk with PEAK Tech Support specialist Dan Mills. Find out Radio Ray’s true allegiance, Mac or PC, and listen in as Dan shares his PC repair horror stories.
Also on the show, Dan and Ray discuss technology in the election. Will we ever vote online and why do presidential campaigns embrace social media. Who is doing a better job with technology McCain or Obama and will it affect the election results.
Next month be sure to listen in as the Tech Talk gang gets together for a holiday technology buying special. Get the skinny on buying a new computer for your family in the holiday season.
Tune-in or download this month’s show to get the latest in technology explained to you.
You can download this podcast directly by going to http://www.peakinternet.com/techtalk
The how and why of secure passwords
What does a password do for me? What is wrong with using my favorite color, pet’s name, or my birthday? How can I remember my password if it is so complicated? Why does PEAK make such a big deal about password security? These are common questions that we at PEAK often hear. PEAK has recently stepped up its security to keep our customers safe online. I would like to help you understand why. Let’s start at the top.
What does a password do for me?
Every account with PEAK, or any Internet company for that matter, has two pieces of information to uniquely identify it; a username and a password. The username is part of your email address, and so it is public. For example if my email address is joeuser@PEAK.org then my username is joeuser. The password is used to verify that I am owner of the account joeuser. A password is a secret combination of numbers and letters that should be known only by the owner of the account and PEAK’s servers. Sort of like a PIN that you use to access your bank account.
Why can’t I use ‘x’ as my password?
At PEAK all new passwords have to meet the following requirements to insure they are secure against people who will attempt to guess your password, we call them crackers.
- include numbers, letters and punctuation
- be at least 8 characters long (each number, letter or punctuation mark is one character)
- not be single words that could be looked up a dictionary
- not be based on a proper name
The more random the password the better. Password crackers can use computer programs to test thousands of passwords with a known username in a matter of minutes. So if your password is in the dictionary then it can be guessed by a computer in less time than it takes you to read your email.
How can I remember my password if it is so complicated?
There are several ways to remember your secure password. The two most common methods are password managers on your computer or memory mnemonics.
Password managers are software that store passwords for you on the computer. The simplest form is built into many programs. For example whenever you see an option to “Remember Password” that is a password manager. You can also use a separate password manager to store passwords and other information in a secure encrypted format. If you have Windows, KeePass is a popular free program for storing passwords. You can download it at http://keepass.info. If you have a Mac, then a manager is already built in called Keychain which is accessible from the “Keychain Utility” in your “Applications” folder and integrated into all the software that stores passwords on your Mac.
Mnemonics are just like you learned in elementary school to remember complicated information. Like if I want to remember the order of taxonomies in biology I can use “Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach” to remember Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. You can come up with a password such as heT=eiK9 then create a mnemonic like “high efficiency Tanks = enhanced intelligence K9s.” Or you could also come up with a mnemonic then create the password. Say we take a famous line from Shakespeare “To be, or not to be: that is the question” and pull it apart to make 2b,n2b?TITQ.
Those are a couple common ways to remember a password. There are many other ways, just find one that works for you.
Why does PEAK make such a big deal about password security?
A secure password is important for both you to protect your account and for us to maintain PEAK’s excellent reputation with other email servers. Recently, many of you may have had you email bounce when you email people who have email addresses at msn.com, hotmail.com, live.com or yahoo.com. This occurred because password crackers launched a major attack on our system and were able to find the passwords for many of our customers’ accounts. They then used those accounts to send torrents of spam through our mail servers. We locked out the affected accounts as quickly as we could but, the damage had already been done. Microsoft and Yahoo had identified our mail servers as sources of spam and blacklisted us which stopped their users from receiving spam originating from our mail server and legitimate email from our mail servers. To help prevent this from happening again, we have now instituted the rules we discussed earlier and began checking all current accounts for weak passwords.
Hopefully, we have been able to help you understand why strong passwords are important and what you can do to choose a strong password. You can also use the same techniques when selecting passwords for other services such as online banking or forum sites.
If you are having a hard time coming up with a secure password, we have created a password generator for anyone to use at http://www.peakinternet.com/passwords. You can also call our technical support line 24 hours a day and we can help you choose a secure password or answer any questions you might have.
On a final note, below is a list of the top 10 most commonly used passwords according to PC Magazine. These are the first things that crackers check, so if you use a password listed below or very similar to one you should probably change it to ensure your account safety.
- (your first name)
To our new ActionNet customers…
Let me be the first to apologize for the past few days of service. At PEAK we take great pride in our reliability and service, so I want your assure you this is a sincere acknowledgement of our efforts to get your service back online.
Due to unforeseen circumstances in this transition we have not provided the level of service we want to deliver and that you deserve. We understand your expectation is that internet service just works and we will strive to continue that expectation.
However, right now we’re dealing with failed network equipment. Along with the ActionNet team, we are working on replacing that equipment within the hour in hopes of restoring your service as soon as possible. As a result of this failure, we have decided to accelerate your transition to our network. We have staffed our support center to meet the needs of this emergency and to make the transition as smooth as possible.
In another unrelated instance over the weekend, one of our upstream dialup providers inadvertently cancelled two of the former ActionNet dialup access numbers. This resulted in a large number of service delays while we moved customers to our network. If you are still experiencing issues, please contact our support department for new connection information.
While these issues were certainly unexpected, it does not make them acceptable in any way. We’ll work to restore your service and hope you will allow us to prove that we are different. Please feel free to contact me anytime.