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XP: Tell 2 Friends, and So On, and So On

ripI am surprised at how many people still don’t realize Windows XP is going to die….and soon. It had a good run but now it’s time to let it pass quietly into the night. In 6 months, or 26 weeks, or 183 days from now, XP will no longer be supported. That isn’t a lot of time. Spring will be here before we know it, and XP will be gone.

The latest stats show that 50 million PCs still run XP. We need to do a better job of educating users about this issue. During one of my classes last week, 2 of the 9 students had no idea XP was retiring and they’re running small businesses. Why do so few people not realize they need to move off of XP, and worse, how many may not realize it until it’s too late?

So what do we do?

1. Tell everyone! Anytime I have a class or seminar I mention the impending fate of XP.

2. Ask everyone you know to share this. Right after I mention XP (see step 1), I then ask this group to spread the word to anyone they know. You remember the Faberge Shampoo commercial, they tell 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on! We need that type of viral promotion for XP’s upcoming demise.

3. Blog, write, tweet, post, etc. Use whatever social network you can to get this information out there.

4. Share whatever blog, tweet, post, etc. from those who have done step 3 to spread the message even further.

5. Much like Faberge Shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat!

As IT professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure the systems our clients are using are current and up-to-date. If you are still running XP, check out my XP Upgrade Checklist to help you and/or your IT support move your systems forward sooner than later.

Password Dos and Don’t

Here is a excerpt from my new book “Keep IT Simple” about passwords.  Why not subscribe to hear about release dates, and read other excerpts.

James calls in a panic one morning. He has just discovered his Facebook® account has been compromised and his account is now sending spam to all of his Facebook friends. He does not understand how someone could have guessed his password. I asked what him what his password was (you should never tell anyone your password) and he told me it was the name of his dog. He had included pictures and the name of his dog on his Facebook and Twitter profiles. Someone easily guessed that his password was his pet’s name.

Lesson: Never use a password that can be easily guessed.

Using a strong password is the first line of defense in protecting your data and identity. Create a strong password on all of your devices (including phones and tablets), systems and applications. Without a strong password, you are leaving the door to your data unlocked and wide open. Below is a list of password dos and don’ts.

Password Dos

  • Use uppercase, lowercase, special characters and numbers.
  • Use at least 8 characters. (The SANS Institute considers any password less than 15 characters to be “weak”.)
  • Use a different password for each account.
  • Change your passwords if you suspect it has been compromised.
  • Change your passwords frequently.
  • The SANS Institute recommends that all system level passwords (root, Windows Administrator etc.) be changed quarterly. All user level passwords (email, web, desktop computer, etc.) should be changed every six months.

Password Don’ts

  • Share passwords.
  • Use the same password on more than one account.
  • Write down your password.
  • Distribute passwords via email or instant messaging.
  • Leave a computer unattended while logged in.
  • Use your password or part of your password as the answer to a security question.
  • Use a dictionary word in any language.
  • Use dictionary words spelt backwards.
  • Use a spouse, child, pet, car, teacher, etc. name as part of (or as) your password.
  • Use your phone number, social insurance number, birth dates or license plate as part of (or as) your password.
  • Use QWERTY.
  • Use 12345678 or any variance of this.
  • Use easily substituted letter and characters i.e. password would be changed to pa55w0rd.
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