4 Tools You Should Never Be Without

iStock_000019752108_SmallTo thwart today’s sophisticated cyber-criminals, users must become more knowledgeable about how to keep themselves safe. The bad guys love to crack your passwords, trick you into clicking infected links and lure you onto compromised websites. We have 4 web-based tools that you should keep handy— bookmark them so they’ll always be at your fingertips.

Here they are:

  1. Norton Password Generator – this site by Symantec will help you generate strong passwords when you need to create logon credentials or update existing passwords. This tool allows you to select the length as well as the type of characters to include. Our advice is to select passwords with at least 14 characters including upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation. Make sure no two characters are repeated.
  2. How Secure Is My Password Checker – (sponsored by Dashlane) is a great site to check those passwords you already have or just generated using the tool above. Simply type or copy one of your passwords and it will estimate how long it would take a hacker, with today’s tools, to crack it.
  3. Check Short URL Expander – short URLs are great for saving space when Tweeting or posting to Social Media Sites, but they are also used by cyber-criminals to hide malicious site addresses when trying to lure their victims into clicking infected links. NEVER click on a shortened URL before you check it out thoroughly. Simply copy a short URL into the text box and click the “Expand” button. It may take a few moments, but when it’s done, you’ll see a bunch of useful information about the link and sites to check on its safety to make your decision on whether to click on it or not.
  4. Google Transparency Report – this Google site will tell you whether a website is dangerous or not. As you know, Google examines billions of URLs so why not take advantage of their research. Just copy the target URL into the text box and click the magnifying glass icon to the right. Google will tell you if the site contains any reported malicious content. Know before you click!

Certainly, there are other tools out there, so if you prefer others that do the same thing—great! By all means use them. The point is that there are plenty of good tools out there to help you stay safe online.

Here’s one more piece of advice—by all means use a good Password Manager to keep track of your passwords. I like Dashlane because of its robust free version with an even better paid application. Dashlane will even auto-fill logons for you so you’ll never have to remember all those long passwords again.


Joseph Imperato Sr. is the Managing Partner for XSolutions Consulting Services, a Managed Services Provider (MSP) delivering Computer Support, Business Continuity, Cloud Services, and IT Consulting to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut businesses. Call us at (845) 362-9675 and see how we can help your company.