The Mouse Trap – Outdated tech devices

By Janis Weber

It was the end of an era when Microsoft finally put Internet Explorer to pasture last week. After 11 versions and nearly 27 years, the tech giant pulled the plug on the internet browser in favor of Microsoft Edge. If you’re still using Internet Explorer, stop. It’s just not safe. For more security I suggest you try using a new browser. Brave is three times faster than Chrome. When it comes to privacy, Firefox has many bells and whistles: a built-in password manager, breached website alerts, private browsing mode and secure form autofill. For the most privacy try Tor (popular with computer savvy users). Safari is best for Mac.

The first-generation Amazon Echo smart speaker is a good example of a device that cannot keep up with the software upgrades. The hackers can take control of them. If you are using the first tall cylinder in black or white, stop using it. The fourth-generation dot is a good choice for a replacement.

If you have an Amazon Cloud Cam, it’s time to start shopping. The camera is no longer for sale and after December 2, all recordings will be deleted and the Amazon cameras will no longer function. Why? Amazon is focusing on its Ring and Blink home security brands.

An early version of the popular video doorbell from Google isn’t safe to use either. A study found that hackers can easily launch a Denial of Service attack and disable the recording function. Intruders can hack into this and walk right in.

Just because something works doesn’t mean you should continue using it. Take your router, for example. Sure, it could be functioning just fine when it comes to your home’s internet connection, but how secure is it? The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. If you’re still using a router that uses WPA-2 encryption, it’s time to switch. A nice bonus: Most new routers support Wi-Fi 6. Your devices may not use it yet, but they will soon.

That ancient (in tech years) iPhone 5 can still make calls, but it’s not very good at protecting your data. When Apple rolled out iOS 15, it cut support for iPhone 5 and older models. Without the latest operating system, your phone is vulnerable to any new hack, bug or vulnerability. Even more bad news: When iOS 16 is released this fall, more phones will land on the chopping block. The update is for iPhone 8 and later. Sorry if you have the first-generation SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 or 7 Plus.

Think about everything stored on your computer’s hard drive. You probably have years of files, photos, videos, you name it. If you still use a spinning disk for storage, there’s a good chance that it’s approaching its end of life. Flash drives and most external hard drives are solid state. You should do two things: transfer your data over to a new solid-state drive while you still can and back up your data to a cloud storage. That is where it is all going sooner than later anyway.

It’s time to give up your old cordless phones that run on the 2.4GHz or 5.8GHzx bands. They are notorious for causing interference with Wi-Fi signals. If your internet is acting up, this could be the culprit. Try upgrading to a phone that runs on the 1.9GHz band instead.

Definition of The Day

A browser (web browser) is a software program used to present and explore content on the World Wide Web. In order to search the web you must be connected to a wifi connection. Just turning on the computer is not enough. Once you have started the computer, choose your connection nickname from the Internet Access points by the clock. Don’t forget to type in your password. It will save this information and not require it again unless something goes wrong with the computer. Examples are Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Brave and Silk. You can download any of these for free.

I Make House Calls (I am fully vaccinated and masked if requested)

I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades and personal software tutoring. I can be your resident “geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Give me a text or call at 419-290-3570. FYI, I will be holding classes at Lourdes in July and The Sylvania Senior Center beginning in October.

Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to or contact her for assistance at 419-290-3570. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text, or email away. Check me out on The Sylvania AdVantage Website, titled Computer 101.

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