Creating a Cyber Secure Home

03As technology becomes more important in our personal lives, so does securing it. Here are some fundamental steps you should always take to help protect yourself and your family:

Securing Yourself
Cyber attackers have learned that the easiest way to get something is to simply ask for it. As such, common sense is your best defense. If a message or phone call seems odd, suspicious or too good to be true, it may be an attack. An example of that is:

Someone calls you pretending to be Microsoft tech support. They claim that your computer is infected, when they are really just cyber criminals that want access to your computer or want you to buy their fake anti-virus software.

Securing Your Home Network
Your Wi-Fi router (also called a Wi-Fi Access Point) is a physical device that controls who can connect to your wireless network at home:

Always change the default admin password on your Wi-Fi router to a strong password only you know.

Configure your Wi-Fi network so that if anyone wants to join it, they have to use a password. In addition, always configure your wireless network to use the latest encryption, which is currently WPA2.

Be aware of all the devices connected to your home network, including baby monitors, gaming consoles, TVs or perhaps even your car.

Securing Your Computer/Devices
Here are some steps to protect any device connected to your home network:

Ensure all devices are protected by a strong PIN or passcode and always running the latest version of their software. Whenever possible, enable automatic updating.

If possible, have two computers at home, one for parents and one for kids. If you are sharing a computer, make sure you have separate accounts for everyone and that kids do not have privileged access.

Computers should have a firewall and anti-virus installed, enabled and running the latest version.

Before disposing of computers or mobile devices, be sure they are wiped of any personal information. For mobile devices, this can be done by selecting the option for a secure reset of the device.

Securing Your Accounts/Passwords
You most likely have a tremendous number of accounts online and on your devices and computers. Here are some key steps to protecting them:

Always use long passwords that are hard to guess. Use passphrases when possible. These are passwords that have multiple words, such as “Where Is My Coffee?”

Use a different password for each of your accounts and devices. Can’t remember all of your strong passwords? We recommend you use a password manager to securely store them. There is a computer program that securely stores all of your passwords in an encrypted vault.

Use two-step verification whenever possible. Two-step verification is when you need a password and something else to log in to your account, such as a code sent to your smartphone.

On social media sites, post only what you want the public to see. Assume anything you post will eventually be seen by your parents or boss.

What to do When Hacked
No matter how secure you ae, sooner or later, you may be hacked:

Create regular backups of all your personal information. If your computer or mobile device is hacked, the only way you can recover all of your personal information may be from backups.

If one of your online accounts has been hacked, immediately log in and change the password to a strong, unique password. If you no longer have access, contact the company.

Monitor your credit cards. If you see any charges you do not recognize, call the credit card company right away.


Maintaining Complex Plumbing Systems the Right Way

certified-plumberTrying to save money by fixing your home plumbing systems by yourself isn’t always the best idea. You may have the tools and some handyman knowledge when it comes to plumbing systems, but only certified plumbers can ensure a maintenance or installation job is done correctly with the right tools for the right job.

Unlicensed repairmen and handymen may be cheaper, but you get what you pay for as many don’t have the training, insurance or certifications that licensed plumbers possess.

Chances are no one can do the job efficiently the first time around like licensed plumbers can. DIYers and people who rely on unqualified handymen also don’t benefit from guarantees of work and in many cases don’t enjoy warranties afforded by professional installation.

Certified Plumbers
Certified plumbers earn and achieve their certifications through reputable plumbing associations and/or state organizations with the power to bestow and revoke a plumber’s certification based on their experience and performance. Certified plumbers have been put to the test in their trade and proved they’re knowledgeable enough to know the nuances of modern and older plumbing.

Licensed plumbers are also well-versed in building permits, with many holding the necessary permits needed to operate and handle plumbing in both private and public property. They are also required to know pertinent state and city codes and requirements in order to apply their trade. Repairs and maintenance conducted by licensed plumbers also prevent the warranties on your systems and appliances from being voided.

What Certified Plumbers Can do for You
Licensed plumbers can handle a myriad of common and uncommon plumbing situations, including:

– Performing yearly maintenance and upkeep on your water heater, such as flushing mineral and sediment buildup to improve your heater’s operating efficiency.

– Pull the correct permit in order to legally change out your water heater and have the finished work examined and signed-off by a city inspector.

– Repairing topical water heater vents that have been blown loose by intense storms.

Regardless of the plumbing issue, certified plumbers are sufficiently trained to handle all sorts of plumbing fixtures such as:

– Gas lines and sewer lines

– Toilets and shower drains

– Kitchen sinks and faucets and garbage disposals

– Leaking, burst and frozen pipes

Hire a Licensed Plumber from South West Plumbing
Don’t bother with general handymen or repairmen. Hiring a licensed plumber from South West Plumbing to do the job right the first time affords you peace of mind knowing your plumbing system is in the best hands possible.

Certified South West plumbers not only fix your plumbing issues, but also protect the healthy parts of your plumbing systems to prevent the problem from spreading or from inadvertently damaging surrounding plumbing systems themselves.

South West plumbers are fully insured and have the best plumbing tools and equipment available at their fingertips.

So why get your hands dirty or put your own safety at risk when South West Plumbing’s professionals can handle all your plumbing woes for you? Contact us today to receive a speedy response to your plumbing problems by our team of fully certified and experienced plumbing professionals.

Tips & Maintenance: Home Safety

03Never store flammables in the vicinity of a furnace, boiler, or water heater, especially one with a standing pilot light. This is a more common mistake than you may think, because basements and utility rooms are commonly used as storage areas as well. Some combustibles that people often don’t recognize are swimming pool chemicals and many household cleaners.

The most common household injuries occur from falls, which are blamed for more than 8,000 U.S. deaths a year. Bathtub and shower stall slips account for more than 160,000 documented injuries each year, and many more that go unreported. Non-slip bath mats and grab bars are important safety measures for any house. South West Plumbing can help with installation of these types of safety measures.

More and more homes have carbon monoxide detectors, which is good. Many of them have them installed in the vicinity of CO-emitting appliances, which is bad. You want them installed near bedrooms. The biggest risk from CO occurs when people are sleeping.