Tips for Online Banking and Making Your Computer Visible to Other Devices on a Network | Q&A with Patrick Marshall

Question: I plan to spend a long time abroad after I retire and sell my house, but no more than three to six months per location. This fleeting life probably does not make postal mail for financial statements and invoices possible. Do you have any tips for securing financial transactions? How can I keep track of invoices and statements? Am I too nervous?

Sarah mccaghren

A: When I travel… even if it’s at Starbucks down the road… I always connect to public Wi-Fi using a virtual private network (VPN). This way all transmissions to and from my computer are encrypted, so even if someone has captured my traffic, it is virtually impossible for them to understand its meaning.

So this is my first tip: if you are using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, use a VPN. They are inexpensive and easy to use.

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However, some financial sites do not allow connections through a VPN. Since VPNs also prevent websites from knowing your computer’s IP address, hackers often use them to disguise themselves. Financial institutions don’t like it. So what to do? When you log into your bank or other sensitive site, make sure the address bar displays HTTPS. This means you are on a secure connection and transmissions are encrypted just like with a VPN. But make sure that every page you go to in this site starts with HTTPS.

And, of course, whatever you do, I recommend that you use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. It means no animal names. Above all, do not use the same password for several sites. For each connection, you must have a unique password.

Of course, those of us who don’t have photographic memories can’t keep track of multiple unique strong passwords, so use a password manager. Personally, I use LastPass. It has the added benefit of allowing me to designate “survivors” who can access my account. If they try to access my account and I don’t shut them down for a user-defined number of days, they’re in it. In short, if something happens to me and I can’t keep them from accessing my LastPass account, my family will be able to continue managing their finances and other important data.

Finally, if the site you’re connecting to supports two-factor authentication or the use of an authenticator app, take advantage of it. Then if someone gets your password somehow, they still won’t be able to access your account.

Question: I have a desktop and two Surface tablets all running the current version of Windows 10 on my home network. Before Windows 10, I used to share its hard drives with my tablets because it had a larger disk capacity. However, with Windows 10 it stopped because my tablets can no longer see the desktop over the network. The desktop can see the tablets smoothly and connect to their shared drives. The two tablets can be “seen” but the desktop cannot. Can you help please?

Wayne Hagan

A: I suspect that after upgrading to Windows 10 the network discovery feature was disabled.

Here’s how to check: Click the Start button in the lower left corner, then click the gear icon to go to settings. Then click on Network and Internet, then on the network connection you are using. The system will display a lot of information about your network settings. Look under Network Profile. It lists two options: Public and Private. If Public is selected, your computer will not be visible to other computers on the network. If Private is selected, you should be able to see this computer from your other devices.

Of course, this assumes that these computers are connected to the same network. If you have both wired and wireless networks, it’s worth checking this out.

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