What you don’t know about passwords might hurt you

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series, including the just-published Take Control of Apple Mail.
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I don’t mean to alarm you, but—well, actually I do. Your password strategy, if you have one at all, might be seriously out of date. In recent months, several well-publicized attacks on major online services exposed users’ passwords. For example, in June 2012, more than six million LinkedIn passwords were stolen and posted online. Just over a month later, over 450,000 Yahoo passwords were leaked. Apart from the direct damage that can come from having one’s password made public, these security breaches revealed that vast numbers of people follow dangerous password practices that can result in far worse problems.

If you haven’t examined your approach to making and using passwords recently, now is a good time to rethink your assumptions. Here are a few important facts about passwords you may not have realized—and what they mean for you.

Password reuse is a major danger

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Security tips for Mac travelers

Glenn Fleishman Senior Contributor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Glenn Fleishman is the owner and editor of The Magazine, a fortnightly periodical of stories for curious people with a technical bent. He is a regular contributor to the Economist and a senior contributor to Macworld.
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When you hit the road, it’s easy to get paranoid—especially if you’re carrying thousands of dollars’ worth of technology with you. You can alleviate some of your worries by taking security measures to protect yourself against someone running off with your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

Use common sense 

If you’re not used to toting a machine outside your usual rounds, don’t forget these precautions.

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How to maximize battery life when you travel

Admit it: Your carry-on bag is stuffed with digital gear that you can’t bear to leave at home.  Your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook will keep you entertained while en route, and it’ll make a great navigation, research, and photo tool when you reach your destination. But keeping these devices charged when you’re constantly on the go or stuck in the air can be a challenge. Luckily, you can do a few things  to extend battery life and conserve power.

Invest in a battery case

A battery case for your iPhone extends the phone's battery life and keeps it safe from occasional drops and bumps. Most battery cases come with dock-connector plugs designed to pair up with the iPhone’s 30-pin (iPhone 4S and older) or Lightning (iPhone 5) connector port, which they use to deliver the juice to your iPhone. The only downside is that you can't use any dock-cradle accessories without removing the iPhone from the case.

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How to restore your data from the cloud

Joe Kissell Senior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series, including the just-published Take Control of Apple Mail.
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Online backups are a useful component of a well-balanced backup strategy. Whether you rely primarily on cloud storage for backups (see “Backup Basics”) or use the cloud to supplement local backups such as bootable duplicates (see “Bulletproof Backups”), it’s crucial to understand how you will go about restoring your data after disaster strikes.

Disaster is the operative word here. If you merely need to restore a few individual files or folders, usually that’s simple enough—typically you use either the backup client software installed on your Mac or the backup provider’s website to specify which versions of which files you want, click a button or two, and wait for the files to download. No big deal.

But what if your entire hard disk dies and needs replacing, or your Mac is stolen and you have to start over with a new one? Such situations require a different strategy, because your online backups almost certainly don’t include every single file on your Mac; and in any case, even with a fast broadband connection, you may be looking at days or weeks to restore whatever data you keep in the cloud.

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How to restore data from Time Machine in Mountain Lion

Leah Yamshon Assistant Editor, Macworld

Leah started out as a PCWorld columnist before Macworld scooped her up as an assistant editor. Now, she happily writes features and covers iOS apps, smartphone cases, gadget bags, and social media trends across all three of our sites.
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If you use Time Machine regularly, you're ready for whatever technological mishaps life throws at you. Restoring data from Time Machine is just as easy as backing things up in the first place. Read more »

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How to restore data from Time Machine in Mountain Lion

Now that you’ve been using Time Machine regularly to back up your computer, you should be fully prepared if your Mac crashes or if you need to move data from one Mac to another. Restoring data from Time Machine is just as easy as backing things up in the first place.

Restore a single file or folder

If you’re looking for a certain file or folder, start by connecting the external drive that you use for Time Machine backups or by making sure that you can connect to your Time Capsule. Click the Time Machine item in the menu bar at the top of your screen (it looks like a clock with an arrow running counterclockwise around it), and choose Enter Time Machine. Here, all of your saved backups will appear in chronological order. Use the visual timeline on the right side to scroll through your backups and look for specific items or folders. Older dates are indicated in pink on the timeline; the most up-to-date data on your Mac is indicated in white. (You’ll see the word 'Now' in bold, white letters on the timeline.)

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How to set up Time Machine in Mountain Lion

Leah Yamshon Assistant Editor, Macworld

Leah started out as a PCWorld columnist before Macworld scooped her up as an assistant editor. Now, she happily writes features and covers iOS apps, smartphone cases, gadget bags, and social media trends across all three of our sites.
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If you value your data—whether it’s some perfect photos you took last weekend, your entire music collection on iTunes, or your draft of the next great American novel—you must stay on top of regular system backup. One of the easiest ways of doing so is to use OS X’s built-in backup program, Time Machine. Time Machine works with your Mac and an external drive to save important documents, photos, and system files regularly. Apart from keeping spares of every file, Time Machine maintains a record of how your system looked on any given day, so you can easily put everything back the way it was if something goes wrong.

OS X has included Time Machine since OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Here’s how to get set up in OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) using an external drive. For more tips on backing up your data, see "Backup basics" and "Bulletproof backups."

Step 1: Select an external drive

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