After completing the two previous articles on online poker security, some questions from readers made me think about some areas that needed to be worked out and possibly some viable and free solutions to help Internet poker players to make your systems more secure by installing Microsoft Updates, if you are using Windows, and suggesting a program that will control and keep track of your passwords. This allows the player not to need to have a thorough knowledge of computers or operating systems and not to make any changes to their current operating system.
If the previous article, On-Line Poker Security II, was not read, or an ‘update course’ is required Poker QQ, it can be found here. There was no mention in previous articles about system updates for Windows. The importance of these security updates can never be emphasized enough. There are several automated ways (or as automated as Microsoft can be) to receive these security updates, or if automatic downloading and installation is not preferred, a notification can be sent to the computer. To choose the level of automation in XP, go to ‘start’, ‘control panel’ and then ‘Windows updates’. You can then choose when and how you want the updates to be installed. To manually install these updates, go to the Microsoft website and choose ‘express installation’. This will list all security updates and critical updates. From here, choose to download and install the updates of your choice (they should almost always be all) and the rest is done by Windows. Make sure your work has been saved and be prepared to restart Windows for these updates to take effect. If these updates have never been installed on your computer before, it may take a while, but after the first time, it will generally not take more than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Passwords were discussed in part II of the previous set of articles. The design of the most used passwords is 7 to 10 characters, a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. This ensures that a word in the dictionary cannot be used. The use of a passphrase has been discussed to make it easier to remember the password. Another solution, which was not discussed, was a software that stores the poker player’s passwords from all their accounts, be they poker, rakeback, etc … related, in an encrypted database. This encrypted database uses a password to be viewed. Of course, with this password there is always the risk of someone discovering that password and having access to all your passwords. One solution to this is a ‘key’ that is placed on a compact disc / floppy disk, which can be used in conjunction with a password, or unattended, to open the database. This is ideal for those who want to have multiple passwords, usernames, be able to create longer passwords and be able to remember all these details. One such program is KeePass. This is an open source program that is free, in all uses of the word ‘free’, that will not only keep your passwords, but can also create passwords, allow the user to copy and paste passwords, and is only available at your machine; that is, passwords are not sent to a website. The program is very easy to install, allows multiple databases, has an active forum and does not require changes to the operating system or extensive knowledge about how the program really works (but since it is open source, you can see exactly how it works). The KeePass home page is located at . After reading a little more about it, a link can be found to download it too. Make sure that it is downloaded only from the links listed on your website.
The two methods above will not only help to protect your system while playing poker, they will also help with the security of your Internet and can help prevent ‘leaks’ while you work in your daily life.
Shannon Gilchrist is the chief editor of Rake Tracker, a website dedicated to tracking online poker rake and rakeback.