How to Avoid Pets Damaging your Computers

You may be a cat or dog lover, have a bird, rabbit, or gerbil. Whatever animal you invite into your home, don’t overlook the potential damage a pet can do.

With more of us working from home, more pet owners are sharing photos of pet co-workers. That cat sprawled over your laptop or dog with his paws on your keyboard may make for funny photos, but they can also cause real damage.

Many pets have sharp claws. They won’t think twice about using them to scratch computer screens, keyboards, or other devices. Also, if your pets are close to your laptop or desktop, they could cause them to fall off your lap or other surface.

Your pup could pull at the cord while trying to remind you it’s time for a walk, or a curious cat could damage the cable or connecting port, pulling the cord in the wrong direction.

If a cat is climbing on the furniture, she might knock your device to the ground and crack the screen, or worse. A cuddly dog might want to get on your lap and swipe a nearby liquid over your keyboard with a happy tail wag.

Even when a dog curls up under a desk while you’re working or watching a show, it might pose a risk. Jumping to save you from a neighbor closing a door, they could push printers or hard drives off shelves. These devices are not built to sustain falls.

Other pets can cause problems, too.

Many animals also like to chew, especially rodents. Their teeth are sharp enough to work through your electronic cables, which could lead to electrical shocks for them or exposed wires that are a danger to you.

Think you’re safe with a bunny or hamster? If you let them roam free around the room, you risk them urinating on your devices. Or a bird might nest near your electrical cords. These actions could cause costly damage or corrosion.

Any furry family member you have could also cause damage by shedding. Hair accumulating in computer vents and fans can cause overheating and performance issues.

Even if you have a snake or fish, you’re not entirely secure. Snakes and fish can require heat lamps or aquariums, which can cause an electrical surge that might damage your devices. You'll want to install a surge protector.

What to do about pet risks

It’s a good idea to keep your pets away from your personal electronics. When you have your computer out around your animals, keep liquids away from your devices. That’s good practice whether you have pets or not.

Also, store technology securely. Avoid leaving it unattended on high counters or other places that pets might reach.

Bundle electronic cords to protect devices from damage, and pets from electrical risks.

Getting your computer’s internals professionally cleaned occasionally is also a smart move. Again, this is good practice whether you have pets or not. Dust and hair can also build up inside and slow the computer’s mechanics. A good clean can help you keep that computer running its best for longer.

Our experts can help you set up your home computing centers safely and securely. We can also help you clean or repair your devices...but you are on your own for potty training or feeding mice to your snake.

Call us today at 940-282-0290.


Password Autofill:

Convenience Compromising Security

“What’s that password again? Wait, I changed it … Harrumph. I don’t remember!” We’ve all been there, sometimes many times a day. Password autofill on our Web browsers felt like the sun was shining on our online activity again. Sorry to tell you, but this convenience may not be entirely safe.

Most browsers will ask after you’ve entered a new password into a site or changed a password if you want it stored for you. That way, when you revisit that site, the browser can autofill the access credentials for you. It saves you the struggle of trying to keep all your passwords straight.

The problem is that some sites, including legitimate sites, can be compromised with a hidden form. You’ll never see it, but your browser will. So, it will autofill that form, and in clear, unencrypted text. This allows bad actors to capture your username and password without your knowledge.

Another risk? Irresponsible digital marketers may use hidden autofill forms to track your online activity. That’s done without your consent.

Using browser autofill with a password manager can also cause confusion, especially if your browser autofills, whereas the manager asks before filling in forms. Using both at the same time you also run the risk of duplicating passwords, which could make it difficult to track your passwords and increase the risk of security breach.

How to disable autofill

You can protect your passwords by disabling autofill on any browser you use:

  • On Microsoft Edge, go to Settings, then Profiles, then Passwords, and disable “Offer to save passwords.”
  • On Google Chrome, go to Settings, then Passwords, and disable “Offer to save passwords.”
  • On Firefox, open Settings, then Privacy & Security, then Logins and Passwords, and “Autofill logins and passwords.”
  • On Safari, from the Preferences window, select and turn off Auto-fill.

Can I keep using password managers?


A password manager, such as Dashlane, LastPass or 1Password, typically provides more security than browser autofill. Password managers have strong encryption algorithms to protect your login credentials, which means that even if your device is compromised, your passwords are safe.

Still, if the manager autofills your credentials, you face the same risks. Most password managers have autofill disabled by default. That’s good. Leave preemptive autofill off. You might see it called “Autofill on page load.” Keep that turned off, too.

Our advice? Use a password manager that requires you to click a box before it fills in your credentials. This action avoids your information from automatically populating a hidden form.

Securing your online activity is an ongoing challenge. Our experts can help identify ways you can protect your privacy and data online.

Contact us at 940-282-0290.

Brian W. Norby
(Owner of both BWN Computer
AND That Computer Man)

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