Computer tip, restoring power after Hurricane Irma


Forgot your password? Expert tips for remembering the keys to your computer

Setting complex passwords and changing them often may be a top cybersecurity recommendation, but how do you keep track of the darn things?

Spend some time finding a way that works for you, suggests a panel of cybersecurity experts at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). They don’t offer one perfect solution. It’s more important, they say, to use a technique that works for you. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Make the password something you can remember, like the initials to a familiar phrase or a line from a favorite poem or song. To change the password every few months, move to the next line or verse. Add a memorable number to make the password more complex. Software applications are available to keep track of passwords, but you’ll need a password to access that app. For that master password, you could use a feature being offered by more and more devices — using your fingerprint instead of a password. Here are some other tips to make sure you are cyber-secure.

  • Keep software updated

Notices of updates don’t just add flashy features to your apps — they often add security patches to protect against new security threats. Updates usually come automatically from the software company, whether it’s for the computer, mobile device operating system, one of the many functional apps (like Facebook) or a link to your favorite sports team. But take a level of caution on updates as well. You can check regularly for updates either from your device or by going to the application’s website.

  • Don’t click on any link or attached files unless you know where it will take you

A lot of the computer hacking problems you hear about in the news result from people clicking on links or attached files that infect their computers or your mobile devices. An email can even be disguised to look like it’s coming from your best friend, so simple diligence can be extremely beneficial. Take a moment and move your cursor over a link to reveal the full address before clicking it. You’ll see a lot of confusing symbols, but you should also be able to recognize the name of the legitimate source. If you don’t, find another way to verify the link.

  • Install and use virus protection

Buy your anti-virus software from one of the major recognized companies, and make it a subscription-type service that regularly sends automatic updates.

  • Don’t use flash drives

Those little thumb drives or jump drives you insert into your USB port may be handy ways to share lots of photos or other large documents, but as your mother might say, you don’t know where they’ve been. These portable memory devices have been another common way computers get infected with damaging software. Instead, learn to use Dropbox or other software solutions for transferring large files.

  • Back up your devices

Make sure you have a current copy of everything on your computer or mobile device. Every few weeks, transfer your contents to an external storage system that you then unplug from your computer. You can buy an external hardware drive or online storage designed just for this purpose. To learn more, visit

Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Arkansas co-op crews help restore power after Hurricane Irma

Electric cooperative linemen from 13 Arkansas electric cooperatives assisted in power restoration efforts in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

In true co-op fashion, Arkansas’ electric co-ops sent crews to help their sister co-ops in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last month. Arkansas’ co-ops dispatched 174 linemen to assist electric cooperatives in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia with major power outage restoration efforts.

Eventually, about 5,000 line crews from 25 states helped restore power in the face of more than 1.4 million outages in the three most negatively impacted states, with Florida bearing the brunt of the damage.

Kevin Riddle, who coordinates mutual aid assistance arrangements for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, said he worked closely with cooperatives in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and other affected states, as the hurricane approached. He coordinated the effort for Arkansas electric co-op crews once the storm passed.

As of press time on Sept. 20, most Arkansas co-op crews had completed their missions, while 45 men of the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., (AECI) Construction Department were still assisting members of Florida Keys Electric Cooperative with power restoration.

Arkansas electric cooperative crews that assisted in the restoration efforts included linemen from: Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., of Little Rock; Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville; C & L Electric Cooperative of Star City; Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning; Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro; First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville; North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem; Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden; Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville; South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Arkadelphia; Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana; and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

Two special Marathon, Florida, residents at the Dophin Research Center express their gratitude to Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., (AECI) linemen Micah Curtis, Payton Duncan and Mike Matty for their work to restore service to Florida Keys Electric Cooperative members.