Month: May 2019

Secure Your Passwords

How important is it to have a strong password? Passwords keep your information, money, and identity safe. Here are some ways to keep yourself safe.


The best way to keep yourself safe is to have a password that can’t be cracked easily. The password should have uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. This prevents hackers from using dictionary attacks.

If your password is too simple (123456, password, etc.) it will be cracked in no time. To see how long it will take hackers to guess your password try this Password Cracking Estimator.

Multiple Passwords

Having just one or two passwords makes you vulnerable to getting all of the websites you use hacked as well. Once they correctly guess your password on let’s say eBay, they will try it on PayPal, Amazon, Walmart, or anywhere else you could have a sensitive information saved.

It is best to have at least four different passwords and to try and change them regularly.

Do Not Save Your Passwords

It is not smart to keep a list of your passwords anywhere. Even if you just write them down on a sticky note or in a notebook, someone could still get their hands on it. The best method is to just to keep them in your head but if you really need to write it down keep it somewhere safe and not just out in the open (On your monitor or under your keyboard).

Changing your passwords, having multiple passwords, and keeping them complex and secret is the best way to keep your information safe.

Shared Short Codes Are Going Bye Bye!

What is a “Shared Short Code” you ask? If you have a cell phone, you have seen a Shared Short Code at some point. Look at the hundreds of text messages you’ve got, go ahead, I’ll wait… Somewhere in there (unless you delete all of your texts and keep it cleaner than 99% of people) you very likely have an automated text message from a phone number with only 5 or 6 digits, for example 95577 is our Shared Short Code, err was our Shared Short Code. Normal U.S. phone numbers are 11 digits, Country Code (1), Area Code (3), Prefix (3), and Line Number (4).

Parts of a Phone Number

Yet there are those 5 or 6 digit Short Codes that are usually from large companies sending you service or appointment reminders, or coupons for a burrito, etc.. Those Short Codes can be expensive, so many smaller companies would get together and share one Short Code.

A Shared Short Code allowed hundreds if not thousands of companies to use the same Short Code by texting a unique keyword, something like “PIZZA” to 97575, which would indicate what company you’re messaging. For example Users texting PIZZA would be placed into the pizzerias contacts/subscribers list, texting CAR would place them into the dealerships, texting HOUSE would place them into the realtors, you get the point. However, even though this method allowed many companies to have access to inexpensive texting programs by a single shared code, each company had to have their own separate opt in list of subscribers. So, that meant just because you texted PIZZA to 97575, that only allows that pizzeria to solicit to you, not the dealership and not that realtor. Well, thanks to some abusers doing massive illegal marketing campaigns, sending texts to people that never opted in, cell phone carriers have decided to put a stop to Shared Short Codes.

Trumpia, a major Short Code provider, recently stated in an email sent June 26th, 2019:
“Even before this announcement, shared short codes were at risk of a single user misusing them, leading to carriers shutting down the entire code. This would negatively impact hundreds of users because of the action of one.”

What’s does all of this mean?!?!?

Well, those huge conglomerates that could afford to have a dedicated Short Code won’t be affected at all, they can keep on using their fancy 5 digit texting number. But, for us guys that don’t want to dish out $1,000 a month for that fancy 5 digit number, we’ll be forced to use toll-free like numbers for these programs. Shared Short Codes will no longer be allowed by cell phone carriers, but they understand legitimate business depend on these programs, so they are issuing groups of 800 numbers to be distributed to each individual business. This will allow Texting providers the ability to lock down offenders without affecting everyone else.

Do you have a Shared Short Code and need assistance transitioning? Total PC has been programming custom texting applications, APIs, and more for over a decade. Shoot us a message and we’ll get to work.