Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

Security and Privacy Tag Archive

January 31, 2015 • Editorials

Calling Off the Outlook Mobile App Challenge!

Yesterday we invited everyone to join us on the Outlook Mobile App Challenge, which seemed like a fun way to put this new ‘universal inbox’ app to the test. Since then some significant security concerns have been identified that makes this an app that we cannot recommend using right now. As a result, we’re stopping …

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January 30, 2015 • Editorials, Rants and Raves

Verizon Account Sign-In #Fail

Dear Verizon: Why exactly have I chosen a password for your site, when upon login from a new computer you’re still going to ask me about some obtuse reference I probably have not jotted down and which may have multiple answers? In many cases, answers to these dumb challenge questions are easily found by looking …

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January 17, 2015 • Editorials, Rants and Raves

The Negative Aspect of Software in Smartphones and Other Devices

There are some negative aspects to using embedded software in hardware.  A few sites have written that about how phones or tablets still on Android versions below 4.4 are at risk for a vulnerability in the default browser. Don’t blame Google for this; blame the OEMs and carriers, as Google fixed the issue. However, there’s much more to this story.

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November 28, 2014 • Reviews

Okidokeys Are an Accessible Entry into the Smart Home Arena

The quirkily named Okidokeys are smart locks for your doors. Consider Okidokeys the gatekeeper to your Smart House. With these neat gadgets, you can unlock your doors using mobile phones or RFID tags without changing the look of your door from outside. Okidokeys are compatible with all cellphones and smartphones on all carriers. The Okidokeys …

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September 3, 2014 • Reviews

Kwikset Kevo Is the Door Lock for the 21st Century and Beyond

A few years ago I set out to turn my mid 1970s home into an “after-market smart home.” At that time, I turned to a specific company. Since then I’ve taken a more individual approach that focuses on specific “best-in-class” products that work well, but are not part of an overall integrated system; the Kwikset …

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July 1, 2014 • Rants and Raves

Watch Those Spam Emails and Think Before You Click

Spammers have gotten more and more sophisticated in recent years. Long gone are the offers of millions if you simply help some poor Nigerian refugee. Now you can get official-looking emails that, if you don’t think before you click, can take you to all sorts of unscrupulous places. One example of this convincing type of …

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June 24, 2014 • Reviews

Keep Track of Anyone or Anything with the Spy Tec Real-Time GPS Tracker

A number of weeks ago, we took a first look at the GL200 Spy Tec Real-Time GPS Tracker. This small unit allows you to keep tabs on people, vehicles, or other key “assets.” The tracker is easy to use, offers detailed information, and it has a rechargeable battery that gets up to two weeks of …

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April 22, 2014 • Gear Bits

Spy-Tech GL-200 Real-Time GPS Tracker Quick Look

During CES 2012, I left my gear bag at a hotel after a meeting. I was able to find it using FindMyiPhone and gained a deep appreciation for the power of geo-location. But what if you want to track a car or teen driver and don’t have FindMyiPhone? That’s where the Spy-Tech GL-200 Real-Time GPS Tracker …

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March 3, 2014 • News

Netflix Support Scam Brazenly Uses Bogus Call Center and Remote Control

Support scams have graduated to another level. If you use Skype, you’ve undoubtedly run across random scam messages which claimed you had a virus or  other security issue. In some instances, a Skype call would claim to be Microsoft support; in both cases the goal was to get you to pay the scammer to fix …

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February 20, 2014 • Editorials

Spear-Phishing: Is Facebook the Source of Your Spam?

Have you received an email that said it was from someone related to you, but upon closer examination you saw that it was from an unknown email address, and it contained a spam link in the email’s body? If so, you might have thought that either you or your friend had been hacked, but this …

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January 27, 2014 • Reviews

Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Micro-cut Shredder Review – Protect Your Personal Data!

Identity theft is a very real concern these days. We try to use common sense, like regularly monitoring our bank accounts and shredding personal documents, but I keep breaking our shredders. “You get what you pay for” is definitely a good motto when it comes to motorized paper chomping machines, so we sprang for a …

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December 29, 2013 • News

If You Get a Message About Your “Achieve Account” Being Frozen, Ignore It

Multiple news organizations, in this case all the local TV stations in my area, have reported about this mysterious text message saying your “Achieve Account” being frozen. It also has a number that you should not call because it is an attempt to steal your identity; if you get a message similar to the above …

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December 10, 2013 • Editorials

Foursquare’s New ‘Passive Notification’ System in Action!

The other day I was at Target, and a notification sounded – it wasn’t email, or text, or Game Center or ESPN. In fact I didn’t recognize it at all – so I looked at my phone. It was Foursquare, as shown above. This was a surprise because I couldn’t recall the last time I’d …

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November 4, 2013 • News

Have You Been Wondering How to Remove Yourself from the Internet?

Maybe this whole NSA debacle has you feeling a bit over-exposed, or maybe you’ve decided that no good can come from having your information “out there”; whatever. Removing yourself from the internet is a daunting task, but Gizmodo has just published a guide that will at least get you started. Can you guess what will …

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October 18, 2013 • Gear Bits

Get Serious About Security with Swann’s Platinum HD Security System

The Swann: Platinum HD System is for the seriously security-minded homeowner. The full 1080p HD DVR/camera kit and the Swann View app offer live remote viewing via four HD Cameras recording at 30 FPS. A 4 Channel DVR with 2TB hard drive records 45 days of non-stop video. It even has night vision. Available now …

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October 8, 2013 • Gear Bits

Whopper of the Week – Google’s Schmidt Says ‘Android More Secure Than iOS’

  This week at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was asked a question about Android security. Rather than answer directly, he said “Not secure? It’s more secure than the iPhone.” Perhaps unsurprisingly this drew laughter from the crowd – but he was being laughed AT, not WITH. Because it comes after a report showed …

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September 30, 2013 • News

Why the LA Schools iPad Fiasco Was Self-Inflicted

iPads are cropping up everywhere, from homes to work and even in school settings. But can an iPad truly be secured to the satisfaction of a conscientious IT department? One expert says no, and a high-profile example may prove him correct. The city of Los Angeles has been planning to roll out iPads to their …

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September 29, 2013 • Editorials

Does It Bother You That the NSA Is Probably Tracking Your Social Connections?

Online privacy is an illusion; anything you wouldn’t want your boss, friends, relatives, present or future significant others (or anyone else important to you) to see should never be posted, texted, emailed, tweeted, or liked. And now it appears that our own government is the party most interested in our social connections and interactions. How bothered …

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August 29, 2013 • Gear Bits

Impact of Android Fragmentation: Vulnerability to Malware

An interesting report from the U.S. Homeland Security Department looks at the threat of mobile malware and other malicious threats, and breaks it down by operating system. Not surprisingly Android (especially 2.x and earlier versions) was most vulnerable, but the bigger concern was the slow adoption of more secure newer OS versions left many consumers …

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August 23, 2013 • News

Use JustDelete.Me to Disconnect Yourself Totally from the Internet

Have you ever thought – what would it take for me to completely delete my online presence? Over at Wired they just highlighted a new site called ‘JustDelete.Me’. The site, pictured above, places ‘delete my account’ direct links for popular sites in one easy to use array. Just click and you are gone – simple …

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August 13, 2013 • Editorials

10 Ways You Can Unintentionally Reveal Your Location and How to Stop It

I was reading Facebook this morning, and I saw a three-year-old video that details how posting pictures on Facebook or other social networks can reveal your location. Keep reading for 10 different ways I’ve found that you can unintentionally share your location, and how to combat it if you prefer not to be so transparent. 10. …

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