A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.
• Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continuedRead more
Tech companies know all your secrets.
Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are studying your every thought, word, and deed. AI analysis has already given them spooky abilities to predict your behavior for advertisers, with enough accuracy to make them the richest companies on the planet. Now they are exploring ways to influence your behavior, which opens up tremendously difficult moral, legal and political questions. […] continuedRead more
I’m trying to get my thoughts in order for a couple of long articles about how to think about privacy in our world of surveillance by giant tech companies. That’s not quite ready yet. Now, now, don’t be disappointed, get a grip on yourself – it won’t be long before you have a chance to read four or five thousand words about things that I’m poorly qualified to talk about, and won’t that be fun? […] continuedRead more
These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2019. You can download a copy here.
Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continuedRead more
Let’s start with two familiar security principles.
• The bad guys can make any name appear as the sender of a malicious email message.
• Frequently the email address does not match the name. It’s one of the indicators that a message is fake.
The screenshot above is an example. You should always look at the email address of the sender before you click on anything in an email message. […] continuedRead more
Remember when I wrote an article a year ago predicting that always-connected computers would be heavily promoted in 2018?
Yeah, about that: not even close. Nada. All the buzz died away when the first PCs in that category turned out to be underpowered and, well, pretty awful.
Okay, that prediction didn’t pan out. […] continuedRead more
The term “invasion of privacy” is distracting us from understanding important issues.
Invasion of privacy is frequently thrown around as a core issue where consumers need protection against tech companies. Apple has made it the cornerstone of its marketing.
The European Union has enacted strict privacy laws for websites that obtain any kind of identifiable information about users. […] continuedRead more
Two factor authentication adds an extra step to the process of logging into your accounts.
It makes you safer.
Until recently two factor authentication was only used by techies and high value targets in government and enterprises. The world has gotten more dangerous and two factor authentication has become easier to use. […] continuedRead more
Google has improved the password management built into the Chrome browser. It’s . . . okay! Not bad! Better than nothing, absolutely. Saving passwords in Chrome is easy and kind of secure, as long as you take a couple of precautions that we’ll talk about below.Read more
The most important thing you can do to improve your security is to use LastPass. It’s more convenient and more secure than a notebook in the desk drawer or any password system that relies on your memory. Once you have confidence in LastPass (or any password manager), you can use unique random passwords (the ones that look like this: g88*GZ&&HwRx) for every website. […] continuedRead more
We have to talk about passwords.
We’re going to start exactly where you expect: with a lecture about your sloppy habits, as if you’re a kid who’s about to be sent to the corner. I can’t avoid giving this lecture. It’s my job as a parent. You know you need it. […] continuedRead more
With the collapse of the Microsoft consumer ecosystem, there are fewer reasons all the time to sign into Windows 10 with a personal Microsoft account. I’m finding I frequently set up new computers with classic local accounts and bypass Microsoft’s push to connect the computer to an online account.
Let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of logging into Windows with a personal Microsoft account. […] continuedRead more
Adware has started to turn up again, using Chrome extensions and notifications as a way to display annoying ads and muck up the time we spend on our computers and phones – as if we didn’t have enough to worry about.
In the old days, we installed adware on our Windows computers when we clicked “yes” on the wrong website popup or as unwanted companions to “free” programs. […] continuedRead more
The bad guys know where you live.
The bad guys know your old passwords.
But the bad guys do not have a video of you looking at porn. They’re lying to scare you.
If you get an email asking for money and threatening to release an embarrassing video taken with your laptop camera, it is a scam. […] continuedRead more
There is a difference between Russian hacking, on the one hand; and Russian meddling in American society and interfering with our election, on the other hand. The terms are used interchangeably and imprecisely in news coverage. Let’s try for clarity. Knowing the difference will help you sort out the claims flying back and forth in the headlines. […] continuedRead more