Items tagged with Privacy

Amid the privacy concerns and arguably invasive nature of Microsoft's Windows 10 regarding user information, it's no surprise that details on how to minimize the leaks as much as possible have been requested. To this end, we've put together a quick guide to help out. If you are using Windows 10, or plan to upgrade soon, it's worth bearing in mind a number of privacy-related options that are available, even during the installation/upgrade. If you are already running the OS and forgot to turn them off during installation (or didn't even see them), they can be accessed via the Settings menu on the... Read more...
Last summer, we learned about a super-invasive piece of hardware called "StingRay" which law enforcement can put to use to keep an eye on cellular communications in a given area. Since then, those who make use of StingRay have wanted nothing more than for us to forget about it, and in some cases have tried to deny its existence or use. Thankfully, we're smarter than that. To recap, StingRay is a suitcase-sized device that law enforcement can pack into surveillance vehicles. These vehicles would be able to communicate with real cellular towers in the area, and in effect act as a proxy.... Read more...
When it comes to smartwatches, the Apple Watch is the 800-lb gorilla in the room. Sure, there are excellent smartwatches from competing platforms like the Android Wear-based Motorola Moto 360 and the Tizen-based Samsung Gear S2, but they all eventually get compared to the Apple Watch. It should come as no surprise that the Swiss watch industry feels bit threatened by the smartwatch phenomena, and much of the vitriol has been aimed at the Apple Watch. The latest to take aim at the Apple Watch is Nick Hayek, CEO of the the Swiss watch giant Swatch. In speaking with Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger,... Read more...
Loved today, hated tomorrow. That's how it goes on the Internet, which is made up of a fickle community of users that will turn on your in an instant if there's a perceived slight. Spotify, long considered one of the so called good guys of the Internet, is finding this out the hard way after making some key changes to its privacy policy. Spotify wants to collect certain information from your mobile device, including contacts, photos, and media files, all "with your permission," of course. What's more, Spotify puts the burden of local law on you, the user, to determine if that's a good idea and... Read more...
If you're keen on not wanting your movements tracked online, Mozilla may have just saved you the need for installing extensions to prevent it. Well, as long as you don't mind using the Developer Edition of Firefox, that is. Mozilla for quite some time has offered robust protection tools, such as Private Browsing mode, where remnants of what you do online are not saved anywhere on your computer (unless, of course, you specifically save content from them), but it's never prohibited tracking. Given that recent concerns have heightened the desire for that, many have turned to third-party extensions.... Read more...
While the NSA had the support of all US telcos with its spying efforts, it's come to light that none offered the level of assistance that AT&T did. Recent documents that are part of the ongoing Snowden leaks show the NSA heaping a bit of praise on its relationship with AT&T, saying it was "highly collaborative" and that the company had an "extreme willingness to help." Beginning in 2003 and leading up to the time Edward Snowden blew the doors off the far-reaching spy efforts, AT&T gave the NSA access to an enormous amount of information through many methods under different legal rules.... Read more...
It's time for another dose of skepticism, because more information has been brought to light over how much data is being sent to Microsoft with its latest operating system. According to an anonymous source on a Czech website (translation available here), key-logged information and even file search results are sent back to Microsoft with Windows 10. This follows on from information regarding data being sent back to Microsoft, even with the various privacy options disabled. The Internet-enabled services like Cortana, OneDrive, News, Weather, etc., can be set to not send information... Read more...
When acquiring a new notebook or desktop, one of the first things many power users do is wipe it clean. No one likes the "junk" that comes preinstalled, and if time is available, sometimes it's just preferable to start fresh. But what if that was easier said than done? What if that preinstalled junk became more like a plague, persisting even through a fresh install of Windows? You might think, "That's crazy. Impossible." Well, it is crazy, but it's definitely not impossible. It seems that installing some asinine malware on customer PCs wasn't enough to satisfy Lenovo's insatiable appetite for intrusion,... Read more...
There's a lot to love about Windows 10, but as it happens, there are a bunch of caveats to be aware of, as well. In fact, as soon as the OS released last week, security experts the world over began to raise a stink about how this is the OS that basically throws away your privacy, and in some cases, even your control. One example of the lack of control relates to Windows Update, something we've covered multiple times in the past. In effect, even those using the Pro version of the OS have less control over how updates are handled versus previous versions, and while an add-on tool has been released... Read more...
There are few things quite as frustrating as dealing with a loss of power. In many cases, that wouldn't cut off communication entirely, as most of us have cell service that would allow us to keep in contact. But what about in the case of a full city power outage? It's happened, and it makes the loss of power at your own home seem like a cakewalk. In extreme cases, it could be governments that are causing disruption, with a notable case being Hong Kong last year, during the Umbrella Revolution. As this was going on, people were unable to make use of their mobile service to keep in contact with each... Read more...
Google has just rolled-out yet another cool feature to one of its products that's both awesome and downright scary from a privacy standpoint. This time, it's Google Maps that's affected, and its new feature "Your Timeline" leaves little to the imagination. With it, you'll be able to effectively stalk yourself - in the past! As it is today, Google by default tracks where you are at any given time, but the amount of information captured is minimal. If you took a trip to New York six months ago, you'll probably be able to see that referenced in your Maps history. Your Timeline takes things further... Read more...
Be careful what you post in jest on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube, lest the U.S. government labels you as a potential terrorist threat. It's the online world we live in these days, and in an effort to thwart the bad guys (and gals) before they can do harm, a new bill would encourage social media sites to notify federal authorities of online "terrorist activity."According to Reuters, which claims to have seen a text of the bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, social media sites would have the green light to tattle on posts that talk about... Read more...
The developers behind the uber-popular Plex media center software have revealed that their databases have been breached, and of course, that means just one thing: you might have a password or two to change. In an email sent to affected users, Plex developers note that only its forum and blog were compromised, and that no financial information is at risk, as that's located on external servers. That doesn't mean that this should be taken too lightly, though, as those who managed to break into the server got away with IP addresses, email addresses, encrypted (hashed + salted) passwords, and perhaps... Read more...
Maybe someday the Chinese government will take a page from O.J. Simpson and write a book titled, "If I Did It: Confessions of a Hacker." After all, China is clinging to the innocence card just as adamantly as Simpson, never mind any evidence to the contrary. In fact, not only is the Chinese government saying it's not responsible for a massive security breach that compromised the personal information of millions of U.S. federal employees, but it claims that the accusations are the result of "absurd logic."The security breach was discovered in April, but actually began back in December of last year.... Read more...
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