The latest NSA revelation comes from more documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It shows that the NSA has 50,000 computer networks in a 'sleeper cell' that can be turned on at any time. Leo points out that as impressive as this sounds, a 50,000 computer bot net is relatively small compared to what spammers and hackers have for commercial purposes.
When selling or disposing of a computer, the conventional advice has been to securely erase all of your personal data first. With traditional spinning hard drives, it's common practice to completely and securely format the drive so data cannot be recovered. This isn't the case with Solid State Drives, however.
Robert wants to install the Facebook and Twitter apps, but he's worried about the apps having access to his address book. Leo says it's best to just say no to that. The apps should ask beforehand, so he should take his time when he installs, and just say no. Twitter does it different on Android, though. It makes him think the contacts are on Twitter by having a check beside all his addressees. And that can be embarrassing when Twitter is harassing them with emails. That's what happened to Leo.
CryptoLocker is an awful virus that an alarming amount of people are falling victim to. It presents itself in the form of an email message that will look familiar and authentic. This could be something from a bank or paypal, prompting you to click a link. It may look like a .PDF file, but in reality it's an executable file that launches the virus.
Bernie has a MacBook Air and iMac and he uses FileVault for encryption. But after hearing that it isn't very safe, he's looking to go to TrueCrypt to encrypt his data. Leo says that is a great idea, especially when traveling. And while both Apple and Microsoft offer solutions built into their OS, an open source is better because it's likely that the NSA and other law enforcement officials may have forced a back door into encryption, and there's no way of knowing if they have or not since the Patiot Act prevents them from saying.
Michael Horowitz, author of Computer World's blog "Defensive Computing," has an interesting article called "Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world." If true, it wouldn't take much for the NSA or some other law enforcement division to get your Wi-Fi password and have access to your computer without a warrant.
A new report indicates that Google may actually have access to Wi-Fi passwords used by every Android user. Whenever a user signs into a new Android device, they enter their Google credentials. Then, Google can find your Wi-Fi network and join it automatically. This can only be done if your Wi-Fi password had been uploaded to Google. Leo says it's convenient, but after all of the news about the NSA surveillance, this is a bit scary too.
Apple's iPhone 5s comes with a new security feature called Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their phones with their fingerprint. This struck a chord with many people concerned about privacy after the string of news stories about NSA surveillance, but the way Apple implemented this prevents fingerprints from being accessed by the NSA or any other entity. Apple does not store a picture of the actual fingerprint and doesn't upload anything to its servers.
Privacy Advocate and attourney Marcia Hoffman says that Apple's new Touch ID biometric password authentication may legally nullify 5th Amendment protections when it pertains to activity on your iPhone.
VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network". There are risks in accessing the internet from an open, public Wi-Fi hotspot, such as a hotel or airport. If, for example, your email provider doesn't encrypt your username and password when you log in, then anyone on that shared network will be able to grab those login credentials fairly easily. Even if you just have an email program running in the background, someone with a sniffer could get your credentials without you even knowing about it.