Saying that the federal government has demanded personal data of their customers over 2500 times this year, Microsoft has sued the federal government demanding that the court rule on how the company must provide the information. According to the complaint, Microsoft is not allowed to tell their customers of the action, nor is there any expiration on the demands, effectively tying up the company forever. Microsoft is asking the court to rule and provide a level of transparency, and to act as a hedge against an overreaching government.
Jay wants to get rid of cookies and prevent them from being saved on his computer. Leo says that cookies are supposed to be used to save data when visiting a website so that when he returns to it, he won't have to reload or relogin. Not only that, but it gives him ads based on his interests. He can turn off 3rd party cookies, though, if he wants.
The FBI has figured out how to crack into the phone of the San Bernardino terrorist, and is now offering its assistance to law enforcement across the country in unlocking iPhones. The FBI has no plans to disclose the vulnerability to Apple, either.
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If you're concerned about using your credit card online, the website Privacy.com will keep your personal data private and make the transaction more secure. This site will give you a new virtual card for every transaction you make. Privacy.com can be used everywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted.
President Obama at SXSW on Friday said that smartphones can't be allowed to be black boxes, inaccessible to government. He said you can't take an absolutist view on this. "So if your bargain is strong encryption, no matter what, that we can and should in fact create 'black boxes,' then that I think does not strike the kind of balance that we have lived with for 200, 300 years, and it's fetishizing our phones above every other value."
The problem with this is that the math is done -- cryptography exists. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop that.
If you travel frequently, you're probably relying on public Wi-Fi hotspots often. While they are convenient, you should be aware that some of the things you do while connected to that hotspot could be visible to others. Many of the tasks that people do online, including banking, Amazon, Facebook, and most email providers, are already encrypted using https. This means that everything on that connection is secure. You can find out if you're on an encrypted connection by checking the URL in the navigation bar.
Steve said that he's been a HostGator customer for 9 years and had been very happy. They are associated with SiteLock, a site that scans websites to check for malware. His site got infected with malware, and SiteLock reported that to HostGator, who notified Steve they were going to take down his site. When he called HostGator, they forwarded him to SiteLock, and they presented him with an option to clean up his site for $300 or subscribe to a monthly service that would cost $97 a month.
Mark accidentally deleted photos from his Android phone. How can he get it back? Leo says he can do it by mounting his Android device to his computer and put it in MTP mode. Then he can use an undelete utility to restore the image. There may also be an app in the Google Play store that can do it. Mark should turn off the phone and do nothing with it until he's ready to restore it. Connect it to his computer and use apps like Install Image or Disk Digger.
A Hollywood hospital was hacked a few weeks ago and was essentially unable to operate. The hackers demanded 40 Bitcoins, which comes to about $17,000. This is considered "ransomware," where the hackers get you to run malicious software through a bogus updater like Flash that appears to be legitimate. This malicious software encrypts all data and threatens to delete everything unless you comply with the demands within a certain time frame.
Steve got a copy of Sophos antivirus, but it suddenly stopped working after installing Windows 10. Leo says that's because sometimes security software can cause problems with upgrading, and that sounds like what happened. Leo also says that the version of antivirus may also be the issue here. But Leo says that times have changed and he doesn't really recommend antivirus software anymore. Most security experts don't use them. Here are some tips for staying secure online: