Jeff wants to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of some old computers, but is concerned about privacy and the data on the hard drives. Leo says that the easiest thing to do is to simply remove the hard drives. He could also use something like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to completely wipe the drive. It erases everything by writing zeros across the drive, and then erases it again. If he does that several times, he'll be safe from everyone save the NSA. Solid State Drives, however, can be easier to get data off of.
The Senate has voted to overturn an FCC regulation that was designed to protect customer privacy. The regulation that was put out in October of last year said that internet service providers would have to ask for customer permission before selling personal data, such as browsing history, current location, and more.
Read more at WashingtonPost.com
The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.
Joe wants to know what RFID is and how it works. Leo says it works by electromagnetic energy which powers it. It picks up the energy and then broadcasts a signal with an identifier number. Its range is not very far.
How can he protect himself from people grabbing his information via RFID? Leo says that there are wallets which have metal fiber in them that prevents the energy from passing to his chip and broadcasting it.
Leo has Comcast at home and he got a warning that he has exceeded his bandwidth cap of 1TB. Leo says he hasn't done anything different than before, however, and he wonders if the metering is accurate. Additionally, Leo has discovered that Comcast uses a man in the middle scheme and can take over his screen if they so desired. That's bad news because privacy issues abound.
Telegram is an encryption system that many use to keep messages secure. The news is that Russians have cracked it, though. That could impact other apps like WhatsApp, but Open Whisper Systems says that WhatsApp, Signal, and even Facebook are still secure in encrypted mode. Leo also says that if you want to encrypt your email, PGP and GPG are still solid.
Read more at Mashable.com.
Chris doesn't know what to do since his Apple GPG tools don't work with macOS Sierra. Leo says that GPG is Gnu Privacy Guard, which is the open source version of Pretty Good Privacy email encryption. You can use any email client with it to encrypt your email. The other side has to be able to decrypt it, though.
Steven is concerned that facial recognition on Google Photos will be used to stalk people. Leo says that Google does limit the facial recognition to only the user's personal feed. Of course that doesn't stop law enforcement and other government entities from being able to do it. Leo suspects that the technology will eventually get out there, though.
Remember the legal battle that Apple fought against the US Government to prevent unlocking of the iPhone's encryption? The US Gov't ended up going to a third party company who had created a hack to do it. Now that hack is being used to unlock and peer into the mobile phones of dissidents and other undesirable elements that the government wants to keep tabs on. Even reporters. Leo says that Apple has pushed out a fix to block it, and everyone should install iOS 9.5.3 to stop it. Otherwise, you're vulnerable.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed anti-terrorism legislation, including increased electronic surveillance of Russian citizens. This effectively removes all privacy as telephone companies and internet providers will save and store private communications of its customers and make it available to the government upon request. Phone calls, text messages, and emails will be kept for 6 months, and all metadata will be kept for up to 3 years. This also will outlaw encryption.