Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
With increasing connectivity, access and data sharing, protecting privacy has become more of an issue than ever. Questions here range from how to keep private things private, what to do after they're not, and how to at least be aware of what is and is not private when it comes to computing and the Internet.
Someone sniffing a Skype conversation would just find digital noise. But I guess it depends on... how paranoid are you?
The basic technology is to get the audio/video from my machine to yours so you can hear me. Nobody's in the middle storing it; we're just not that interesting.
There's a lot of misinformation and even paranoia relating to keystroke logging and privacy. Much of it, however, is based on small kernels of truth.
Anonymous access or proxy services provide a level of anonymity by hiding your IP address from sites you visit. A malicious proxy can do a lot more.
In some instances, it might be possible for hackers to see data going to and from one's computer. Sometimes it matters, but sometimes it doesn't.
More and more hotels are offering both wired and wireless internet, but along with those connections comes a security risk most folks don't consider.
The best way to stay safe online is to consider that anything you post can be cached, seen, and even copied. Don't post anything you want kept private.
VPN's (Virtual Private Networks) connect through particular ports and have particular characteristics that are visible to your ISP. I discuss what they can and cannot see.
Your ISP controls your internet connection and it's easy for them to monitor the data you send and receive. The question is, why would they bother?
If using your company's machine, it's safe to assume that your boss or IT department could see your emails and instant messages.
Credit card theft "out of pocket" is possible with a new technology. And yes, foil in a wallet is a way to "foil" the thieves.
While it's possible that cellular calls can be listened in on, it's one of those things where somebody would really have to go out of their way for it to happen.
It's possible for someone on your local network to monitor and perhaps even log internet traffic. That could easily include your IM conversations.
Using a computer at work puts you at the mercy of your workplace IT policy. It's technically possible that your work could track all your activities.
Registration information for domains or web hosting services can sometimes be public. We'll look at how to keep your information private.
Both you and your email provider share responsibility for your privacy. By taking care before providing personal information you can avoid its abuse.
Open WiFi hotspot downloads are available for the internet cafe owner to see. Whether or not they take the time to do it is another story!
Do not track means different things to different people. Ultimately, you are relying on the receiving server to honor this ambiguous term.
Sandboxes and Virtual Machines can help isolate you from certain types of threats. We'll look at what they are and how they might, or might not, help.
While simply viewing a file seems like a benign thing to do, there are many ways that the file itself or the fact that you viewed it might be recorded.
The lock function in Windows is convenient and fast, but it's not quite as secure as you might think. We'll look at why.
It's actually difficult to maintain privacy on a shared computer. Google's web history is one reason, but your browser's history is another.
When using a public computer it's practically impossible to know for certain that your activities aren't being logged.
There's a lot of garbage on the internet and it's difficult to prevent your children from seeing it. There are tools to help and steps to take.
Sometimes you may want to explicitly prevent someone from trying to contact you. Ignoring them is often simplest, but there are tools to help as well.
Passwording a desktop shortcut, while theoretically possible, wouldn't really accomplish the goal of securing information. We'll look at alternatives.
Surprisingly, it's possible for aspects of an https site to still be nonsecure, if the site is improperly designed. And it's very difficult to tell.
Once information has been posted on the internet and can be found, it's nearly impossible to remove it. The internet has a long and persistent memory.
We put a lot of emphasis on keeping ourselves secure from internet threats. But what if the threat is on our own network? How do we stay safe then?
When connecting to the internet in an internet cafe, hotspot or other public connection you could be opening yourself up to serious security issues.
We look at three additional ways that web sites, and others, might gain access to information you might not realize you're providing.
Photographs often include additional embedded information about the picture. Most is boring camera stuff but a couple of items are worth knowing about.
There are numerous things that can be downloaded to your computer while surfing or shopping online. It's best to know what they are and how to manage them.
The publicity of your phone book listing hasn't changed, but its ease of access has changed dramatically. Should you care? What are the implications?
Skype calls are probably private and secure. Skype is encrypted and you don't need to worry about someone in the middle sniffing your conversation.
It's easy to think that as long as you keep your computer out of other people's hands you're safe. It's nowhere near that simple.
Many people are concerned about website tracking and monitoring. While it's not something most need to be concerned about, it can get quite involved.
Most of the card theft that I am aware of are things that are typically out of our control. However, there are some practices to help you ratchet down the security on your card and avoid this problem again in the future.
Trust is tricky when it comes to computers. When you add relationships to the mix, things quickly get complicated, and unfortunately, very serious.
I personally would be annoyed at a tool for bugging me about tracking cookies - when I don't consider them an issue!
Ultrasurf is an anonymous browsing service. I'll discuss a reader's problems using and also review alternatives and the impact on speed.
Cookies are placed on your machine by websites, but often more websites than you realize. We'll review cookies and how third parties can use them.
One of the ways that hackers gain access to valuable information is to eavesdrop on internet connections. It's important to know if you're secure.
Privacy statements of many websites have wording that indicate they recieve and store information. We'll look at just what that might mean.
CISPA is a bill that is worth reading about. In this article, I recommend several reliable sources for information.
Whenever you do anything private on a work computer or network, you're exposing yourself to snooping by the company. Even when you delete private email.
Web servers at least get your IP address when you visit. Whether or not that or other information can actually be used to identify you specifically depends on a lot of things.
Sitekey is a technique used by many financial institutions to protect your account. How it decides to ask you additional questions can be a puzzle.
Https provides validation and encryption, two important pieces of security. Using it for everything is possible but costly and issues would remain.
When I left on a three week vacation I did not hide the fact, and in fact mentioned it publicly in the weeks leading up to it. Was that advisable?
Keeping kids safe on the internet is a difficult problem... you're right. Age restriction requirements are easy to break.