Every year I buy a bunch of gifts, schlepp them home, and wrap them surreptitiously in a secret corner of my mom's house about 3 minutes before I have to give them over, all in the name of national security. Am I being stupid? Can I do this differently? [more inside]
I just picked up an ASUS laptop for 100 bucks at a Black Friday sale. Now I need to continue the cheapskate theme with free word processing. [more inside]
I'm going to be traveling a fair amount over the holidays which means I'll likely be on public WiFi a lot more than usual, and with all of the various security and privacy issues that have popped up in the news recently, I figure the time is ripe to figure out a VPN strategy (since not everything I do is over SSL/HTTPS). [more inside]
I ran a few luggage bags into the airport terminal for my aging grandmother and ran back out to the curb. Must have been 2 minutes. Airport security waved me away from my car and told me my car was being towed. I just stepped in my car and drove away while security insisted my car was being towed. What does the law say? Will I get a ticket if they've pulled my plates? Am I legally obligated to wait for a tow truck? Am I a fugitive of airport security?
We live in a semi-urban, rust-belt neighborhood that has too many garage burglaries and home invasions between 2am and 5am. Our police department responds to calls but does not have the staff to frequently patrol our area. We have neighborhood communication channels to report incidents after they happen and to encourage neighbors to keep things locked up. What are some effective (and cost-effective) ways to get more people to make their homes and streets undesirable targets, and to make more burglars feel that they might be caught in the act or afterwards without having vigilantes patrol?
Looking for a intercom and remote gate opener with control via the internet on a iPhone / iPad. [more inside]
Just bought a house with a older Brinks Home security system. Well the previous owners had a Land-line and had the house monitored. When they moved out they disconnected the line and now the alarm is showing "CP Trouble" and beeping once every 45 seconds or so. We dont have a land-line nor plan on getting one. We also do not plan on having the alarm monitored but we like the door chime and being able to set the alarm. Even while set the CP problem is still there and beeps. I called Brinks and they said the only way to fix this was to disconnect the whole alarm system or get it monitored. I dont want to disconnect the alarm and I dont want it monitored. Does anyone know if there is a way to bypass this to stop the beeping?
Google Authenticator. I see why it's useful where you're logging into a server that keeps some secrets. But why would it be useful to guard secrets that are stored on your own computer? [more inside]
How does VPN work? How well does VPN protect me? Should I get a paid VPN account? If so, from what provider? [more inside]
I'm taking my laptop on vacation, for the first time. What do I need to do to be sure my info stays safe? [more inside]
I just installed Tampermonkey in Chrome, and it alerted me that it can "see and modify" everything I do online. From a technical standpoint, how do people use plugins like this and still feel secure when, say, doing online banking? [more inside]
How do you go about choosing a personal Safe? [more inside]
What are some steps people can take, or some resources they can read up on to shore up their own security and protect their identity in the event that they were to become a target of hacking and online harassment? [more inside]
I need a keypad deadbolt for a nonprofit's exterior door. [more inside]
Moved recently. The house ADT system already installed. Don't like ADT - what are my options? [more inside]
I've got a few JPEGs with viruses in them. What would need to happen for these to get executed and do stuff to my computer? [more inside]
As a conversation-starter at a legal technology conference, I would like to set up a "Wall of Sheep". Assume I know what I'm getting into legally. Is there a "wall of sheep innabox" that would get me enough results in realtime to throw some stuff onto a screen at our booth? It has been years since I've fired up a sniffer myself. [more inside]
I used to use Truecrypt to encrypt little enclosures so I wouldn't have to worry about my files so much when I, say, put them on a USB stick or backed them up to the cloud. There was a whole... thing with Truecrypt and now it's hard to say if I should use it anymore. Is there another program that's going to work well for this purpose? [more inside]
My laptop died. Boo. I got a new iPad Air. Yay, I guess. How should I set up my privacy, security, and general user preferences? [more inside]
I work for a web-based software startup, and we need a kick-ass system administrator. Problem: how to find one? [more inside]
Thinking ahead to my eventual retirement, I phoned Sallie Mae earlier this year, and spoke with a rep who was easy to chat with, and seemed well-informed and helpful. I asked her if there was any sort of discount or other concession made for student loan payments once the debtor retired and began drawing Social Security. Her answer was that, good news, once I provide Sallie Mae with documentary evidence that I am drawing Social Security, the balance of my loans would be waived. [more inside]
The latest password hack has me wanting to beef up my password security, but I keep running into problems. What should I do? [more inside]
Trying to understand what IT is doing with my workstation right now. Near-constant prompts to log in to Outlook (I am already logged in) and suddenly, for the first time, most websites (but oddly, not social media) are being blocked with EdgeWave iPrism. What's going on, and should I worry? Details inside. [more inside]
My small company is providing a web service for another organisation. One single username/password combo will be used to access the system. Either -- how should we distribute this combo to the 5,000 tech-illiterate members of the other organisation? Or -- what's a better solution? [more inside]
I got a new job (cool!) but have to turn in my MacBook Air from old job (oh well). Since I also used as my primary laptop for personal stuff, like banking and Facebook, it also has a ton of personal data on it. (I plan to buy my own laptop for next job. And no, I did not look at naughty stuff on it -- I do have a tablet.) The company wants the programs already installed left on the computer, which is reasonable -- so leave Photoshop and Word installed -- but I want to clear off any personal data. Is there a good way to scrub an Apple computer while leaving programs behind? Right now you could go to Twitter on my browser and log into my personal account without a problem. (I realize I can just Clear History on browsers, but also looking for deeper scrub, such as WiFi passwords and stuff on keychains).
I've been toying with the idea of getting some sort of CCTV or IPCCTV to keep track of what's going on around my house. Do you have CCTV? What should I be thinking about? [more inside]
One of many painful aspects to the James Foley tragedy is that the US attempted rescue, but was in error as to the location of the hostages. I wonder - is there not some geolocating device, maybe even a microchip, that could be required for journalists and tourists/hikers entering a war zone? I can understand that it would be an intolerable risk for soldiers and spies, but Foley was leaving an Internet café when he was abducted - not trying to live a hidden life.
Wifi is plentiful, but it is also more vulnerable than a wired connection. In the Bay Area, is there a library or other public or semi-public, trustworthy place, that allows users to connect directly to the router with an ethernet cable? Charging a fee is fine.
A few weeks ago, my bike lock left me stranded after the stupid plastic key handle broke off, leaving the rest of the key trapped inside the lock (and leaving me trapped four miles from home, in the rain). Similarly, the weird plastic key handles add a lot of unnecessary heft to my keychain. Are there any decent bike locks that use "normal" keys? Bonus points if I can get multiple locks that use the same key.
We just moved into a new home, and though you wouldn't know it from the neighborhood or the house, which are very nice aesthetically, the inside of our home is sparse and we don't have the latest technology or anything of real value. There is honestly nothing worth stealing in our home, and the expense of cleaning up after a home invasion/robbery would cost more than the value of any items that could be stolen from us. A coworker suggested putting up a sign. [more inside]
I am facing a huge question that I don't know how to navigate and don't feel like I can talk to anyone about. The short story is that I have a precarious-feeling academic job in the Midwestern U.S. and applied for a job in an English-speaking country in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, I found out that I am on the short list for the job. And now I'm just not sure what to do. [more inside]
There are two parts to this: I am locked out of hotmail; my computer can't read the support e-mail security instructions due to computer security. [more inside]
Let's say I need to send some personal data (e.g., full name, DOB, SSN, address history, etc.). I already know I should never transmit that information via email, but why? What are the risks, and where and when do they occur? At what point(s) during transmission is the info in that email in danger? Hit me with every worse-case scenario you can think of. [more inside]
I'm looking for some stats on how often wireless home alarms are disabled. Wired alarms are superior, but by how much? Do remote alarms get blocked 5, 10 or 50% of the time?
I have a payment showing on my bank statement from "MTEAhelp.com" for approx. £30. I don't remember buying anything online on that day, so I'm wondering if I've been scammed? [more inside]
So I recently completed a project, and was sharing the news with people on Facebook - but Facebook blocked the link to my website because it was apparently on some spammy/malware blacklist. I did some investigation, and my site comes up clean on every security scan thing I tried, except McAfee SiteAdvisor. It seems likely that it's a false positive, possibly due to my shared hosting. If there's a legitimate security issue, though, I'd like to find out what it is so I can fix it - but I don't know how I can do that. [more inside]
How do I know I’ve taught myself enough technical writing software (number of programs and my abilities therein) for potential employers to take me seriously? [more inside]
What sort of personal information would be stored on a newer model car's computer that was used for 2 or 3 years, totaled, and then sent to the junk yard? Has anyone researched or begun to address the security risks of more complicated car computers, if they exist at all? [more inside]
I live in a condo community. We have an in-ground swimming pool. The swimming pool is located in a secluded part of the property which is quite large and mostly undeveloped woods and ponds. The pool is surrounded by a chain link fence just under 6 feet tall. We have motion activated cameras and floodlights in the pool area. The gate is locked every night. But none of this deters drunk teenagers from climbing the fence and swimming at 3 AM, and sometimes they vandalize the pool. Is there a way to install an alarm in an outdoor setting? I am not up on the latest technology in this regard. My main concern would be animals or birds setting off such an alarm, which would obviously not be good. What are the best options here?
I get conflicted information about the browser extensions/add-ons Awesome Screenshot and Hover-Zoom. My university community uses browser extensions/add-ons extensively, in particular, Awesome Screenshot across Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Concerns? [more inside]
Technical writers: please share your experiences with me regarding offshoring and job security. I am considering technical writing as a career change and want to determine if it would be a good move to enter this field. Details inside. [more inside]
Recently I noticed a lot of controversy about whether Truecrypt is secure or not. It looks like their webpage is raising concerns about it, even to the point of suggesting that people migrate their data away from it. Arstechnica and others are following the story. What's going on? Might this be a hoax? Are truecrypt encrypted flashdrives not safe? If not, what level of security do they provide, if any? What would be a good alternative if we are to migrate away as quickly as possible?
I'm getting tired of the constant hacks, and I pretty much use the same passwords across multiple sites. Thing is, I can't keep up with eight dozen passwords. Seems like the answer is one of the password manager programs/apps out there. So which one is the one to use? How do I use it with multiple locations and computers (work/home/mobile)? I'm willing to pay upfront, but not a subscription. No one needs another monthly expense. Bonus points if you can explain it like I'm five.
My apartment building was sold in the past 6 months. The new owners have been completely gutting and renovating units as people have moved out; the work is going on for months. I'm planning to move out at the end of the month and wondering how much I need to worry about cleaning or repairing any minor damage if they're just going to do the same thing to my unit. Additionally, if they do charge me for any damages do I have any recourse to argue that they shouldn't have because they weren't preserving whatever it was any way? Obviously not expecting any binding legal advice on this, more curious if anyone has had similar experiences or any pointers to share.
I have an upcoming trip to and from Chapel Hill, NC. While there, we will be traveling to the Washington DC area. My return flight leaves RDU, near Chapel Hill and routes through IAD, Dulles, at DC. Skipping the flight from RDU would save about four hours of driving back to North Carolina and realistically provide another full day in the DC area. Can I do this? If so, what are the restrictions and gotchas? Can I roll the RDU-IAD flight revenue over into a seat upgrade? Personal experiences with trying to do this welcome. Direct experience from airline and travel pros also welcome. Speculative answers less welcome. Thanks very much! [more inside]
Is there anything smart and wireless, a la the Dropcam or Canary, but for outdoors? If not, what's the best alternative?
What is the current state of the art / recommended best bet in security and anti-virus software for Windows 8? Paid options are on the table. [more inside]
I have a jailbroken iPad. I need to study for computer certifications (A+, Security+, Networking+) in a remote location, but I'm having a hiccup. [more inside]
(Keeping this anonymous because I'm worried my security's compromised and don't want to make it worse.) So for about the past six weeks, the log-in process on the Bank of America site has been behaving strangely for me. When I go to the BOA site I see my online userID in the normal way and click on it. That then takes me to the sitekey confirmation page where --weirdly-- my password is now showing up in plaintext on the login page, above the sitekey image. The first time this happened it was displaying my then-current password, which I immediately logged in with and changed. Since then, every time I go to log in I see the old password in plaintext, above the sitekey. When I enter either my then-current or my actually-current password it's rejected and I need to go through the reset process before I can successfully log in. I'm not freaking out, because there's no strange activity in my accounts. But still, it's unnerving. So..... what might be going on here, and what should I do about it? [more inside]
I'm going to be stocking a small bookcase with 5 to 10 books, and placing it in a room inside a college. I need a way to prevent the books from being stolen. Options seem surprisingly limited. Any help? [more inside]