SCIENCE & HI-TECH

Russian hackers, firewall check-ups and more: Tech Q&A


Sending Secret Messages

Q: I want to send my girlfriend secret messages. Is it possible to do this so when my wife snoops on my email, she thinks it is just a picture?

A: This is your life, of course, but having an affair never ends well. Rather than sneak around, talk to your wife and seek marriage counseling. Now that I’ve given you the necessary precautions, the answer is yes, you can send secret love messages, and you can probably secure them from watchful eyes. There are more productive uses of this technology, especially if your work requires confidential correspondence, or you are planning a surprise birthday party. Whatever your need for secrecy, I have the steps to take that will enable you to communicate entirely on the DL.

Protecting Cameras from Hackers

Q: There was a news story about a hacker watching what a family was doing through their inside security cameras. I have security cameras in my house. Am I at risk too?

A: Here is a warning that I can’t overstate: the moment you install a microphone or camera in your house and then connect either device to the internet, you are exposing yourself to a potential security risk. The irony about security cameras is that they are supposed to protect you and keep your homestead safe; once a hacker takes them over, that very safety net can be used against you, capturing your daily life in the most intimate way. Take action now. Here is how to secure your security cameras from prying eyes.

Using a Malware-Resistant Browser

Q: On a recent podcast, you said that Microsoft has a hidden browser that protects you from malware. How do I get it?

A: If you have Windows 10, you’ll find that Microsoft has invented a smart containment strategy. This service allows you to create a virtual computer inside your real computer, preventing the malware from spreading. That may sound far-out, but it makes a lot of sense, especially given how susceptible Windows devices often are to viruses. Not everyone will be able to take advantage of this technology, but Microsoft Edge really does live up to its name. You’ll want to read this to learn how to use Edge’s hidden browser.

Keeping the Russians Out

Q: I heard that the Russians are hacking into firewalls. How do test my router’s firewall to make sure it’s Russian ready?

A: “Firewall” is a dramatic word. It conjures an image of an actual wall of fire, giving confidence to the people who have established a firewall – and intimidating anyone trying to get through one. A firewall still offers powerful protection against cybercriminals, but as you suggest, some hackers can still break through. Hackers based in Russia are especially infamous right now, but the truth is, an evil coder could be anywhere in the world, and your firewall may not defend you from his programming skills. So how do you find out whether your firewall is solid? Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to test it. Tap or click here to test your firewall and make sure it’s working.

Uber Spies

Q: Some Uber drivers have cameras and record their trips. Is there a way to know for sure if the Uber car I get in is recording me?

A: Whether you prefer Uber or Lyft or Yellow Cab, most drivers are just everyday people who are trying to make a living. (And earn a five-star rating). At the end of the day, every driver is a stranger, and every passenger is entering a foreign space. We live in an era of tiny, secret cameras. So how do you find a camera that is designed to escape notice? Here are some ways to check for hidden cameras in Uber or Lyft. And by the way, if you are looking to earn money with a side hustle, listen to this special Komando on Demand podcast.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.



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