Author Archives: Yardena Arar

Yardena Arar

About Yardena Arar

Yardena Arar has written about technology for the New York Times, the Canadian Press, the Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Daily News. She was an editor at PC World magazine from 1996 to 2009, and is now a PC World contributing editor.

What you need to know about 802.11ac Wi-Fi

The Wave 2 update for the relatively new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard promises even faster and more efficient networks. Here’s what to expect — and why you might want to wait a bit before purchasing that new 802.11ac router.

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Mobile privacy: lots of Big Brothers, little clarity

What do you call software that collects and sends information about you to its developers, advertisers, and others? On a desktop, we’re likely to name it spyware.

But on a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device we call it an app — never realizing that it might be operating much like spyware.

As difficult as the issues surrounding privacy on a desktop computer can be, they’re virtually child’s play compared to the issues that arise with mobile devices — which, at the very least, must identify themselves to gain access to public Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Cellular devices do this through a unique identification number attached to every voice call or data request — an ID that networks store as long as your device is turned on, whether it’s in use or not.

The closest equivalents in the desktop space are tracking cookies, which we have the freedom to delete. “With mobile device identifiers, there’s no ability to delete or opt out,” says Ashkan Soltani, an online privacy consultant who recently testified (PDF file) about mobile privacy issues before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

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Office 2010′s Web tools raise security questions

Microsoft’s newest Office adds some nifty Internet features, including easy access to shared documents via SkyDrive and PowerPoint Broadcast.

But putting personal and business information into the cloud opens up potential security risks that all Office 2010 users should be aware of.

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Microsoft decision puts public libraries at risk

Millions of Americans depend on libraries, Internet cafés, and other public locations for their connection to the Internet, and keeping these points of access safe from hackers is especially difficult.

Recently, however, Microsoft has made that challenge even more difficult for many public libraries.

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Patch arrives for IE hole targeted by Chinese

As of this writing, Microsoft is scheduled to release on Jan. 21 an update that fixes the Internet Explorer vulnerability behind the recent, highly publicized cyberattacks on Google and other major corporations.

The sophisticated “Aurora” exploit is delivered through common file attachments or links — typically in e-mail or other messages that appear to come from trusted sources — but proven security measures and a little common sense can negate all such threats.

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Find safe-browser technologies that really work

The major browsers and security programs all tout their ability to warn you about malware sites before you visit them, but do any of these early-warning systems really work?

Experts say they’re all useful, but none provides a silver bullet — and any browser-security product’s claims of superiority are extremely difficult to verify.

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