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.
After the first article of this three-part series appeared, many of you wrote to ask: do I really not need this software?
It’s true: if you’ve moved up to Windows 7, there are all sorts of software that you just don’t need. Stop following outdated advice and get with the system!
In my previous installment, I wrote that Windows 7 owners don’t need to pay for any of these important apps:
Every copy of Windows 7 includes a complete suite of backup tools. The suite contains everything you need to back up (and restore) your entire system.
What’s more, after you’ve set up your initial backup, future backups happen automatically.
If you’ve moved to Windows 7, there’s a raft of software — entire categories of software — that you simply don’t need.
Why pay for it?
Trick question: when is Office not Office? When it’s Office 365, of course.
On Monday, Microsoft revealed its latest beta version of Office 365. For some small businesses — even some individuals — it may be worth the price.
Sure, you’ve put in all the right data-security tools at your office, but how about when you or your employees are outside the firewall?
Keeping your business data safe while working outside the office requires extra vigilance; here are some tips that will help.
Although the Wi-Fi arms race isn’t going to let up any time soon, wireless can never be as fast and reliable as wires.
So why fight it? Get the best of both worlds with a hybrid Wi-Fi and powerline network, perfect for streaming high-def video.
A nasty piece of malware known as LizaMoon has hijacked links on millions of websites in the past weeks, including some normally safe iTunes and Google links.
Fortunately, LizaMoon is easy to avoid if you know what to look for.
The outpouring of generosity from people all over the world following the earthquake in Japan has been accompanied by a profusion of donation scams.
These scams no longer prey on the simply gullible but have moved to less obvious ruses such as malicious websites that use clickjacking and drive-by attacks.
Although the consequences aren’t as dire as it sounds, the Internet ran out of IP addresses (roughly analogous to telephone numbers) last month.
While the Web won’t come crashing down anytime soon, you’re going to be affected by the new numbering scheme — and some details may catch you unawares.