You may have heard about the latest Wi-Fi vulnerability in the news called “KRACK” or “Key Reinstallation Attack.” This is a security flaw in the WPA2 protocol that could allow a third party to intercept network activity between a router and a device. It does this by taking advantage of a problem with the way the client (your mobile device or computer) authenticates with the access point (the router).
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Leo has talked a lot on the Tech Guy show about using two factor authentication wherever possible to ensure the security of your online accounts. Two factor authentication is when you have to enter a code that is sent to you in addition to your normal password. This could be called many things, including “Two-Step Verification” and “Two-Factor Authentication” depending on the site. The early versions of two factor authentication used SMS, and would text the code to your phone, but it turns out this practice is not very secure and many of the major sites are not recommending it anymore.
One of the benefits to having an Android phone is that you can customize and change almost everything about it. You can even change the way your apps and widgets are presented to you by changing what's called the "launcher." The launcher is a lot like Explorer on Windows or the Finder on the Mac. It's the program that allows you to see files and applications so you can run them. The iOS launcher is called SpringBoard, and Apple doesn't let you use any other launcher. On Android, however, you can download third party launchers that change the way your home screen operates.
Rich DeMuro filled in for Leo Laporte this weekend, and recommended a couple of apps that will help you make purchases and track them. First is an app called Earny. This tracks purchases that you make at major retailers and looks for price drops. Prices change all the time, and we typically check prices before we buy things, but not afterwards. If Earny sees a price drop on a recent purchase, it will collect a refund for you by reaching out to the company. The pro to using this app is obviously the cash you'll get back from purchases.
In the wake of the Equifax breach, many people have explored options on additional security and damage control. Putting a security freeze is a step above fraud alerts and can prevent thieves from getting credit in a victim's name, even if they have their social security number. For those under 65 years of age, putting a credit freeze costs $10 (so a total of $30 for all three major credit bureaus). Freezes can be requested by mail or online, and the bureaus must place the freeze within three business days of receiving the message.
Facebook's Safety Check feature is a good way to tell your friends and family that you're alright if you're in the midst of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey. You can find the Safety Check in the "Explore" section of the mobile app. You can get to it by tapping the hamburger menu on the bottom right corner. Once you tap into Safety Check, you'll see the current Safety Checks around the world or you can create a Safety Check. Then you can see people that are marked safe, and mark yourself safe if you're in an affected area.
One of the best web browsers available right now is Chrome, which comes from Google. It’s fast and secure, and Google does a good job of keeping it up to date as well. But even Chrome can slow down and have issues after awhile. If you’ve had problems with Chrome, here are some things to try to get it back to its typical performance.
Securing your online accounts is vitally important. The consequences of being hacked can be great — someone could lock you out of your email account. If that account is used for password recovery for your other accounts, then a hacker could get access to all of those as well. There are a few basic things that you should make sure you do to protect your email account:
1. Provide a secondary email address for recovery.
2. Provide a phone number for password recovery.
3. Turn on 2 Factor Authentication.
In a few weeks, on August 21st, there will be a total solar eclipse in North America. It will be possible to see at least a partial eclipse everywhere in the US, but some places will get totality, meaning the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. That will happen in a band stretching across Oregon to Florida.
Taking screenshots used to be something that would require a third party program. This was especially true if you wanted more sophisticated capabilities, like the ability to annotate screenshots. While there are still third party programs for doing this, many of these features have been integrated right into the Windows and Mac operating system. Here's how to make use of the screenshot features in Windows and Mac.