Google announced many improvements to its "machine learning" or artificial intelligence capabilities with Google Assistant. Google has already been learning about its users preferences and delivering relevant information through Google Now.
Steve is having trouble recovering his password in Gmail. Leo says that password recovery is the number one way to get an email account hacked, so Google makes it really difficult to recover. That's why Leo recommends using 2nd factor authentication so that he can get a text with a code to recover it easily and securely. If he hasn't done that, he'll have to jump through a few hoops including telling Google about a recent email he sent. If he can't do that, he may be out of luck short of contacting Google.
Ian heard that Apple has stopped support for Quicktime for Windows. He's uninstalled it, but there are programs like Adobe Premiere and Hyper Studio that depend on it. Leo says that there may be an update through the programs that will support other options. If there isn't, there should be soon. In the meantime, Ian should make sure that his browser can't launch Quicktime. He can go into the settings and disable it.
Saying that the federal government has demanded personal data of their customers over 2500 times this year, Microsoft has sued the federal government demanding that the court rule on how the company must provide the information. According to the complaint, Microsoft is not allowed to tell their customers of the action, nor is there any expiration on the demands, effectively tying up the company forever. Microsoft is asking the court to rule and provide a level of transparency, and to act as a hedge against an overreaching government.
Jay wants to get rid of cookies and prevent them from being saved on his computer. Leo says that cookies are supposed to be used to save data when visiting a website so that when he returns to it, he won't have to reload or relogin. Not only that, but it gives him ads based on his interests. He can turn off 3rd party cookies, though, if he wants.
The FBI has figured out how to crack into the phone of the San Bernardino terrorist, and is now offering its assistance to law enforcement across the country in unlocking iPhones. The FBI has no plans to disclose the vulnerability to Apple, either.
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If you're concerned about using your credit card online, the website Privacy.com will keep your personal data private and make the transaction more secure. This site will give you a new virtual card for every transaction you make. Privacy.com can be used everywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted.
President Obama at SXSW on Friday said that smartphones can't be allowed to be black boxes, inaccessible to government. He said you can't take an absolutist view on this. "So if your bargain is strong encryption, no matter what, that we can and should in fact create 'black boxes,' then that I think does not strike the kind of balance that we have lived with for 200, 300 years, and it's fetishizing our phones above every other value."
The problem with this is that the math is done -- cryptography exists. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop that.
If you travel frequently, you're probably relying on public Wi-Fi hotspots often. While they are convenient, you should be aware that some of the things you do while connected to that hotspot could be visible to others. Many of the tasks that people do online, including banking, Amazon, Facebook, and most email providers, are already encrypted using https. This means that everything on that connection is secure. You can find out if you're on an encrypted connection by checking the URL in the navigation bar.
Steve said that he's been a HostGator customer for 9 years and had been very happy. They are associated with SiteLock, a site that scans websites to check for malware. His site got infected with malware, and SiteLock reported that to HostGator, who notified Steve they were going to take down his site. When he called HostGator, they forwarded him to SiteLock, and they presented him with an option to clean up his site for $300 or subscribe to a monthly service that would cost $97 a month.