Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Ivan wants to know what he's giving away when he logs into a site using his Facebook ID. Leo says that's called Single Sign-on, which makes it easier to sign in. Many services, including Google and Twitter also offer it as a convenience. It's a user verification system that doesn't require him to create an account, nor does it give them access to his account. But it gives Facebook, Google, and Twitter access to more information about where he visits. It's safe to use it, but if he's concerned, he can create a dummy account that he'll only use for that purpose.
Delta has added automatic checkin to its mobile app, including downloading the boarding pass to your phone. But Johnny Jet says that sometimes it doesn't work so it always pays to have a printed backup, or you'll have to wait until everyone boards before they let you on. Delta also says that the best time for booking holiday travel is coming up within the next few weeks. So if you want to fly for Thanksgiving, buy by Nov. 1st. Sometimes you don't want to buy too far in advance because it can be very expensive.
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
The website that Equifax set up to allow people to see if their personal data had been compromised by hackers has been found to be filled with more malware. Even worse, your salary history has also been compromised. Learn more about it at krebsonsecurity.com.
A new bill being proposed would allow computer users to hack back any hackers that strike them. This will give them the ability to destroy any data stolen from them, as well as giving a little digital pay back. Leo says that it's hard to know where the attack is coming from and you could make matters worse for some innocent person who was also hacked, with their computers and email addresses used as an alias for the real hacker. He also says this is asking for trouble because hackers are far more sophisticated than their victims.
Justin Rosenstein, the man who created the Like button for Facebook, is now saying that it has become too addictive. He's blocked his own use of Reddit, Snapchat, and has imposed limits upon himself for Facebook. He even instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps. He fears a smartphone dystopia, and says that "our minds can be hijacked."
Sean has moved to a new house and there's no internet access. He has a My Home Verizon cellular option, but it has slowed down. Leo says that living in rural areas is a problem for broadband because there aren't enough people within a certain area to justify the expense to laying the cable. He could talk to his neighbors about sharing the cost to pay for it. Co-ops are popular in rural areas. It's not cheap, but that's what people do.
Tom works at home, using remote desktop with his clients. He's going to be moving to a rural area and he needs high speed internet. What can he do? Leo says that rural areas are a challenge for high speed internet because there's simply not a lot of people in an area to justify the cost of laying down the wire. Tom should check out DSLReports.com to find out what's available in the area he's going. Another site to check out is broadbandnow.com.
Richard watches the BBC through their iPlayer (and likely through a VPN) and now it suddenly takes forever to load on his laptop. It's OK on his desktop, though. Leo says the BBC has probably locked it down for international users. The BBC gets its money through a TV license fee that viewers pay for. So many people use a VPN to get around that.
Facebook's top security officer says that it's really hard to keep bad guys off their site. Testifying before Congress, he said that buying so-called dark ads is hard to stop. Leo says that's because they're willing to pay for it. Leo adds that Facebook really needs to do eliminate dark ads completely and have every ad be seen in the light of day so we know who's buying the ads. But Facebook doesn't want to do that.