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Computer/Internet Services
54 Amazon and Google are listening to your voice recordings 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 3972
Date add : 07/13/2019
Amazon and Google are listening to your voice recordings. Here's what we know about that.

First Amazon admitted it -- now Google says it's listening, too. Here are the specifics, and the questions we still want answered.

Ever since Alexa and Google Assistant first burst onto the scene and started populating people's homes with smart speakers and other gadgets outfitted with always-listening microphones, people have wondered whether anyone other than their AI assistant of choice was listening in.

Well, the answer is yes -- both Amazon and Google have admitted that they hire contractors to listen to anonymized user audio clips ( $175 at Walmart) for the purposes of improving their respective assistant's capabilities.

That might have seemed like an obvious assumption to some, but to many, it was a wake-up call. That's true not just for Amazon and Google, but for all of the gadgets and services that need our data to function. What are these companies doing with our data? How are they protecting it? Are they sharing any of it with third parties?

What Amazon and Google say

"We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order improve the customer experience," an Amazon spokesperson told CNET in April. "For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone."

lenovo-smart-clock-4
Always-listening gadgets equipped with Alexa or Google Assistant like this Lenovo Smart Clock are seeking a place in just about every room of our homes.

Chris Monroe/CNET
The spokesperson added that employees can't directly access identifying information about the people or accounts associated with the recordings.

"All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption, and audits of our control environment to protect it," the spokesperson said. 

Meanwhile, Google chalks it all up to the complexities of building a fully capable, multilingual voice assistant.

"As part of our work to develop speech technology for more languages, we partner with language experts around the world who understand the nuances and accents of a specific language," David Monsees, product manager for Google Search, said in a blog post Thursday. "These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages. This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant."

Google adds that the audio samples these contractors listen to amount to about 0.2% of all recordings, and that user account details aren't associated with any of them.

"Reviewers are directed not to transcribe background conversations or other noises, and only to transcribe snippets that are directed to Google," Monsees said.


Now playing: What exactly does Amazon do with your Echo data? (The... 4:45 0.2% -- is that it?

Google's blog post specifically addresses audio that reviewers are listening to for the purpose of helping Google Assistant master a variety of languages, dialects and accents. But are there any other purposes for which Google or its contractors listen to user audio?

I asked a Google spokesperson that exact question, but did not receive an answer. Instead, the company reiterated that language experts review around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets. It did not address whether or not Google has any other purposes for listening to user audio outside of what's described in Monsees' blog post -- details Google only shared after one of those language experts provided Belgium-based VRT NWS with more than a thousand recordings of people using Google Home smart speakers and the Google Assistant app.

I asked again -- are the language experts Monsees describes the only contractors or employees at Google who listen to user audio? I was referred to Google's privacy policy, which reads:

"We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors, and agents who need that information in order to process it. Anyone with this access is subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations and may be disciplined or terminated if they fail to meet these obligations."

As for Amazon, the Alexa FAQ page reads:

"...we use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems. The more data we use to train these systems, the better Alexa works, and training Alexa with voice recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone."

That said, an Amazon spokesperson says that the actual percentage of audio recordings the company listens to and transcribes is very small, and similar to what Google pegs it at.

"We annotate a fraction of one percent of interactions from a random set of customers to improve the Alexa experience for customers," the spokesperson tells me.

As with Google, I also asked if there were any other instances outside of these where Amazon employees would listen to a user's audio recordings. Amazon's answer: "No."phil-swinford-house-tour-18

The smart home tech one injured veteran uses every single day 30 PHOTOS
What about third parties? Is my voice data being shared?
Good question. Let's start with Google.

The company has a multitude of different posts that talk about its approach to privacy for various Google services, and there's a lot to mine through in order to find clear answers. In some cases, the text is confusing.

One instance occurs on a page for Google Nest services outlining the company's commitment to privacy -- a separate page from the Google or Google Assistant privacy policies. Google explains that the guide is there "to explain as clearly and simply as we can both how our connected home devices and services work, and also how we'll uphold our commitment to respect your privacy."

A few paragraphs later, the page reads:

"...we commit to you that for all our connected home devices and services, we will keep your video footage, audio recordings, and home environment sensor readings separate from advertising, and we won't use this data for ad personalization. When you interact with your Assistant, we may use those interactions to inform your interests for ad personalization."

Read back to back, those sentences seem to contradict each other. Google won't use audio recordings for ad personalization, but when you use the Assistant, Google may use those interactions "to inform your interests for ad personalization." So which is it? Does using the Google Assistant impact the ads you see or doesn't it?

Shortly thereafter, the post refers you to Google's overall privacy policy for more specifics. Click through and scroll down a ways, and you'll find a section on ads that reads:

"We don't share information that personally identifies you with advertisers, such as your name or email, unless you ask us to. For example, if you see an ad for a nearby flower shop and select the 'tap to call' button, we'll connect your call and may share your phone number with the flower shop."

What does that mean for Google Assistant audio recordings, though? If I ask where the nearest flower shop is, am I going to be added to an anonymized list of people who might be interested in buying flowers? Will that list ever be shared with a marketing company for online bouquet deliveries that would then market to me?

"While we may use your interactions to inform your interests for ads personalization, this scenario would not happen," Google tells me. "A third party could not send you a coupon based on your interaction with the Assistant."

"We do not sell your personal information to anyone," the company adds. "This includes your Assistant queries or interests derived from those queries with advertisers."

fear-alexa-1-amazon-echo-plus-promo
An Amazon post titled, "Alexa, Echo Devices, and Your Privacy" makes no mention of Amazon contractors listening to your recordings, and it doesn't address whether your data is shared with third parties.

Chris Monroe/CNET
A user with a question like mine might refer to the privacy section of the Google Nest support page, which reads, "There are some circumstances where we share information with third parties, which are listed in Google's Privacy Policy."

The problem is that Google's privacy policy doesn't really help with device-specific questions like that. In fact, Google's privacy policy only includes the word "voice" once, as an item in the list of "activity information" Google collects (that's also the only place in the policy that mentions the word "audio"). Meanwhile, the policy doesn't include the words "microphone," "recordings" or "assistant" at all.

"User control is very important to us," says Google, "you can always review your Google settings to control the ads you see, including opting out of ad personalization completely."

What about Amazon?

"No audio recordings are shared with third parties," an Amazon spokesperson tells me. "If you use a third party service through Alexa, we will exchange related information with that third party so they may provide the service. For example, if you interact with a third party Alexa skill, we provide the content of your requests (but not the voice recordings) to the skill so the skill can respond accordingly."

Like Google, Amazon has a page on common Alexa privacy questions that's separate from the overall Alexa terms of use. It's concise, just 400 words or so, and it makes no mention of any instances where an Amazon employee or contractor would listen to your recordings. There's also nothing in it about whether or not Amazon shares any of your data or recordings with third parties.

Those are two of the most common privacy-related questions facing Alexa today. A post titled "Alexa, Echo Devices, and Your Privacy" ought to address them.

Same goes for Amazon's Alexa FAQ page. Along with not providing any of the same specifics Amazon shared with us in April about when and why contractors or employees might listen to your Alexa audio, the FAQ offers no clear answers about the kind of Alexa data Amazon might be sharing with advertisers.

The only reference to advertisements in the FAQ is the blanket statement, "We also do not sell children's personal information for advertising or other purposes," along with a link to Amazon's Children's Privacy Disclosure.

google-home-mini-0173-009
Voice assistants offer utility and convenience, but not without trade-offs.

Josh Miller/CNET
The overall Amazon privacy page doesn't make much mention of Alexa except for one reference to "Alexa internet" in a long paragraph listing the types of data Amazon collects. However, the page does describe Amazon's approach to sharing the information it collects with third parties. This includes sharing information for the purpose of promotional offers.

"Sometimes we send offers to selected groups of Amazon.com customers on behalf of other businesses. When we do this, we do not give that business your name and address," the page reads.

An Amazon spokesperson offered more of an explanation of how your Alexa usage can impact what ads you see, and what controls you have over that.

"The experience on Alexa is similar to what you'd see on the Amazon website or Amazon app," the spokesperson said. "For example, if you make a purchase via Alexa shopping, that purchase may be used to provide personalized ads, similar to what you'd see if you purchased something on the website. You can opt-out of receiving personalized ads from Amazon at any time."

Should I chuck these things out the window?
That seems excessive. I don't blame anyone who doesn't want to fill their house with cameras and microphones, but I also don't blame anyone who's willing to trade some of their data with a company they feel comfortable with in order to bring some new convenience and utility into their lives. It's nearly impossible to navigate today's age without making trades like that on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I think the correct way to think about this is to assume that anything you say to your digital assistant might very well be heard by someone else in the future. After all, these companies are collecting and retaining voice recordings and transcripts, in some cases indefinitely. That's not for your benefit, it's for theirs.

The real question with all of this is whether or not your privacy is being harmed. Personally, I don't have a problem with an Amazon or Google employee or contractor listening to an anonymized recording of me saying "turn off the dining room" to try and figure out why the assistant thought I said "turn off the dynamo." It's similar to the way an employee at Sony might review my PlayStation usage after a game crashes to figure out what went wrong and help prevent it from happening again.

The difference is that when my video game crashes, my PS4 asks for my permission to take a look at the crash report. Amazon and Google would argue that they do that, too -- but it's a blanket permission that users blindly agree to when they accept the sprawling user agreements during initial device setup. In today's age, I'd argue that's not good enough. At a minimum, clearer language in the app during setup about when, why and how other humans might eventually need to listen to your audio would likely help a lot of users feel better about tapping "accept."

As for data sharing, companies like Amazon and Google also ought to do a better job of describing their practices -- not just in dense legalese buried deep within one of several different privacy statements, but in straightforward, easy-to-find terms that people can actually understand. Perhaps they're worried that doing so might scare potential users away from their platforms. If that's the case, then maybe that wake-up call was long overdue.

Source: CNET
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/amazon-and-google-are-listening-to-your-voice-recordings-heres-what-we-know/

45 Reboot Your Router Like the FBI Says 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 3458
Date add : 05/31/2018

The hackers are using VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers, the FBI said. "VPNFilter is able to render small office and home office routers inoperable," the FBI warns. "The malware can potentially also collect information passing through the router. Detection and analysis of the malware's network activity is complicated by its use of encryption."

The feds recommends "any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices." They also advise to consider disabling remote management settings on devices, use encryption, upgrade firmware and choose new and different passwords, which is pretty much best practice anyway.

The IC3, formerly known as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center was renamed in October 2003 to include this kind of attack. Their stated mission "is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity and to develop effective alliances with law enforcement and industry partners."

Last week , the FBI sent out a warning: Reboot your router because a dangerous piece of malware, VPNFilter, has compromised hundreds of thousands of them.

If you did that, good. If not, do it now. But if you really want to be rid of the cyberscourge, you'll have to go a little further and reset your device to its factory settings.

VPNfilter is a nasty little bugger that could spy on your internet traffic or even brick your router. But before it can do any of that, it has to load itself up.

The malware comes in three stages. Stage one infects the router and lays the foundation for the funny business. Once established, stage one finds and downloads stage two, which is the real meat of the problem. Stage two is the software engine that can start messing around with and slurping up your data, including browser history, usernames, and passwords. Stage three is the icing on the cake. It comes in various forms that modify the capabilities of the main hacking engine, stage two.

In an announcement on Friday, the FBI recommended rebooting your router. That's smart, but it removes only stages two and three, leaving stage one to call out to its masters and redownload its business end. This isn't oversight on the FBI's part. As the bureau's statement notes (emphasis ours):

The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices.

By rebooting our routers in mass, we are not only forcing the infected ones to identify themselves by calling to their masters for a re-download of stages one and two, but also lighting up the distribution network, which will have to work overdrive to deliver all these packages at once. It's a smart strategy, especially if the FBI can solve the root problem. But in the meantime your router might remain infected, and there is, as of this writing, no good way to check.

Factory Settings

To disinfect your router completely, do a full factory reset. Important: Before you begin, search for and save any instructions you may need to get the router connected again so you have them on hand.

The reset process varies from router to router, but generally involves a button on the back labeled "Reset" or "Factory Reset" that needs to be held down with a paperclip for about ten seconds.

Once your router is fresh and clean, you'll want to change its password and upgrade its firmware if there's an update available. Again, this varies from router to router so look up your specific model, but the general instructions are to:

  1. Connect your computer to your router (with and ethernet cable if possible)
  2. Point your web browser to your router's control panel page (usually by putting the address 192.681.1.1 in the address bar)
  3. Login to the router's control panel using the default username/password (usually some combination of the words 'admin' and 'password')

From there, poke around or refer to your router manufacturer's official instructions.

Source: www.popularmechanics.com/technology/security/a20966735/router-factory-reset-vpnfilter-malware-fbi/

43 Os códigos que permitem saber se o seu celular está sendo espionado 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 7335
Date add : 11/03/2017

Não importa se o seu telefone seja Android ou IOS: se você digitar uma série de códigos especiais na tela, poderá acessar funções secretas, que são comumente usadas por desenvolvedores e testadores. Algumas dessas opções são muito técnicas para serem utilizáveis, mas outras são bem interessantes, permitindo que você conheça uma série de dados ocultos e saiba até mesmo se o seu aparelho está grampeado.cellular-image.jpg

Para acessar essas funções, basta digitar o código no teclado da tela e clicar no botão que faz a chamada. Você visualizará automaticamente as opções.

+#21#

Esse código mostra se as chamadas, dados de terceiros e SMSs do seu celular foram desviados para outro aparelho. Quem quer ver essas informações? Qualquer um que seja excessivamente ciumento (a) para espionar tudo que você faz.

+#62#

Esse código faz a mesma coisa que o primeiro, mas também mostra para qual número as chamadas foram desviadas. Em geral, todos os celulares têm ao menos uma chamada desviada para nossa companhia telefônica, em casos em que não há cobertura da área. É aquele famoso 'o número que você discou não está disponível'; é o que acontece quando seu aparelho não tem cobertura para receber a chamada, então não entre em pânico.

##002#

Esse é o código universal para desativar todos os encaminhamentos de chamadas, mensagens e dados. O propósito mais útil para essa função é quando estamos em outro país e começamos a usar as taxas de roaming. Quando utilizado, esse código evita que sejamos cobrados por chamadas que caem na caixa postal.

*#*#197328640#*#* (Android)

Esse código é extremamente interessante. Ele abrirá uma tela chamada Field Test, uma ferramenta que mostra informação técnica detalhada sobre as antenas às quais o celular está conectado no momento.

Com essa informação, você pode saber se alguém está tentando rastrear seu celular. Para tanto, é preciso baixar o aplicativo Netmonitor. 

Primeiro, vá até a sessão UMTS Cell Environment, entrando depois em UMTS info. Feito isso, copie todos os números que aparecem na sessão Cell ID. Esses dados pertencem às antenas as quais nosso celular está conectado.

O segundo passo consiste em ir ao menu principal, pressionar a guia MM info e Serving PLMN. Localize os números que estão em Local Area Code e copie-os.

Em seguida, entre no site OpenCellID e cole os dados para encontrar um mapa das antenas às quais seu celular está conectadoSe os códigos se referem a antenas fixas, não tem problema. Mas se a antena estiver localizada na rua, em uma van, por exemplo, pode se tratar de alguém praticando espionagem.

É claro que também pode ser um veículo utilizado pela companhia telefônica para melhorar a cobertura. Isso acontece quando há alguma transmissão de futebol ou de festivais de música, e com esta grande concentração de pessoas, existe um pico de acessos.

Fonte: http://www.brazilianpress.com

29 Usar o serviço de assistente de voz da Apple no idioma 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 8209
Date add : 05/26/2015

Para conseguir usar o serviço de assistente de voz da Apple no idioma, é necessário atualizar o sistema para o iOS 8.3 (disponível a partir do iPhone 4S, no iPad a partir da terceira geração e no iPod touch a partir da 5ª geração).

 

Se você tem alguma dúvida sobre tecnologia, envie um e-mail para info@zbynet.com , que ela pode ser respondida.

 

A opção de idioma em português não aparece para o usuário porque provavelmente ele ainda não atualizou o sistema operacional de seu smartphone. 

O processo pode ser feito por meio do próprio aparelho e exige uma conexão de internet. Recomenda-se que ele seja feito com o celular conectado ao carregador, já que a bateria pode acabar durante o processo.

Siga os passos abaixo para atualizar o sistema operacional do iPhone:


Como atualizar o sistema operacional do iPhone

  • Reprodução
    1.
    Acesse os ajustes do iPhone (ícone de engrenagem). Clique em "Geral" e depois escolha a opção "Atualização de Software". Foto: Reprodução
  • Reprodução
    2.
    O sistema irá buscar por atualizações automaticamente. Assim que o sistema iOS 8.3 aparecer, clique em "Transferir e Instalar". Foto: Reprodução
  • Reprodução
    3.
    O dispositivo irá exibir os termos e condições do download, para prosseguir clique na opção "Concordar". Assim que a instalação acabar, o dispositivo será reiniciado. Foto: Reprodução
26 Keeping up with Technology in Modern Times 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 4521
Date add : 02/17/2015
Keeping up with Technology in Modern Times  
  
Technology is the language of the generation we are living in, and keeping up with it is greatly beneficial. Technology, today, is known to simplify lifestyles and even if you are not a tech aficionado, staying up to date with the latest in technology not only works wonders to your personal way of life, but also to your business practices.  
  
The Significance of Technology in the Modern World  
   
On the personal front, technology can help shape lives by making the world a smaller place to live in. Manual day to day tasks, which once seemed like a cakewalk, are today unimaginable without the intervention of technology. From the simple task of making a phone call to staying entertained on the go with a high quality internet connection on your mobile phone, technology touches lives in a number of ways. 
  
In the business sector, technology helps process everything faster and more efficiently than the age old method of human labor. It also helps reduce the error in the human method of working. From phone systems to computers to high speed internet, it has helped in making the workplace smoother, tidier and much more efficient. It has also helped in keeping an organization's workforce controlled, secured and under check. Business growth and success is largely dependent on keeping up with the latest technological developments to reduce the work load and boost efficiency. 
  
Maximizing Workplace Efficiency with Technology  
   
A good understanding of modern technology can aid in making the right decisions for business investment. Technological developments can easily be introduced into the business arena to enhance an organization's efficiency, thus driving up profits. Infusing a culture of technology in the work environment will not only help you in faster processing but will also keep you ahead of your competitors. 
  
Listed below are a few simple techniques to help you build a technology integration strategy to maximize workplace efficiency.  
  
Determine your Requirements  
  
This first step to creating a strategy for technological integration is understanding your technical needs. Take a closer and detailed look at your assets, your strengths, your weaknesses and areas where there is potential for growth. Once you've weighed what you have against what you wish to have, it is easier to determine your requirements. 

tech-2.jpg  

  
Be Technologically Aware  
   
Knowledge of what is happening in the technological world will help you stay updated with what's old, what's new and what will help you take your business forward. Read technical journals, magazines and books, and browse the online world to keep yourself up to date. 
  
Keep Upgrading  
   
Whether it is a new software, or a software update, or whether it is a major upgrade to a completely new system; if it promises to and has proven to maximize workplace efficiency, do not delay the upgrade. 
  
Make Technology a Culture  
   
While you take the time out to make technology a part of your organization's lifeblood, pass on the same spirit to your employees. Encourage them to stay up to date with technology, hold workshops to train them to use newer technologies with greater efficiency and allow them to share their inputs on these latest insights. 
  
Technology simplifies modern living. While it may take you a short span of time to integrate it in your life or business, the benefits of doing so are long-lasting.
3 Optimize you PC with right software 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 19184
Date add : 11/22/2013
How to Optimize Your Windows PC for Free
By Alex Wawro, PCWorld
  • Oct 22, 2011

Here are a few practical tips for improving your computer's performance by using stock Windows utilities and a few programs you can download for free. Though the associated articles assume that you're running the latest version of Windows 7, many of them work just as well on older copies of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and even Windows XP.

None of the optimization tips and tricks in this guide cost anything, so feel free to run them as often as you'd like to ensure that your computer runs lean and mean for as long as possible.

Of course the first step in optimizing your PC's performance is to figure out which programs are running and how heavily they're taxing your hardware at any given moment. Thankfully, Windows 7 comes with a slew of free utilities that you can use to pinpoint performance bottlenecks and uncover weak points like outdated driver software or missing Windows security patches. Uninstall unwanted programs and download the latest versions of your device drivers from the manufacturer's website to ensure that your hardware will deliver peak performance.

Use free tools like Task Manager to monitor your PC.

You should also keep an eye on your Windows Resource Monitor to confirm that your PC is running only the programs you need. You can temporarily shut down unwanted programs by using the free Windows Task Manager, but consult our detailed guide on how to use Task Manager to avoid accidentally shutting down system-critical programs.

It's always a good idea to delete unwanted programs to maximize space, but many useful programs that you rarely use automatically start system-hogging processes, potentially bogging down your PC's performance.

To minimize this problem, take advantage of free Windows utilities like MSConfig to disable Windows startup programs that you don't use every day.

Last, keep track of how efficiently your PC sends and receives data online. With the advent of broadband data caps, monitoring the amount of bandwidth your PC uses is more important than ever.
 
You can find lots of great free utilities to help you stay on top of how much data you're exchanging, and we explain how to monitor your bandwidth using one of our favorites tools, BitMeter OS.
 
BitMeter OS runs silently in the background while you surf the Web, gathering detailed records on how much information you upload and download, without paying attention to the content. Use it alongside the other free utilities mentioned here to wrangle peak performance from your PC.

Source: PCWorld
4 Keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel 17
Computer/Internet Services
Views : 10273
Date add : 11/22/2013

Keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel
Alex Cocilova @TheBrowncoat88

Nov 18, 2013 3:30 AM
Alex Cocilova Assistant Editor, PCWorld

Alex covers desktops, everything from fancy to practical. He's also an avid (addicted) gamer and loves following the industry.
More by Alex Cocilova

Of course your laptop is coming with you on any holiday trips. It's your pride and joy-for many of us, it's practically an appendage. It's our entertainment at the airport and on the plane. It's our office umbilical cord-because you know you can never completely escape work.

Unlike an arm or leg, though, your laptop isn't physically attached to your body. And there are all too many ways that it can come to harm-or even disappear with someone who covets it as much as you do. Follow these tips for laptop security, and you won't have to ask Santa to bring you a new one. Keep it padded
Tossing a laptop into the average backpack, book bag-or worse, simply carrying it under your arm-is asking for trouble. Your delicate hardware needs a purpose-built enclosure to keep it safe. Find a nice, cushioned bag without obvious laptop markings and logos.

Traveling is full of shoving bags into tight spots, jostling them about, and stuffing in just one more thing. Push a little too hard, and you may hear an investment-shattering crack. Get a laptop-specific carrying case with plenty of padding and protection. Separate compartments for accessories and power cables are a luxury that can keep your PC scratch and dent free.

To deter theft, buy a nondescript bag, without logos that advertise to potential thieves that there's valuable merchandise inside. Turn it off
It's tough to pack a powerful computer into a tiny enclosure, and then keep its critical components running nice and cool. That's what the numerous vents and fans that suck cool air in and push hot air are for. Now imagine the heat that can accumulate in the secure, padded, tight quarters of a fancy new laptop bag.

Don't make the mistake of cramming a sleeping computer into the confines of a backpack or messenger bag. Hibernating is not the same as being powered off. Heat is a computer's enemy number one. It can shorten your computer's useful life, loosen components in the motherboard, or entirely destroy it. Block the computer's vents for long stretches, and you could unpack a fried PC at the end of your trip. Be safe and power down that laptop before you stow it.

If you do discover your laptop's temperature to be on the rise, here are some suggestions for cooling it down. Keep an eye on it, but keep it out of sight
Laptops are hot-ticket items for thieves. Keep yours on your lap or within view while you're at the airport, bus, or train terminal. Don't leave it an open target by setting it on an adjacent seat and then becoming distracted by your phone or your kids. If it disappears, don't expect it to show up at the lost and found.

When traveling by car, keep your laptop hidden. Leaving it exposed on the passenger seat, even when getting out to pump gas, could be the perfect opportunity for a sticky-fingered individual to reach in and scoop up the loot. Keep it in the trunk, under the seat, or cover it with a jacket. And keep your car locked at all times. LoJack can increase your chances of recovering a stolen laptop.

If, in spite of your best efforts, your laptop still winds up missing, you might be able to recover it-provided you installed a program such as LoJack before you hit the road. You'll find some other good recovery tips here. Back it up and lock it down
What could be worse than losing your laptop? Losing the information you have stored on it. Follow a backup regimen, keeping a copy of your important data on a hard drive at the home or office or in the cloud, so you can pick up where you left off as soon as you can afford to replace the missing PC.

And what could be worse than losing the information stored on your laptop? Knowing some unsavory person has access to it. What's on your laptop? Contact information for friends, family, and colleagues? Personal photos? Banking and tax records? Sensitive information about your business? Perhaps there's enough personal information and photos to let someone steal your identity. Protect yourself by locking it all down with a strong password and encryption.

Store any written-down passwords and sensitive data away from the laptop itself. It doesn't do much good if the thief manages to snag the laptop and any information necessary to access what's stored on it. Remember, you're in public
When wandering between public Wi-Fi networks, it's easy to pick up hitchhikers in the form of viruses, malware, and data snoops.

Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus and antispyware software installed and running in the background. Keep your firewall up to block unsolicited connections to your PC. When connected to an unfamiliar network, it's sometimes best to be paranoid and treat everything like the enemy. Be sure your connection is secure before giving up sensitive data.

Going online for some last-minute holiday shopping or to check your bank account while you're on the road might seem like a good idea, but uploading personal information to the Internet while using public Wi-Fi is asking for trouble. If possible, wait until you're on a secured network to do the sensitive stuff.

If you must perform an online transaction, be sure the web address begins with "https" and that there's a locked padlock icon in the corner of the browser window or in the address bar itself, indicating you're connected to a secure site. Know what you have Finally, record your PC's precise specifications, including the make, model, and serial or service number. Having this information on hand is crucial for reporting a lost or stolen laptop-and perhaps recovering it. This service tag on the bottom of an HP laptop contains all the vital information you might need, including its serial number.

Check the bottom of the laptop for a service tag with barcodes on it. Write all this information down. Better yet, take a picture to keep on your phone. Be sure to note any distinguishing features as well. Stickers, scratches, dents, or additional physical features will help prove you're the rightful owner.

You're going to be harried enough dealing with travel and family during the holidays. Follow these tips, and your laptop should accompany you safely and securely, no matter where you're headed.

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