WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?

After we alerted our readers to scammers pretending to be from Microsoft, we heard about scammers pretending to be from AOL. A reader told us she frequently gets emails saying “out of AOL storage space.” This is a common ploy directed at both AOL and Microsoft Outlook users.

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HACKING THE GARAGE

An ordinary kid’s toy, Mattel’s “I M Me,” can be used to open garage doors in under ten seconds. Hackers aim the toy at your garage and presto, it opens.

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WATCH OUT FOR THE UPDATE AD

Our screen kept nagging us with messages that we needed to update Adobe Flash Player, a program necessary for video playback on the web. But since we knew we already had the latest version , we ignored it.

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GOING DARK

What if Hilary Clinton had used encrypted email instead of a private email service? Could anyone have uncovered her conversations? We don’t know the answer but we have one word for privacy seekers: encryption.

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HACKERS WIN

Hewlett Packard recently sponsored a hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada, to see if anyone could break into “unhackable” programs, web sites and browsers. It may come as no surprise that there were people out there who were fully capable of hacking into the unhackable.

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THE ULTIMATE KEYBOARD

How’s this for perking up your paranoia: 45 percent of employers monitor every keystroke typed by their employees — email, web browsing, chat, sports results, you name it, according to a survey from the American Management Association. That’s nearly half! If only the workers could use an encrypted keyboard.

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GOING PRIVATE

A reader tells us he always starts his Chrome web browser in “private” browsing. This means there is no trace left on your computer of sites you visit or files you download. It’s particularly helpful to use this when you’re on a public computer, like at a library or hotel.

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WE GET SCAMMED

It happened like this: Joy got one of those Roku sticks you plug into your TV set so you can get dozens of extra channels. It didn’t work. Joy said it must be a problem with the Sony TV. So Bob, ever helpful, went on the web and searched on the term “Sony support.” He clicked on the first one that came up and dialed the number for Sony Support. Boy, was that a mistake. The smooth-voiced gent that came on the line advised us that we had a bad virus situation and took control of our computer with one of those remote control programs that let you do that. The screen began to fill with hundreds of error messages […]

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GETTING IN THE DOOR

Joy’s mother once left a note on the door, telling a workman she would be back in half an hour and to come on in. That was enough time for the house to be robbed. An alternative is the “Kwikset Kevo” deadbolt. Type in a code on your iPhone to open the door, and change the code as often as you wish. Hopefully, the people you give the code to have an iPhone, but if they don’t, the lock also comes with a key fob; press it to open the door. You can get as many extra fobs as you want for a small charge. If you use the app instead of the fob, however, stand close to the door. […]

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ONLINE GAME TEACHES YOU TO FIGHT INTERNET ATTACKS

PBS.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/cyber is a game designed to teach people how to fight against Internet attacks. Players pretend to lead a company similar to Facebook that is being targeted by malicious hackers. Learn the basics of programming along the way.

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