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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DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

A reader shared her computer disaster and we want to pass on the warning. Her iPhone broke and she spent five hours at the Apple store before the guys at the “Genius Bar” (they really do have a “genius bar”) suggested she get a new one. Fortunately, she’d copied her contacts and appointments from her phone onto her Windows PC. Unfortunately, during backup, she didn’t notice a small box that was already checked and automatically encrypted the contents. Later, she didn’t remember the password to undo the encryption. “Keep trying to think of the password,” said the guys at genius bar. (Don’t think we need a genius for that advice.) Frustrated, she tried the $29 “iPhone Backup Extractor,” from Download.com, […]

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A READER QUESTION

A reader wrote to tell us he loves Microsoft’s free anti-virus software, “Microsoft Security Essentials,” and has been using it for years. But it doesn’t come on his daughter-in-law’s Windows 8 machine; Windows 8 comes with “Microsoft Defender,” which is only part of Security Essentials. So we recommended switching to Avast, which is free from Avast.com.

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UNLIST MY INFO

Unlistmy.info shows you how to remove your personal data from people finder websites, such as BeenVerified.com and Pipl.com.

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CAT’S PAW TRACK

There’s a new version of “PawTrack,” for monitoring your kitty. It’s a GPS collar that keeps tabs on tabby. The collar is $125 and the service is $10 a month. It lets you know when your furry purry returns home, when it sleeps and where it goes when it roams the neighborhood. The new version is due in November.

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BABY CAM

We’ve looked at a lot of security cameras, but the $129 “Baby Cam” from TRENDnet.com is the simplest we’ve seen:

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SECOND-HAND PHONES STILL HAVE STUFF

More than 80,000 used phones are for sale on eBay on any given day. The owners think they’ve wiped their personal data first. It turns out, they haven’t.

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AVOIDING HACKERS

Next time we travel or use our computers outside the home, we’re going to use Avast’s “SecureLine” to connect to the Internet. That way, even if we’re using the notoriously dangerous public Wi-Fi in an airport, no hacker can see us.

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Medical Justice