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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IPHONE RANSOMS DOWN UNDER

“Send me $100 by PayPal if you want to use your phone.” That was the threat some Australian iPhone users saw on their locked screens, reports Digital Trends, an online newsletter.

It happened so far away that why should we care about it here? Well the answer to that is it seems to be the kind of lockdown that could happen anywhere and probably will. By triggering that feature remotely – and so far no one is sure how that was done – the iPhone owner is effectively locked out. Some users were locked out of other Apple devices as well, including iPads and Macs.

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XP EXPIRATION DATE

We’re still getting letters from readers about Microsoft dropping support for Windows XP. As we’ve said, Bob’s computer is Win XP and he isn’t worried. With a good anti-virus and anti-spyware program, you’re fine. Around 95% of all automatic teller machines and 25 percent of all computers still use Windows XP, so this operating system is not going away for a long time.

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THE NUMBERS REPORT: IDENTITY THEFT

Microsoft surveyed over 10,000 people ages 18 and up from all over the world and this is what they found out: — Only 36 percent of respondents limit the amount of personal information they put on the web. — Only 37 percent look for ways to prevent identity theft. — Fifteen percent of respondents say they or someone they know was a victim of identity theft.

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SELF-DESTRUCTING MESSAGES

Blink, for Android phones, allows users to send each other self-destructing messages – you know: like the old Mission Impossible shows — including text, photos, videos and voice messages. Around 51 percent of users are in the U.S. The next largest group (over 15 percent) is in Saudi Arabia.

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