Many have recently noticed the new “OK, Google” feature being offered when they use Google.  This new feature lets you use your voice on the Google app or Chrome to do things like search, create reminders, get directions, access contacts and much more.

Explained in today’s article in The Guardian, written by Samuel Gibbs, this feature installs software capable of listening in and recording of conversations held in front of the computer and handheld device.

“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room,” said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder, in a blog post. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by … an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions… The default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out, and more importantly, know that you need to opt out, which is nowhere a reasonable requirement.”

It isn't just your browser tracking your online activity...

Your computer's hardware may be tracking since the day you bought it.

"Lenovo was inserting spyware...in its PCs. This software could track customers’ every online move, intercept secure web sessions and render their computers vulnerable to hackers." 

Lenovo and Superfish Penetrate the Heart of a Computer’s Security

By Nicole Perlroth

02/22/15

"The Chinese computer-making giant Lenovo was inserting spyware — its defenders would call it adware — in its PCs. This software could track customers’ every online move, intercept secure web sessions and render their computers vulnerable to hackers.

The company buried its software in the lowest level of a PC’s operating system, precisely where customers and antivirus products would never detect it, and had been siphoning data back to servers belonging to Superfish, an Israeli software company headquartered in Silicon Valley that markets itself as a visual search company...."

more..

 

Fall cleaning time!... and, no, we are not talking about closets. Look at your Desktop screen (both Mac and PC users)... does it look like a patchwork of documents scattered about? Do you cringe every time you need to find a file? Actually, having your documents and files saved directly to the Desktop instead of the Documents folder is more than a visual issue. The operating system does not con...sider the Desktop as the same type of ‘entity’ as your Documents folder and resources (which affects overall speed) will not be used efficiently. If you do not have time to sort your files right away you could create a folder within your Documents folder named “Desktop clean up” then MOVE all of the documents to that folder. Then create a ‘shortcut’ (Mac users call it an ‘alias’) of the “Desktop clean up” folder to keep on the actual Desktop.

"Samsung's warning: Our Smart TVs record your living room chatter"... or what ever room it is in!

"Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

http://www.cnet.com/news/samsungs-warning-our-smart-tvs-record-your-living-room-chatter/

Technically Incorrect: Samsung's small print says that its Smart TV's voice recognition system will not only capture your private conversations, but also pass them onto third parties.

by  Chris Matyszczyk  - February 8, 2015 2:10 PM PST

more:

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tech/2015/02/09/samsung-eavesdropping-tv.hln

 

Everyone is concerned (and frustrated) with passwords... there is not a simple solution! Remember, if a password is short and easy to remember it is NOT a safe password! Length, at least 12 characters, is critical. Make your password a sentence so it will be easier for you to remember but still difficult for a hacker to crack. Mix up the password with upper and lower case letters, numerals and punctuation. Here is an example: Ilovemy2dogs!