Tech Secrets: 21 Things 'They' Don’T Want You to Know
Yes, the truth is out there. But they don't want you to know about it.
Tue, March 30, 2010
The news isn't all bad, he adds. "Most manufacturers in the consumer arena have gotten the message to get additive BFRs out of their products."
As for older products still in people's homes? "They probably need to be replaced anyway, right?" Kirschner jokes.
Antivirus Software Won't Protect You
Security programs won't really protect you from the Internet's worst nasties. "Antivirus software only catches the low-hanging fruit," says Mark Kadritch, CEO of The Security Consortium and author of Endpoint Security. The increasing number of zero-day vulnerabilities--coupled with some vendors' failure to fix security holes in their products for months or even years--means that even the most up-to-date antimalware products may still be behind the curve when it counts, he says.
The Fix: You can't do without security software (see our Security Info Center for reviews of the latest security packages, plus how-tos and news), but to protect yourself more effectively you need to take extra steps such as saving your data to encrypted drives and installing VMware (VMW) or other software that lets you create virtual machines and discard them as they become infected.
"At the end of the day, if you suspect your system has been compromised, blow it away and click 'restore' in VMware," Kadritch says. "You may lose some e-mail, but you'll get a brand-new system with the latest, greatest updates."
Your Cell Phone Is a Homing Beacon
We'll bet that you never leave home without your handset. Well, guess what: Wherever you roam, you can be found. You don't even need a GPS chip in your phone--your using cell towers allows your provider to triangulate your position within a few hundred yards.
"Wherever you carry your phone, the government can go to your wireless provider and use those records to figure out where you are," says the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jennifer Granick.
Of course, this information could save your life; cell phone tracking has assisted in locating kidnap victims and people stranded in the wilderness. But law enforcement has also used the technology to track people without probable cause. Documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the ACLU, the EFF, and the Center for Democracy and Technology reveal that the state of New Jersey obtained cell phone subscriber information 79 times between 2002 and 2008 without seeking a warrant.
Giving law enforcement free rein opens up broad opportunities for information gathering on people who aren't even necessarily persons of interest in an investigation, says Granick.