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ISP data selling, Steaming your laptop (don’t), iOS workflow, Securing your mic

With all the recent concern about ISPs being allowed to sell their customer’s data, it is good to see what you can do and understand what ISPs are currently saying. Some major ISPs, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, have already come out saying they will not sell their own customer’s data (I suspect it is more valuable to them and they can always change those terms.) So you should just test your safety level at https://www.letsgetsafe.org/ part of the https://www.fightforthefuture.org/ project. Also, use EFF’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) HTTPS Everywhere plugin to try to make sure you are using an SSL website version, if they are available, https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere. It is much harder for an ISP to know what you are doing at a site that is using SSL, all they will know is that you went there. Finally, although not a perfect solution, more people are exploring VPNs to carry their Internet traffic beyond the data gathering eyes of their ISP. Besides, a VPN should always be used when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, especially at airports, hotels, and convention centers.

If you want to set up email Encryption in Apple’s Mail application, take a look at this helpful article https://www.macobserver.com/tips/quick-tip/macos-using-email-encryption-apples-mail/

Laptops don’t belong near steam sources, like dishwashers. A tale of caution, many people use their laptops in the kitchen, likely placing them on the counter above the dishwasher. While the dishwasher is running, especially during the during the drying cycle, it will exhaust out a lot of vapor. If a laptop is anywhere near that moisture and its fan(s) are running, that vapor will get pulled in and over time corrode the internals. You might not notice anything wrong until you gently bump that laptop and little internal connections all fall apart.

Safe disposal of data on solid state drives is a little different that with conventional drives. With conventional drives, you could reformat it with software that wrote zeros across all the platters or physically destroy it by drilling holes. For reasons I don’t quite understand, erasing an SSD doesn’t work, but you can encrypt it and then throw away that encryption key. Then nothing is readable. You might need to use a SATA to USB cable to handle a drive that you have pulled from a computer. In Windows, if you don’t have a Pro version, you can download Veracrypt (hosted with codeplex which will be shutting down by the end of this year) https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/ and on a Mac, you would use the Apple provided FileVault. The important trick is to make sure you encrypt the correct drive. Not that it would be bad to encrypt your regular drive anyway.

iOS Workflow is a great productivity tool that is now free after Apple aquired it earlier this year. It can help you automate tasks on an iPhone or iPad and is available through the App Store. With a little bit of work, you could take an image from Photos, convert it, then upload it. More information is at https://workflow.is/

Warning and reminder: Windows Vista is no longer supported by Microsoft and the same is true for nearly all other software makers. Microsoft ended their support on April 11th and so you should figure out how to upgrade for safety sake on the Internet.

Taping over the camera on a computer still leaves the microphone open. In Windows, you can use the Device Manager to disable that internal microphone, located under the section called Audio inputs and outputs. This works fine unless you already have some kind of RAT (Remote Administration Software) maliciously installed.