After recent operating system upgrades, it’s time to check your smartphone’s privacy settings. On an iPhone, go to Settings, then Privacy; on an Android, if you are running system 11, go to Privacy (but your phone vendor may have modified this location). If you find Permission Manager, you’ll find everything bundled together there. Decide whether apps need your location info and which apps should have camera and microphone access. Also check whether Bluetooth is on all the time and if apps are allowed to refresh in the background.
People with Android phones that are four years old (and older) may have problems with quite a few website secure connection certificates after September 2021. If your phone has Android 7.1.1 or lower, you might want to install and use Firefox web browser instead of the built-in browser. To check your Android version, go to System, then About Phone; or you might find it under Settings, then near the bottom tap on System, Advanced, System Update.
Adobe Flash will be dead by the end of this year. Look for and remove Adobe Flash players. There is also a Microsoft Update that came out at the end of October that should take it off your PC (KB 4577586). Mac users should also uninstall Flash Player. And remember that any website asking you to update your Flash player is likely lying—don’t do it. You can find more general information at get.adobe.com/flashplayer.
There are an increasing number of services offering “dark web scans” to see if your personal and financial information is available on the part of the internet comprised of websites not indexed or found on many search engines. Instead of using these services, you should try to limit the usefulness of that data to someone else if your personal information is leaked. Your best protection is to take basic security steps: use unique passwords and a password manager, learn how to use two-factor authentication, utilize credit freezes, and cancel old credit cards.
Microsoft will soon start force upgrading Windows 10 1903 to Windows 10 1909 to keep computers protected from security threats after this version reaches its end of service next month. Find your version by going to the box down by the Windows icon (lower left corner of the screen), typing “winver” and clicking on the first result. A window labeled “About Windows” will open and list your version number.