Bose Headphones Secretly Collected User Data

My headphones did what?

The audio maker Bose, whose wireless headphones sell for up to $350, uses an app to collect the listening habits of its customers and provide that information to third parties—all without the knowledge and permission of the users, according to a lawsuit filed in Chicago on Tuesday.

The complaint accuses Bose of violating the WireTap Act and a variety of state privacy laws, adding that a person’s audio history can include a window into a person’s life and views.

Details, and a video, are available in an article by Jeff John Roberts in the Fortune web site at: http://fortune.com/2017/04/19/bose-headphones-privacy/.

Is the Chromebook the Most Private and Secure Computer Available Today?

I must admit that I love my Chromebook computer. I am using it more and more every day, including right now as I write this article in Microsoft Word Online. This low-cost ($150 to $500 US) powerhouse does almost everything I ever want to do on a computer. I am also impressed with the privacy and security that the Chromebook provides.

Of all the consumer-grade operating systems available today, most security experts will tell you that Linux is the most secure of all. That is especially true of the more security-focused “distributions” of Linux, such as Tails, Security Enhanced Linux (often called SELinux, developed by the NSA’s Trusted Systems Research Group ), Ubuntu Privacy Remix (UPR), or Whonix. All of these are designed to protect your private information and to keep out spies and hackers.

I am not aware of any published studies comparing the security of Chromebooks versus any version of Linux. However, after using both Chromebooks and Linux for several years, I find that numerous facts lead me to believe that Chromebooks also provide very high privacy and security, possibly even better than Linux. No computer, not even a Chromebook, is 100% secure, but a Chromebook probably is the most secure consumer computer you can buy off the shelf today.

Here are a few facts to consider:

Continue reading

LiteBook – the Impressive $249 to $269 Linux Laptop

Linux has always been known as a more secure operating system than Windows and even more secure than Macintosh. For most installations, Linux also requires less computing power than do either of its two major competing operating systems: Windows and Macintosh. Therefore, it is interesting (to me) that a company called Litebook has released a new Linux laptop that is priced to compete with Chromebooks and other low-cost laptops. The price? $249. If you want to add the one (and only) option available, it may cost you $269. Those prices include a one-year warranty.

Even at those prices, the LiteBook has some impressive specifications.

Continue reading

The Best Laptop for Traveling Is One You Can Afford to Lose

laptop_stolenA few years ago, I had an expensive laptop computer stolen from my locked automobile. The thief apparently used a large screwdriver or some similar object to pop open the trunk of my automobile that was in a parking garage. When I returned to the automobile, the trunk was open, the laptop was gone, and there were some new scratches in the paint near the latch of the trunk.

Not only did the thief get my laptop, he or she alo gained access to a lot of personal information stored in the laptop’s hard drive: bank account information, all my email messages, information about most of my friends, relatives, and business acquaintances, passwords to almost all my personal accounts and the services I used at my employer’s and more. It was a tough lesson.

Continue reading

A Cheap New USB Dongle Can Take Over A PC Even if it is Locked

Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released his latest invention, a tiny USB dongle that, whether plugged into a locked or unlocked PC, installs a set of web-based backdoors that in many cases allow an attacker to gain access to the victim’s online accounts, corporate intranet sites, or even their router.

“In a lot of corporate offices, it’s pretty easy: You walk around, find a computer, plug in PoisonTap for a minute, and then unplug it,” Kamkar says. The computer may be locked, he says, but PoisonTap “is still able to take over network traffic and plant the backdoor.”

Continue reading

The Netgear Nighthawk X4s Router includes a VPN and is Now Available for $200

These won’t last long: NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X4s includes all the networking features you could possibly want, and even some rarely-seen bonuses like an eSATA port and openVPN, and Amazon’s marked it down to an all-time low $200.

netgear-nighthawk-x4

You can find the Netgear Nighthawk X4 at http://goo.gl/GUlVIi for as long as it is available.

ORWL: a Tamper-Proof, Encrypted PC

If you’re paranoid about someone gaining physical access to your computer, the palm-sized ORWL could put your mind at ease. ORWL is billed by its maker Design Shift as the first “physically secure computer” due to the lengths the company has taken to lock down data stored on the device.

The device sports an Intel Skylake Core m3 processor, as well as 8GB RAM, and either 120GB or 480GB SSD. It has two USB 3.0 Type C ports, one Micro HDMI port, and supports 4K output. The system can run Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux systems, Windows 10, or the security-focused Qubes OS.

Continue reading