Unihertz Atom Review: The Million Dollar Tiny Rugged Phone

In the June 19, 2018 edition of this blog, I wrote about a new, tiny cell phone that was expected to ship within a few weeks. My description of the World`s Smallest 4G Rugged Smartphone is still available at: https://privacyblog.com/2018/06/19/atom-worlds-smallest-4g-rugged-smartphone/.

The tiny cell phone is now shipping and is immediately available to anyone. It’s tiny size of 97 x 45 x 18 mm (3.8 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches) makes it attractive for many applications. The phone also is “ruggedized” for use outdoors and in harsh environments.

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Helm Wants You to Control Your Own Data Again

A new start-up company wants you to host your own (encrypted) email messages, pictures, videos, and more where everything is under your control, not something provided by a privacy-stealing corporation.

Do you use the Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail email services? If so, a large corporation can access your private messages for any reason at all. Or for no reason at all. The same is true for your photos, videos, contacts list, and calendar.

Your most critical data (like emails, search history, passwords, photos, and videos) is stored on massive corporate servers outside your home. Increasingly, this leaves you vulnerable to hacks, companies profiting from your data and online behavior, and mass government surveillance.

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Facebook Draws Harsh Criticism For Home Video Camera, also known as “the Spy in Your Living Room”

Yes, this is another article about Facebook’s many security and privacy problems. I guess I should be thankful for Facebook’s existence. Without Facebook, there wouldn’t be much to write about in this Privacy Blog.

Facebook released its answer to the Amazon Echo this week — the Portal home device. And, predictably, the company’s announcement was met with almost universal outrage. Running through most of the responses was a common thread: why would anyone want to give Facebook access to their home when the platform is currently plagued by privacy scandals? Indeed, the company’s privacy scandals have made us wary of all of its connected devices.

According to Jake Kastrenakes, editor of Circuit Breaker at https://www.theverge.co:

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Google’s Titan Security Keys are Now Shipping

In an article earlier this year, Security Keys have been Good to Google, So Now the Company wants to Sell them to You, available at https://tinyurl.com/yahrjxek, I pointed out that “Google’s workforce hasn’t suffered a single confirmed account takeover in over a year. The impressive security stat is due to small USB security keys issued to all 85,000 of the company’s employees.” That’s impressive for a high profile company that is known to attract hundreds, possibly thousands, of would-be hackers who try to break through Google’s security every year.

One of Google’s tools to keep hackers from breaking into employees’ computers and cell phones is a device invented by Google called the Titan Security Key. I also stated it “…is coming soon to the Google Store for consumer Google accounts.” Now that day has arrived.

This morning, Google announced that the Titan Security Keys are now shipping to anyone who wants to purchase these devices. In fact, Google sends two Titan Security Keys, not one. One has a USB connector on it and plugs into any Windows or Macintosh computer, or into most any Linux computer, to offer security. The second Key in the box uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and tablet computers.

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Chromebook: Probably the Most Secure Computer You Can Buy and It Only Costs $140 and Up

Chromebook computers have become very popular for many reasons. The most obvious reason is because they are cheap. You can purchase a Chromebook for $140 from Amazon at https://amzn.to/2K57U6j. I have occasionally seen even lower prices during various sales. Admittedly, that is the price for a bottom-of-the-line barebones Chromebook but it will still perform most all of the functions that 90% of the computer users need. Many would-be Chromebook users will decide they want more memory or a better display screen or a better keyboard or perhaps all three. Even so, most Chromebooks sell for $200 to $400. You can even find a very few higher-priced Chromebooks but the high-priced systems appeal more to business users, not to individuals with modest computing needs and modest pocketbooks. Even the lowest-price Chromebook will run most of the apps that run on high-priced Chromebooks.

Nearly three out of every five machines used in schools run the Chrome operating system, according to researcher Futuresource Consulting at http://bit.ly/2LWHpS5.

A Chromebook is also super easy to use, making it very appealing for adolescents, teenagers, and adults who are not yet computer-literate, including your mom. Not only are Chromebook computers successful in schools but anecdotal reports I have heard indicate that they are undoubtedly the best computer for non-computer-literate senior citizens. In short, a Chromebook is probably the best computer for anyone with modest computing needs who is looking for a reasonably-priced computer. It is not a business-laptop replacement.

Many expert and non-expert users alike appreciate the facts that Chromebooks never get viruses, boot up in ten seconds or less, have very long battery lives on a single charge, and are easily carried in a backpack or other carrying case. (Most Chromebooks weigh less than three pounds.)

Even computer gurus frequently purchase Chromebooks for use as low-cost computers to be used mostly when traveling for checking email, Facebook, and other tasks that don’t require powerful computing capabilities. Do you really need an expensive (and easily stolen) laptop simply to check email from a coffee shop?

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Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD: a Secure, Hardware-encrypted, Solid-State Drive that Fits in a Pocket

Do you have information that you want to keep private? It might be something you want to hide from business competitors, your boss, your spouse, your children, or from a girlfriend or boyfriend. For small amounts of information up to 200 gigabytes or so, an encrypted flash drive is probably the most convenient method of storing secrets. You can purchase pre-encrypted flash drives or else encrypt any normal flash drive by using any of a number of encryption products.

But how do you encrypt a lot of information, such as one to perhaps twelve terabytes of data?

I suppose you could purchase a bunch of flash drives, encrypt each one, then break up your data into smaller pieces and store each piece in a separate flash drive. That would be effective but awkward. Instead, you might prefer to purchase an Apricorn Aegis Padlock external disk drive.

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Security Keys have been Good to Google, So Now the Company wants to Sell them to You

Google’s workforce hasn’t suffered a single confirmed account takeover in over a year. The impressive security stat is due to small USB security keys issued to all 85,000 of the company’s employees. Companies that produce these small pieces of hardware, like Yubico, have seen tremendous growth over the last two years thanks to rapidly accelerating adoption — but they will now have fresh competition.

The Titan Security Key can be purchased by Google Cloud customers now and is aimed at admins and other high-value users. However, it is “coming soon” to the Google Store for consumer Google accounts.

Details may be found at https://9to5google.com/2018/07/25/google-2fa-titan-security-key/.