Category Archives: Software

Happy Data Privacy Day

Today is Data Privacy Day. Start your celebration with Unqualified Offerings:

Snowden’s revelations must be especially hard on the psychiatric profession. If one patient dismisses the idea that the government is spying on him, and the other is convinced that the government is working with major electronics manufacturers to put listening devices in his personal belongings, which one do you diagnose as being unable to distinguish reality from fantasy?

At a University committee meeting recently, I suggested the University should provide us all with encryption so we can protect our data on our computers, and in transit, as it was at risk of interception. The ranking University official at the meeting smiled dismissively and said something along the lines of ‘Well, if you are worrying about that…”. I said, “but it’s national policy – the President announced it.” He stopped smiling.

Posted in Cryptography, Software, Surveillance | Leave a comment

Browser Extension Spyware

Only a matter of time: Warning: Your Browser Extensions Are Spying On You.

Bonus: Adware Vendors Buy and Abuse Chrome Extensions

Double bonus: Chrome Protector Notifies You If You’re Running an Adware Extension

Posted in Software | 1 Comment

What is Scorecardresearch Doing Here?

Excess of Democracy blog has a post about trackers on lawprof blogs. Coincidentally, I spent a couple of hours today trying to figure out why it is that gtmerix reports that has this redirect, which both slows the site and amounts to a tracker on users:

I certainly didn’t put any of that in here on purpose. I have grepped all the code for this site and the words “scorecardresearch” and “specificclick” don’t appear anywhere in it. That means either something is inserting the code, or it is obfuscated in some way.

I can imagine three possibilities: (1) a plugin has some javascript; (2) something in the right margin; (3) a malicious code injection.

I tried disabling several of the plugins (but not all as some are essential), but nothing changed. I tried removing a couple of the most likely suspects from the right margin, but that wasn’t it. I don’t know how to look for the code injection.

Any thoughts on how best to track this down?

Posted in, Software | 5 Comments

A Word to the Wise: Quicken and Dropbox Don’t Mix

It’s not just the security issue (only somewhat ameliorated if you password protect the file), but a fundamental incompatibility that can scramble your files — apparently at any time, and without warning.

Warning signs include “Quicken cannot open the data file because it is in use by some other application” and various other error messages when you try to backup your Quicken file.

Posted in Software | 8 Comments

Odd Marketing

scroogled-mug-microsoft-270x167Can’t say I at all get the anti-Google marketing campaign by Microsoft running under the “Scroogled” monicker. But I do like this mug.

(Spotted via snarky story at the Inquirer.)

Posted in Software | 4 Comments

Handy Form to See if You are Victim of Adobe Password Hack

From Lastpass. Pass it on.

Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Software | Leave a comment

Android Phone Backup Considered Dangerous

Michael Horowitz, Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world | Computerworld Blogs.

Oh, joy. See, if Google knows your wifi passwords (and all the other app passwords it backs up) then it can be compelled to tell them by officials bearing the right paperwork.

Android devices have defaulted to coughing up Wi-Fi passwords since version 2.2. And, since the feature is presented as a good thing, most people wouldn’t change it. I suspect that many Android users have never even seen the configuration option controlling this. After all, there are dozens and dozens of system settings to configure.

And, anyone who does run across the setting can not hope to understand the privacy implication. I certainly did not.


  • In Android 2.3.4, go to Settings, then Privacy. On an HTC device, the option that gives Google your Wi-Fi password is “Back up my settings”. On a Samsung device, the option is called “Back up my data”. The only description is “Back up current settings and application data”. No mention is made of Wi-Fi passwords.
  • In Android 4.2, go to Settings, then “Backup and reset”. The option is called “Back up my data”. The description says “Back up application data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings to Google servers”.

The good news is that if you turn it off, Google says they erase all of the data.

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