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Here’s How To Stay Secure While Using Free Wi-Fi In Public

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Raise your hand if you’ve connected to a free Wi-Fi network while you’re out.

Yes, we’ve all done it. But what most people don’t realize is that when you connect to that free Wi-Fi, you are hopping onto an open network, which leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers who can intercept your potentially sensitive information with a few clicks of their keyboard.

That’s right. When you fire up your laptop at Starbucks and log into Gmail, there’s nothing to stop a nefarious person who’s nearby from using some simple software to get your password. But that’s not even the worst of it. If you purchase something on the Internet while on public Wi-Fi, someone could steal your credit card info!

In fact, this happened to my girlfriend just last week, despite my constant warnings to her about just this thing. Lucky for her, her credit card company noticed some suspicious activity on her account and contacted her to verify these transactions. Turns out, she had ordered some shoes from Nordstrom’s website while sipping on an Iced Caffe Mocha at Starbucks a few weeks ago, and someone snagged her CC#.

So how do you keep yourself safe when using public Wi-Fi?

If you absolutely must connect to Wi-Fi, consider these security tips to keep prying eyes out of your devices:

  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop online, log in to your financial institution, or access other sensitive sites.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to create a network-within-a-network, which keeps all of your data encrypted. There’s a comprehensive explanation on how VPNs work here.
  • Only visit websites with HTTPS encryption when you’re in public places.
  • Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your phone so it won’t seek out hotspots.
  • Buy an unlimited data plan for your device and stop using public Wi-Fi altogether.

Hopefully these tips will help you guys stay safe out there when you’re surfing on a free Wi-Fi network. If you have any other questions, please leave me a comment below.

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Windows 10 Can Disable Pirated Games and Illegal Hardware

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Windows 10

If you’ve got any pirated (Microsoft) games on your computer, you might want to think twice before upgrading to Windows 10.. You see, according to the recently updated Microsoft Services Agreement, they can now disable pirated games and unauthorized hardware peripheral devices from your computer.

Section 7b of the Windows 10 services agreement, which all Windows users must agree to in order to use the operating system, states:

“We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”

There’ve been conflicting reports about whether or not this applies to other third party games and apps that you might have installed on your computer (eg. Adobe Photoshop), but PC Gamer reports that this should only apply to Xbox and Windows Games published by Microsoft. And with Microsoft’s recent announcement about Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Halo Wars 2 coming to Windows 10, it would make perfect sense for them to protect their games from being pirated in this fashion.

As for that whole “unauthorized hardware peripheral devices” bit, that’s a little fuzzier. Does this mean that Microsoft can now block uncertified PC or illegally-modified Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers? For now, we’ll just have to wait and see..

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What’s The Deal With This “Get Windows 10” Icon In My System Tray?

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Windows 10 System Tray Icon

A few days ago, a little “Get Windows 10” icon magically appeared in my system tray, asking me to “reserve an upgrade for Windows 10”. Now, if you’ve been following the news about Windows 10, you know that it is being offered as a FREE upgrade for current Windows 7/8 users when it’s released on July 29th. So what’s the deal with this whole reservation system?

Apparently, Microsoft is offering the registration process so that Windows 10 can be downloaded to your PC ahead of the July 29th launch. Why is this beneficial? Well, because half the planet will be trying to download it (all 3GB of it) when it’s released, and you know it’s going to be a total shit show, with servers going down or running at painfully slow speeds. (If you’ve ever tried to activate a new iPhone on launch day, then you know exactly what I’m talking about..)

Now I’m probably one of the few people who actually like Windows 8.1, but everyone I’ve talked to who has played with the Windows 10 preview had nothing but great things to say about it. It runs faster, brings back the Start menu, includes a new browser, and the inclusion of Cortana.

I’ll probably still wait a few days before installing it to see what kind of issues other users are facing (because you know there are bound to be some bugs), but overall I’m pretty excite about the prospect of Windows 10.

Are you planning on upgrading to Windows 10?

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Keep Your PC Safe With Bitdefender Total Security 2013

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bitdefender for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Bitdefender

There's a reason that  Bitdefender Total Security is ranked #1 in Antivirus software, earning CNET's Editor's Choice and PCMag's Editor's Choice. Bitdefender takes your privacy and security to new levels. 

Bitdefender’s line of 2013 security solutions provide user-friendly state-of-the-art, proactive protection from e-threats, such as viruses, spyware, hackers, spam, and phishing attacks. They also offer more advanced safeguards and rich features, including parental controls, online backup, social networking protection, and more.

I usd to take security lightly. But recently, a nasty piece of malware took hold of my computer, and while it wasn't overly malicious (it kept redirecting me to other sites), it took FOREVER to get rid of this thread. From that point forward, I decided to take the offensive and keep myself safe.

Bitdefender Total Security had everything I was looking for, and then some!  Just look at some of these great features:

  • BitDefender Safepay: How will this help you feel secure in your online purchases?
  • BitDefender Autopilot: BitDefender operates on its own, without a pop up every 5 minutes. Enjoy your computer experience without constant interruptions
  • Bitdefender Anti-Theft: BitDefender protects you from more than just online threats; it can track lost or stolen devices!
  • Social Network Protection: Filters the links you receive from your Facebook and Twitter friends and monitors your privacy settings. (My favorite feature, since my wife clicks on anything her friends post on FB without a second thought(
  • Parental Control Options: BitDefender allows you to block inappropriate content, restrict Web access between certain hours, and it helps you remotely monitor your children's online activity – even on Facebook!

It's sad to say, but the Internet is like a mine field, and all it takes is you landing on one bad site to get your computer (or mobile device!) infected. That's why it's important to stay protected, and Bitdefender is the obvious choice for me.

You can purchase Bitdefender from http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/total-security.html

** But wait, there's more! How'd  you like to win a Dell Inspiron laptop loaded with BitDefender Total Security? Click here to learn how you can enter the contest.

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