How To Stop Your Mobile Phone Tracking You

Your phone is tracking every move you make. If you think that turning off your phone’s location history function gives you the freedom to move anonymously, you’d be mistaken.

Even with that disabled, Google is still checking your location when you use its services, such as Maps and the weather. When you do a web search, Google is always monitoring your location.

Why is it so invasive?

Because it needs that data to provide the personalised services we all love (or hate). It looks as though you can’t have it both ways.

Those lovely people at BullGuard have provided details about how you can shut down smartphone and location tracking.

Here’s what you need to do:

Turning off Android tracking and location history

To turn off this feature on Android follow the steps below:

  • Go to settings.
  • Tap on Google then Google Account
  • Tap on the data & personalisation tab and then Web & App Activity
  • Toggle Web & App Activity off

And here’s how to turn off location history:

  • Go to settings.
  • Press on Google then Google Account
  • Tap on the Data & Personalisation tab
  • Then location history and toggle the setting off for each phone or device connected to your Google account

Shutting down Apple smartphone tracking

Your iPhone tracks and records places that you visit most often to provide location-based data and relevant suggestions. Apple calls it Significant Locations tracking.

This is applicable across phones and iPads running iOS 11 and up to the more recent iOS 12.1.

If you’re not happy with this, you can turn the feature off.

  • Launch the Settings app from the Home screen.
  • Tap on Privacy.
  • Then Location Services at the top.
  • Press System Services, its right at the bottom of the list.
  • Then Significant Locations.
  • You may be asked to enter your passcode, use Touch ID, or Face ID, to authenticate access.
  • Tap the Significant Locations On/Off Switch.
  • When the switch is grey, the tracking feature has been turned off.

How to turn off location tracking on Windows 10 devices

If you don’t want Windows 10 to track your location, you can tell it to stop.

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Go to Privacy
  • Got to Location.
  • Click Change and, on the screen that appears, move the slider from On to Off.

This turns off all location tracking.

You can also turn off location tracking on an app-by-app basis. If you want your location to be used only for some apps and not others, make sure location tracking is turned on:

  • Scroll to the “Choose apps that can use your precise location” section.
  • You’ll see a list of every app that can use your location.
  • Move the slider to On for the apps you want to allow to use your location

When you turn off location tracking, Windows 10 will still keep a record of your past location history.

To clear your location history:

  • Scroll to Location History
  • Click Clear.

Even if you use location tracking, you might want to clear your history regularly as there’s no automated way to clear it.

 

 

Source: Bullguard

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

 

Control Your Google Search History

Google is the Big Brother of the online world with unlimited access to your search history. It collects mountains of data from you, a lot from your search activity. However, the search giant also offers ways you can limit the amount of data on you – although they are not always easy to find.

That’s all changing as Google has simplified the process of both seeing and deleting your search activity.

How to control your search history

Rather than going to your Google account, you will be able to see your history every time you search for something. When you search for something using Chrome, you’ll be able to manage your entire search history without leaving the browser.

According to PCWorld.com, this is how it works on phones:

  1. Log into your Google account in Chrome.
  2. After initiating a search, tap the hamburger menu to the left of the Google logo
  3. Select Your data in Search
  4. Scroll down to Your recent activity
  5. Tap All Search activity

In desktop Chrome, you have to click the new “Control your data in Google Search” link under the Google Search, and I’m Feeling Lucky buttons on Google’s home page. Or, you can go to Settings > Your data in Search option from a search results page.

As a result, you will bring up your full search activity page for your account. From there, you will be able to see all your recent activity, delete individual results or full days of history using the three dot menus beside each search term.

On the first Your data in Search page, Google has added buttons that let you either delete your search activity for the past hour or nuke your entire search history if you want to start all over.

You’ll also find quick toggles for Web & App Activity, and Voice & Audio Activity, so you can quickly turn off access, as well as Ad personalisation settings.

This change has started

Google has begun rolling out this change in Chrome and other desktop and mobile browsers and will be pushing the transition to the Google app on iOS and Android soon. Google also promises to expand the feature to Maps in 2019, as well as “many other Google products.”

 

Artificial Intelligence Is No Match For The Human Touch

Artificial intelligence is on the increase. As a result, our lives are easier, more efficient and more productive.

However, as consumers, we find this isn’t always the case. Let me tell you a story to illustrate.

When artificial intelligence falls short

The other day I waited patiently in the office for a delivery via a well known courier – DPD.

I checked to see where my parcel had got to via the online tracking tool. I was astonished to find the message on the screen which stated: “We were sorry we missed you. A card has been posted through your door with instructions as to what to do next.”

I went to my door, and there was no card.  I investigated further online to find a picture of the ‘delivery address’, which was a barn on a farm – not my entrance or address.

The next day I tracked my parcel on the DPD app – and funny enough the driver was in town, I was in my office at a village nearby, but my package was still being delivered in the wrong village, and I could do nothing to stop it!

What about the human touch?

I tried to contact DPD via their website and phone. I wanted to tell them not to use the sat nav in the vehicle, but for the driver to use their brain and geographical knowledge to find our village then locate the correct road etc.

Unfortunately, that was not possible. Because DPD is such a big company, it doesn’t employ humans in its back office to speak to the public. It only offers an automated service to change the location of your delivery or to change the date of your shipment. The only service they don’t provide is one to help when Artificial Intelligence goes wrong, and you need to speak to someone to correct the mistake. In other words, DPD offers NO customer service – Shame on them.

With no means of contact, my delivery bounced around the countryside. They continued to try to deliver to the correct address but the wrong geographical location. I finally opting for DPD to drop my parcels at a drop off point in a nearby town centre – at least they managed to find that – and it was only a day late!

So, the question is – are humans gradually losing their ability to think?

It’s a sad fact, but the only way we can buck that trend is to start going back to basics. In the sorry case above, locate the town, follow road signs to the village. Then find the road name and deliver the parcel to the correct number.  Don’t blindly follow a sat nav to the wrong village and the wrong street then place a card in the door as no one was in.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Mirror Your Smartphone Or Tablet Into Your TV

Do you know how to mirror your smartphone onto your TV?

Technology is changing at a ridiculously fast pace. Trying to keep up with it can be a nightmare, which is why we were pleased to come across this post on BullGuard.

It talks about how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV. That means transferring the videos, films and so on, that you view on your mobile or tablet onto your TV screen.

Here are some of the ways you can do this.

Apple TV

Apple TV is a set-top box streaming device.  It provides a wide selection of apps, an intuitive touch remote and direct access to iTunes.

It has a feature called Airplay which allows you to mirror video, audio, and any other content wirelessly from your iOS device to any TV display with an HDMI input.

You do this by swiping up from the bottom of the Apple iPhone screen and clicking the Airplay symbol in the quick menu. This looks like a square with a triangle through it.

Roku

Roku provides a bewildering array of streaming devices. Its newest versions now provide mirroring functionality for Android and Windows devices. The mirroring service is available for Android devices running 4.2 or higher and Windows devices running 8.1 or higher.

Your smartphone or tablet must support mirroring though that said most do.

  • Android: For Android devices, there are a confusing number of terms for mirroring. These include Smart View, Quick Connect, SmartShare, AllShare Cast, Wireless Display, HTC Connect, Screen Casting, and Cast.

Once you’ve identified the correct terminology, you can usually enable mirroring from the settings menu under ‘network or display’ headings.
Windows 8.1 and higher: If you’ve got a Windows 8.1 or higher device check this page for mirroring instructions. It’s simpler than us explaining to you.
For Windows 10 devices:

  • Open the Action Center
  • Select Project
  • Connect to a wireless display
  • Select the Roku device on your network

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV’s latest incarnation, the Fire TV Cube, provides the ability to control most of your home theatre tech with only your voice.
Andy user with a compatible device can use it. Enabled devices include Android devices running 4.2 or higher, Amazon’s Fire HDX tablets,
To enable mirroring, go to:

  • Settings
  • Display & Sounds
  • Enable Display Mirroring
  • Then connect your desired device from your Android phone or tablet.

Dongles

  • Chromecast: Chromecast has become the go-to device for affordable wireless streaming.

For those with 4K UHD TVs, Chromecast Ultra offers 4K streaming in small form factor. A 4K TV provides Ultra High Definition provides eight million pixels to deliver detail, depth and vibrant colour.

Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra also feature near latency-free mirroring of anything on an Android smartphone or tablet, including games, photos, video, and more.

It can also mirror anything from a Mac or PC’s Chrome browser by simply clicking the Cast button in the corner of your browser.

However, Chromecast mirroring doesn’t support iOS content loaded on your device, but it can be used to stream content from apps such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and more.

  • Miracast: Third-party Miracast devices from lesser-known companies are available for Android.

Miracast is a Wi-Fi certified high-definition wireless protocol. It does not require a Wi-Fi network. Instead, it sets up its private streaming network.

It is extremely versatile and offers a host of mirroring capabilities. While it works with Android devices, it is also useful for mirroring PCs.

Thanks, BullGuard.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Is Artificial Intelligence losing you clients?

Artificial intelligence is all the rage, but is it ruining your customer service?

How many times have you tried to contact a company and found yourself going around in a loop system on the telephone?

Have you visited a website and found you can only contact the company through an automated email address?

What about when you wanted to get an issue sorted out, and the only option of contact is an Online Chat feature? It’s so frustrating. When you do get through, if you don’t know their jargon it’s impossible to get a straight answer because most of these services work from a crib sheet.

Frustrating isn’t it?

Why do Companies think artificial intelligence is what the human race wants?

We know why companies do this, primarily its to save money, they don’t have to employ anyone to answer the phones.  The company also thinks it is a quicker way to deal with queries. However, not everything is black and white, sometimes its grey and this is why we need to communicate effectively with another human being.

Whatever happened to the philosophy the customer is always right? What customers want is some ‘good old fashioned’ customer service!!

So be aware when reviewing your costs at your end of year.  Consider this; can your company sustain a loss of clients due to inefficient automated systems, non-existent hands-on customer service, and poor feedback reviews?

At MPMIT we take all our customers seriously. It doesn’t matter if they are a home user, a start-up business or an established micro business.  We give excellent customer service, and none of our systems are automated.  You can speak to a friendly human being who can help resolve your issues promptly.

We cover an excellent geographical area so why not give us a look.  Contact us by email: enquiries@mpmit.co.ukor phone us on 01449 770704 | 07733 262116

Sony Bravia Smart TVs Need Patching

Do you have a Sony Bravia smart TV?

Have you changed its default settings?

In that case, you may need to upload a firmware update.

This is easily done by going to the Download section of the TV’s product page to check it’s running the firmware update.

Sony Bravia models with bugs

Several bugs have been detected in the following Sony Bravia models:

  • R5C, WD75, WD65, XE70, XF70, WE75, WE6, and WF6 series.

These include a stack buffer overflow, a directory traversal bug, and a command injection flaw.

The command injection flaw is the bug that could lead to remote code execution with root privilege. This means if someone is on the same local area network they can remotely take control of the TV.

However, it’s worth noting:

  • Sony Bravia TV owners should have automatically received the firmware updates if they’ve not changed the TV’s default settings
  • By default the affected Bravia TVs are set to automatically receive updates when they connect to the internet

Sony did send out the firmware updates to patch these bugs and by far the majority of Bravia smart TV owners should be safe.

The bigger issue

Although, in this case, Sony is doing something about it, many smart device manufacturers don’t. This has led to the creation of huge smart device botnets, which have been used to take major websites.

But this is only the beginning. Smart device attacks will become increasingly common. As such it always pays to keep one eye on the security of smart devices you plan to buy.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

NewsNow Passwords Hacked

Another week, another blog post and another website that’s has its user passwords hacked.

This time it’s NewsNow that’s in the spotlight.

Here’s what BullGuard recently reported:

If you’re a news junkie there’s a good chance you check NewsNow frequently. You might even have an account with this aggregated news content service which gives you the latest lowdown in even the most obscure of areas.

If so, you probably won’t be happy to hear account passwords have been hacked.

Somewhat ironically, but not surprisingly, NewsNow has not made the news public.

Rather it has sent out emails to account holders informing them about the ‘believed’ hack.

Has your account been hacked?

If you are a user of this website, you’ll have received an email stating, “… we believe it is possible that an encrypted version of your password may have been accessed. While we do not have concrete evidence that this has happened, the possibility cannot be completely ruled out.

Comforting.

They then go on to say that because it’s not straightforward for anyone to decipher your actual password, it’s unlikely anyone will bother trying.

Doesn’t fill you with much confidence, does it?

We would suggest changing your password anyway.

Thanks for the heads up Bullguard.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

 

How Do Hackers Evade Detection?

Hacking is becoming too frequent a headline for our liking these days. It seems as though the technology that’s been developed to make our lives easier is backfiring thanks to a small army of hackers.

Getting their kicks out of circumventing firewalls and other security measures are putting the rest of us at risk.

So how come these attacks keep happening?

Well, according to BullGuard, before launching an attack, hackers make sure they cover their tracks by:

  • Breaking into poorly secured computers and using these hijacked systems as proxies through which they can launch and route attacks worldwide
  • Using viruses, worms, phishing emails and other malware to take control of internet servers or personal computers to create a network of ‘zombie’ computers, also known as botnets
  • These botnets are then used to launch attacks.
  • As a result, an attack may appear to come from a particular server or computer, but this does not mean the attack originated at that device.
  • Often a string of different proxies are used, typically located in different countries.

It is these factors that make it so difficult to find out where the original attack was launched.

As BullGuard states:

“ It can be done but requires law enforcement from different countries to co-operate with each other.

“On the surface, this may seem straightforward but political agendas can get in the way of forensics. For instance, law enforcement might trace an attack as far as a server IP address in Russia or a router on Chinese territory.

“This doesn’t provide definitive proof that the attack was launched from a server in Russia or a router in China, these devices could be proxies used by the attackers. But political relations, for instance between the US, Russia and China, ensure that the forensics investigations can’t go any further. This is why it is often difficult to catch attackers. That said, circumstantial evidence can certainly point a finger in the right direction.”

Attackers sometimes start small

BullGuard when on to explain:

“Attackers sometimes start their attacks by attacking small, remote and obscure computers or networks or piggyback into networks by infecting other devices. Their ultimate targets are often large organisations with sensitive information.

“But they don’t just press a big red attack button; instead they carry out surveillance and crawl through a victim’s network to find suitable launch points to reach their ultimate targets.

  • Foreign nation state-backed hackers took over outdated Windows servers run by a small company. They then moved across the network onto other servers. Spear-phishing emails were then sent from these compromised servers to more than a hundred targets, including companies working for the US Department of Defense.
  • Attackers exploited a vulnerable web application on public school servers to break into them. They moved around the networks and installed backdoors on the school’s computers to launch more attacks.
  • Malicious hackers breached a community club network and then distributed malware to anyone who connected to the club’s Wi-Fi. The attackers then later piggybacked into corporate networks when the owners of the devices had been infected logged onto their company networks.
  • Chinese spies penetrated an old computer belonging to a welding firm located deep in the Wisconsin countryside. The hackers used the compromised computer to plan and stage attacks on a major Manhattan law firm, one of the world’s biggest airlines, a prominent university and other targets.

“Often these firms or individuals have no idea their computers have been compromised until one day they receive a knock on the door from men in suits and raincoats who have a lot of questions.”

 

 

What Facebook’s Hack Means To You

Even the mighty Facebook isn’t immune to the hackers. An estimated 90 million Facebook accounts were affected by the recently announced hack. Sadly, the social media goliath has had little to say on the risk users may face.

With little information to go on, here’s some advice from the people over at BullGuard.  

How do you know if you were hacked?

  • There is currently no way to know for sure if your account has been hacked unless you’ve received a message from Facebook or you were logged out of your account last Friday
  • That said Facebook’s ‘Security and login’ page in your profile’s account settings has a feature that tells you where your account has been logged in from. If you see a login from a location you don’t recognise, this may be a sign you have been hacked

Is the attack dangerous?

Facebook has sought to reassure users that the security breach has been fixed and said users are not currently in danger of being hacked.

  • However, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s fair to say Facebook’s credibility has been undermined and there will be many taking what it says with a hefty pinch of salt
  • What we do know is that breach is the largest in the company’s history
  • What we don’t know is how deep the hackers went; did they take full control of accounts?
  • What we also know is that hackers could have accessed third-party websites that use Facebook accounts for logins. This includes apps such as Instagram, Tinder, Spotify and Airbnb, all of which use Facebook’s ‘single sign-on’ feature

What should I do if I was hacked?

Given that those who were hacked were automatically logged out of their accounts you can assume you’re safe if this didn’t happen to your account.

That said several advisable steps can be taken to improve your overall account security:

  • Change your password, especially if it is used for multiple accounts
  • If you use the same password for different social media accounts and websites, change them to an individual, complex one rather than common, easy-to-guess names or phrases
  • Facebook also offers two-factor authentication, which requires a unique verification code as well as your password to access your account. This code will be sent either by text or via a registered authentication app, such as Google Authenticator or Duo Mobile that you would need to download
  • You will need to go to the ‘Security and login’ page in your Facebook account settings to set up two-factor authentication

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Disabling Windows 10 Automatic Updates

Windows 10 automatic updates can save you a lot of time; they can also lead to frustration.

Although designed to be a good thing, often updates can render your PC problematic. You are then stuck with the repercussions until there’s an update to solve the problem.

If you’ve been tempted to turn off these automatic updates, you’ve probably already discovered that Windows 10 won’t let you.

But fear not, those lovely people at PCWorld.com have come up with a couple of workarounds.

However, if you decided to use them, remember to follow Windows’ update news.

How to stop Windows 10 automatic updates

Change the Group Policy

If you have a Professional, Enterprise, or Education edition of Windows 10, you can turn off automatic updates. But the option is hidden. Here’s what to do in version 1703, if you have a later version of Windows 10 these settings still apply, but the wording is slightly different.

  • Press Win-R, type gpedit.msc, press Enter. This brings up the Local Group Policy Editor
  • Navigate the left pane as if it were File Explorer to
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Updates
  • Choose Select when Feature Updates are received
  • In the resulting dialog box, select Enabled.
  • In the Options box, type in how many days you’d like to pause updates and then in the next field type in today’s date.
  • Click Apply and then OK

If you want to you can repeat this process for the second setting in Group Policy named Select when Quality Updates are received. Keep in mind, however, that quality updates include security updates and skipping them is not the best idea. On the upside, security updates are cumulative meaning if you do skip these updates, you can download the next one and be up to date.

Microsoft doesn’t like it when people pause updates, and even using Group Policy, you can pause updates for only about 30-35 days, depending on the version of Windows 10 you’re using.

The metered network trick

If you’ve got the plain old Home version of Windows 10, you can stop some automatic updates by lying to your operating system. (Morally speaking, this doesn’t bother us a bit.)

In older versions of Windows 10 this only works with a Wi-Fi network, but in version 1703 and later ethernet connections can take part as well.

The trick is to tell Windows that you have a metered connection to the Internet—one that can only download so many bits per month without increasing your ISP bill. Microsoft says doing this means “some updates for Windows won’t be installed automatically” and some apps may not work as expected.

To tell Windows that you have a metered connection (whether you do or not):

  • Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet.
  • Select the Wi-Fi or Ethernet tab in the left pane depending on the connection type you want to change.
  • In the main pane, select the name of your connection.
  • On the next screen turn on Metered connection.

You should do this for any network you use because the setting is set on a per-network basis.

You have two ways to update manually: You can turn off the metered connection option. Or you can simply use another network to trigger the updates.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.