App lets peo­ple check to see if their email ac­counts have been breached

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - BOB AND JOY SCHWABACH

Ever won­der if your email ac­count has been bro­ken into? We won­dered about that too. A new app called Edi­son Email checks th­ese things.

When we clicked on “se­cu­rity,” we were warned that our pass­words had been leaked. The mes­sage read: “This email ad­dress and pass­word match pub­lic data­base breach records.” They sug­gested a change of pass­word. “Pub­lic breach records” means peo­ple’s ac­counts, mainly busi­ness records, have been bro­ken into, col­lected, and lo and be­hold, your pass­word was among the records stolen.

This in it­self is not a dis­as­ter, un­less … you used that same busi­ness pass­word for other ac­counts, which Joy did. One of those stolen pass­words was the same as one for our credit card. Now, fol­low­ing the rule that “there’s still time to panic:” Just be­cause your pass­words or words were in the hacked ac­counts and hence stolen — like the mil­lions bro­ken into at T.J. Maxx and other big re­tail­ers — doesn’t mean you’re nec­es­sar­ily in any dan­ger be­cause it takes crim­i­nals a lot of time to try all those pos­si­bil­i­ties.

But … if you’ve for­got­ten how to change your pass­word (just in case), search on the phrase “how to change my pass­word in Gmail,” or what­ever email ser­vice you use. In Gmail, the world’s most pop­u­lar email ser­vice, click the pic­ture of a tiny gear in the up­per right, then go to “set­tings.”

Be­sides the se­cu­rity warn­ing, Edi­son Email, (from mail. Edi­ brings in your ex­ist­ing email ac­count and or­ga­nizes it. Tap “travel” to get travel no­ti­fi­ca­tions, or “pack­ages” to find out if your pack­age has ar­rived. For the iPhone, iPad or iPod, there’s a “Smart Re­ply” fea­ture. With it, re­sponses like “Got it,” or “See you soon,” can be filled in au­to­mat­i­cally, sav­ing you some typ­ing. The free Gmail app for smart­phones and tablets also has this smart re­ply fea­ture.

Joy’s nephew sold her a life in­sur­ance pol­icy to sign and email back. Af­ter print­ing out the forms and sign­ing them, she used the scan­ner at our lo­cal li­brary to email them back. But she could have done it much eas­ier with­out leav­ing home.

Adobe has a free app called Fill & Sign. It works great. Sign with your fin­ger on your phone or tablet screen. A sim­i­lar app, Adobe Acro­bat Reader, also free, also al­lows you to fill in forms and sign them.

Of course, fill­ing out a form on a phone is dif­fi­cult, given the tiny screen. So you may want to start on your com­puter and do ev­ery­thing ex­cept the sig­na­ture. To start, get the lat­est ver­sion of Adobe Reader at reader. Af­ter you in­stall it, you can open any PDF doc­u­ment and start typ­ing in your re­sponses. Email it to your­self and open it on your phone or tablet. To add a sig­na­ture, use Adobe’s Fill & Sign app or the free Adobe Acro­bat Reader app for smart­phones. We used our fin­ger to sign be­cause we have thin fingers, but if you want to be fancy, use a sty­lus. ■ Uba­­hole shows where you’d end up if you dug straight through the Earth. This is a topic that every child in the world has won­dered about. Most of the time, you’d end up un­der­wa­ter, be­cause af­ter all, the world is mostly cov­ered with wa­ter. But if you could pad­dle a boat some­what east of Ber­muda, and start dig­ging, you’d hit Aus­tralia. If you started north of Mon­go­lia, you could hit the tip of South Amer­ica. Th­ese projects are shovel ready.

■ Sun­burn­ shows you how long you can be out be­fore get­ting a sun­burn. You type in a city, and they’ll give you a rat­ing, based on how fair you are. The old rule, “be care­ful be­tween 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.” still ap­plies.

■, home of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Un­claimed Prop­erty Ad­min­is­tra­tors, helps you find what you are owed. We were amazed to find over $100 in our name from AT&T, $50 from Google, and $5 from PayPal. It was easy to sub­mit a claim. The checks are in the mail. We’re gonna go nuts on Bundt cakes.

Mal­ware­bytes, a free an­ti­mal­ware pro­gram, has tips on trav­el­ing safe. Here’s a sam­pling:

Go di­rectly to a ho­tel’s own web­site to book your

stay in­stead of us­ing an on­line travel ser­vice. A study by the Amer­i­can Ho­tel & Lodg­ing As­so­ci­a­tion found that about 15 mil­lion peo­ple get scammed by travel sites each year. They think they’re book­ing through a le­git­i­mate site, but it’s ac­tu­ally a scam­mer’s site. Bob says he has al­ways got­ten his best prices by call­ing a ho­tel di­rectly.

Be­fore book­ing a ho­tel

room, ask the per­son who an­swers the phone to email you a copy of their se­cu­rity and pri­vacy poli­cies. (We’ve never done this but some­one we know who’s para­noid rec­om­mended it.) Do they even have se­cu­rity soft­ware? Some years ago, we stayed at a Con­rad Ho­tel (up­scale Hil­ton) in In­di­anapo­lis, and the com­put­ers avail­able for guests had no anti-virus pro­tec­tion. Joy took it upon her­self to pro­tect the guests by in­stalling some free se­cu­rity soft­ware on the ho­tel’s pub­lic com­put­ers.

That was very nice of her but the fact that she could do it meant that any­one else could have in­stalled any­thing, in­clud­ing a “key log­ger” to cap­ture a guest’s every key­stroke. In April, In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Ho­tels said that 1,200 of its ho­tels in the U.S., in­clud­ing Hol­i­day Inn and Crowne Plaza were vic­tims of a three-month at­tack aimed as steal­ing cus­tomers’ credit card data.

Look out for pub­lic Wi-Fi in air­ports and ho­tels. You may want to dis­able your Wi-Fi con­nec­tion. There’s a mal­ware

cam­paign called DarkHo­tel that tar­gets in-house Wi-Fi net­works at lux­ury ho­tels. Al­ter­na­tively, you could use your phone’s cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion and share it with your lap­top or tablet. The RAVPower FileHub Plus, for $40, is a best­seller on Ama­zon.

It does not cre­ate an In­ter­net con­nec­tion, but if you al­ready have one on your phone, it will ex­tend it to your other de­vices. A more tech-y way to go is to use a vir­tual pri­vate net­work. That’s it; we have to go hide in a closet.

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