App lets people check to see if their email accounts have been breached
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. Edison.tech) 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 Get.Adobe.com/ 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.
■ Ubasics.com/dighole 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.
■ Sunburnmap.com 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.
■ Naupa.org, 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.
PRACTICING SAFE INTERNET
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.
BOB AND JOY SCHWABACH