We’ve all got them: the freaky friends. Those who comment on and like every. single. status update.
Those who post long, ranting political polemics to your happy cat poster images. The friends that creep you out in a subtle, yet plausibly deniable way.
Or maybe there’s the friends you want to get your freak on with who really don’t need to see you in those embarrassing photo updates that you send to your frat brothers.
However you rank your friends, Facebook has some non-intuitive list tools to help you finely tune your groups of friends. Here’s how to use them, and then how to view your profile through the lens of any specific person on your friends list, to make sure your list tweak was effective.
Protecting user privacy and sensitive information might drive Snapchat’s disappearing messages, but the Federal Trade Commission is keeping its eye on the company just in case!
The FTC has announced that it is settling with Snapchat after an investigation into the company’s privacy practices. The reason? The number of work arounds that allow photos and videos sent via Snapchat to be covertly captured.
“If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says. “Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.”
The data-hungry tentacles of the NSA have managed to choke America’s top tech firms into silent submission on data requests, but after months of demanding more transparency, Apple is ready to defy authorities and let you know when the NSA wants your data.
Prosecutors warn that such a move will undermine investigations by tipping off criminals and allowing them to destroy sensitive data, but according to the Washington Post, Apple and others have already changed their policies.
Illustration: Walter Appleton Clark/Library of Congress
Chatting on Facebook has become rather de rigueur for many of us these days, as the social networking giant makes it easier and easier to stay in touch via its blue and white website and dedicated mobile apps.
If you’re anything like me, chances are that your buddies chat you up as often on Facebook Messenger as they do on iMessage. This multiple platform chatting solution is all fine and dandy when you’re just dealing with your friends, but what about the boss? Your mother in law? That friend who is trolling your Facebook page to see why you’re not at her party?
You need a way to hide the fact that you’re online and chatting from these folks, and we’re going to tell you how.
High-school senior Omar Martin Del Campo and his small team of developers have found a way to make text messaging even more secure. Peek lets you chat with friends via the app and your messages are erased as you read them.
The app asks you to authenticate with Twitter or Facebook to ensure your identity to your friends, and then you can chat away in the fairly clean, purple-themed interface on offer.
“Our focus,” said Del Campo in an email with Cult of Mac, “is a great user experience, beautiful design, simplicity and safe and secure messaging.”
Every once in a while, you might want to password protect a PDF file with encryption. While there are several nice third-party apps that will do the trick, the simplest way to do this is with the built-in image and PDF viewer, Preview.
Ever wondered if somebody you thought you could trust is going through your phone when it’s out of sight?
That’s the (all too pertinent) premise behind Catchr, a new app designed to give users peace of mind while they are away from their iPhone. While the app won’t protect against “leaky apps” or other forms of government eavesdropping, it can tell you whether your phone has been moved, and which applications have been started or stopped during your absence — along with plotting on a map where your iPhone has been during the time Catchr is running.
Last week, a speech recognition developer found a potential exploit in the Chrome web browser that could possibly let malicious web sites activate your Mac’s microphone and listen in on any sounds your mic might pick up around you. Even if you’re not actively using your computer, the mic could be active and conversations, meetings, and phone calls could potentially be recorded or listened in on.
Luckily, there’s a way to keep this from happening, because–however remote the possibility–it’s always a good idea to keep your private information, including real-world conversations, private.
Of course, if you don’t use the Chrome browser at all, this won’t apply to you.
If you want to be sure your data is secure on your Mac, Apple has provided an easy way to do so. They’ve created File Vault, accessed via the System Preferences, to encrypt your startup drive with some heavy duty file security.
You’ll need OS X Lion or later, and you’ll have to have an OS X Recovery partition on your drive. This last bit is typically installed on newer Macs, anyway, but to test it out, reboot your Mac and hold the Command-R key down. If you see an OS X Recovery screen, you’re good to go.
Setting up FileVault is even easier than that. Just launch System Preferences and click on Security & Privacy to get started.
When you browse the web with mobile Safari, you’ll come across sites that ask you to create a login, and that usually requires a password.
You can save your passwords in mobile Safari automatically, but there are some sites that request passwords not be saved. There’s a workaround, though, if you feel like you should be able to save whatever passwords you darn well please, and it’s buried in the Settings app.