Category Archives: Mobile Devices

If it is free,…

If it is free, there is probably a catch. If you possess an Android device and have installed free apps from Google play, it is interesting to read the warning about what you are authorising the apps to do on your device. Frequently the app collect information about yourself , your location and your contacts. These details are likely to be sold or  used for marketing and advertising purpose. There is nothing wrong with people trying to make a living after all.

But can you trust the companies that are collecting the data? Rovio, the company behind the Angry Birds game has decided, according to its chief executive to review its relationship with advertising networks. The Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica have last month revealed that the US and UK spy agencies are collecting data from some smartphone apps. According to the article in the Guardian, the agencies would be able to collect almost every key detail of a user’s life, including

  • home country
  • current location
  • age
  • gender
  • zip code
  • marital status – options included “single”, “married”, “divorced”, “swinger”
  • income
  • ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • education level
  • number of children

It is worth reading the full article, as it also describe the range of tools available to the NSA and GCSQ to spy and access your devices. Spokespeople for the NSA and GCHQ told NBC all programs were carried out in accordance with US and UK law.

Yeah, right!



Browser Passwords

Passwords Storage

Are you saving passwords for your favourite web sites in your browser? If yes, think twice. If you are using Chrome, this is not a secure at all. Have a look at this article published recently. I am not a frequent user of Internet Explorer or Safari,  and am not aware of their password storage strategy used.

How to secure passwords?

The issue is that you have to remember many usernames and passwords for various internet sites.

Solution 1: Use one or two usernames and passwords for everything.

And what happen if one of your password is compromised? The “hackers” will run software that will automatically try those on a great number of sites. This was the issue that prompted Telecom NZ to ask their users to change all their passwords, without really explaining the reason behind it. All what we knew was some accounts were accessed without the knowledge of the users, and were sending spam with links towards websites.

Solution 2 : Stick with saving Credentials within the browser.

The physical security of the equipment is not a problem, and no-one will ever be able to get physically to your PC. However, old fashion desktop PCs also get stolen. Do you really know what happen to your PC when your dispose of it? It is also a bad idea to use this strategy on mobile devices, as they tend to frequently be lost, forgotten or stolen.

Solution 3: Use a Safer Browser

Firefox is safer in that area, at it allows you to protect your database of username and passwords. with a master password. However, do not use a 3 letter password, as it could easily be cracked. It is better to aim for 8 or more letters

Solution 4 : Use a Password Management Software

What is a password management software? It is usually a small application that run on your computer, tablet or phone that enable you to:

  • create complex password
  • register them, associating them with the web site URL and a username
  • sometimes it links with your browser to save you typing anything.

The application create a small file that is either open with a password, a key file or a combination of the two. You can store the file or files on a hard drive or a USB stick. An other possibility is to store them on a network or  cloud drive to be able to get access to it from everywhere with multiple devices.

You can afford in that situation to create and memorize a long password, as it is the only one you will have to remember. But don’t go away on holiday and forget it!  There will be no way to recover the content of your file.  An other bad idea would be to write the password on a Postit note somewhere (by the monitor for example). I have seen people writing their master password on a piece of paper, they sticking it underneath the keyboard.

If you are using a key file, do not forget to back it up somewhere. it is also highly recommended to make a copy of you encrypted database file somewhere. Files can get corrupted. Drives can die, and they tend to do this at the most inconvenient time.

Two recommended password management software can be found on and


Keepass image from

Are you using of any password management software? Is there anything else you would recommend?

Why using lastpass?


Issues with some Android Apps

Some Apps available on Google Play can have negative consequences for your device(s), going from  security exposure to draining the battery. Verizon has compiled a list and is updating it regularly.