Encrypted Text Messaging

Recently a family member told me about an encrypted messaging app called Signal. It not only encrypts your text messages but also conversations. There are a few nice things about it: it is free, it is open source, and it works on both iPhone and Android phones. You can also send documents and images.

There is also a desktop app for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

Encrypt your email

There’s a standalone app called PassLok. It will encrypt your email on your device or in your (Chrome) browser. It can be used as a webapp, on Android, Chrome, or iOS. It works through private and public keys when you send an email. Only you should be able to open the encrypted email (as long as you don’t give the key out). You can watch the short video below to learn the specifics of how it works.

You can learn how to use it here.

Let’s find out about bitcoins.

By now you have heard the term “bitcoin.” But what is a bitcoin? Let’s explore what they are.

What a bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a “new kind of money.” It is digital money that can be tranferred over the internet. They are transferred directly from person to person without a middle man or bank. This means no transaction fees.

How does it work? You have a digital wallet on your computer or mobile device or in the cloud and can send bitcoins as easy as sending an email. You can purchase anything with bitcoins. The networks are secured by “miners” who make a record in a public ledger. It uses military-grade encryption. Nobody owns it. Using the bitcoin network is free. (You can choose to speed up a transaction for a fee.)

The downside: bitcoin wallets are not insured by the FDIC. You can accidentally delete them, a computer virus can wipe it out. In the cloud, servers can be hacked and bitcoins stolen.

For more information:
Bitcoin.com
WeUseBitcoin.com

~ Jody Victor

Heartbleed Bug

By now you have heard about the Heartbleed Bug affecting many sites. It has to do with vulnerabilities in the encryption in OpenSSL used by many sites for security.

How does that pertain to you, the end user? Well, you may need to change a bunch of passwords. Many sites were left vulnerable and it is suggested you change your passwords. How do you know if you have to do this? There are a few Heartbleed checkers out there that allow you to put in the url of the site you are concerned about. This will let you know if they were/are vulnerable to the bug.

Heartbleed Bug

Here are a few to try:
LastPass
Symantec
Norton

Be Safe!
Jody Victor