Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital.
Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.
This week, I received questions about cutting airport lines, hiding Amazon orders, keeping your privacy from Google and more.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
Dark Web check-in
Q: With all the data breaches, is there a way to know if my data is for sale on the dark web?
A: Whether it’s your email, blog, bank account or cloud service, you may not have any idea whether it’s been breached. What you need is an extremely helpful website, like Have I Been Pwned. The site scours the internet and quickly determines whether your accounts have been hacked — or, in the brand’s parlance, “pwned.”
Even if you don’t know what data has been stolen or how it’s being used, you can at least pinpoint what kind of data has been exposed and strategize how to respond. In the case of email, for example, hackers usually just use your account to send spam and phishing messages to your contacts automatically, but a skilled hacker will also lock you out.
You’ll need to act fast to mitigate the damage. Tap or click here to check whether your email account has been hacked.
Q: How do I record phone calls on my phone? There does not seem to be a setting for that.
A: The bottom line is, recording a phone call isn’t easy. Developers don’t want you just to record anyone you talk with, as this is considered an invasion of privacy. After all, it’s impossible to tell whether the person on the other end of the line is secretly recording you, and your voice can be used against you in countless ways – never mind the content of a (supposedly) private conversation.
That said, recording a phone conversation can be extremely helpful, especially for research, interviews and even podcasting. The result: there’s no onboard method for recording, but there are third-party apps that can work like a charm. Tap or click here for a quick DIY video about how to record calls on your iPhone or Android.
Q: I am tired of Google tracking me. Are there other search sites and Gmail options that don’t track you?
A: Browsing the web isn’t just a choice between giants like Google and Bing; several search engines are specifically designed to protect your privacy. One of the most famous is Tor, which effectively grants you access to the Dark Web. Meanwhile, there are several less intense options, which behave much like Google but don’t follow you or collect your data.
You can also find ways to watch videos, navigate through GPS and use Gmail-like electronic mail – minus all the corporate stalking. Tap or click here for alternatives to Google.
Hide Amazon orders
Q: I bought a few very personal things on Amazon that I don’t want my partner or kids to see. How can I hide those orders?
A: Hiding your orders from loved ones can be a real boon around the holidays when the last thing you want is to ruin the surprise. Deleting your browsing history is a good start, but you can also archive your orders, which makes it difficult for anyone – including Amazon users sharing your account – to find them.
In theory, someone could still find those orders in your archives, but it would take extra effort, and most people wouldn’t think to do so. Also, you could create a family rule that no one digs through the archives. Tap or click here for three ways to keep your Amazon gifts under wraps.
Q: You mentioned a way to bypass the security lines at the airport. How does the app work? Is this different than TSA PreCheck?
A: This may be hard to believe when you’re standing in line at the security checkpoint, but TSA wants travelers to get through the airport as quickly as possible. To speed up this process, veteran TSA agents created Mobile Passport, which condenses all of your pertinent information into a single QR code.
In a participating airport, you can head to a specific desk – which should have a significantly shorter line – and scan the code. This should save you, and border agents, a great deal of time. If you fly a lot, you may also be interested in the Global Entry Card. This requires some extra legwork, but with a Global Entry Card, you can expect your entire border crossing to take about five minutes. Tap or click here to get a Global Entry Card.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.