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Kim's column

Recovering from Equifax, improving passwords, throwing Google off your scent, and more

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 on recovering from the Equifax breach, improving passwords, throwing Google off your scent, and more. Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.

Equifax security

Q: With the Equifax breach, I am worried that hackers can steal money from my bank account. What can I do?

A: The sheer number of victims is massive, and that figure keeps climbing with every new report. Meanwhile, Equifax has done a miserable job of comforting its customers, and the fallout has left far more questions than answers. The best thing you can do for your security is to establish two-factor authentication on your bank account. Click here for the steps to take that will stop thieves from emptying your bank account.

Password help

Q: What’s the deal on passwords? I heard they needed to be long. Then, I heard they could be short. Help!

A: The prevailing wisdom is to make a password as difficult as possible. The problem with complicated passwords is that they are very hard to remember, especially if they use an array of eccentric punctuation marks, like ampersands and pound signs. But the most current advice is actually a relief, especially if you have a poor memory. Believe it or not, hackers will have a devil of a time trying to figure your password out. Click here for three ways to craft great passwords based on the latest research.

Stalked by Google

Q: Is it true that Google keeps track of every place you go?

A: It stands to reason that your phone’s GPS (a) can track all your movements and (b) keep track of all your movements. Once you figure out just how meticulously Google records your every movement, you may be horrified enough to toss your Android in the nearest lake. All of this geographic documentation is probably harmless, but it’s definitely unnerving, no matter how comfortable you are with a never-ending data stream. So how might you turn this feature off, ensuring that no one at Google is following you around? Click here to learn which setting to change, and the rest is a walk in the park.

Monitor color

Q: My photos have different colors when printed than they show on my monitor. Is my monitor bad?

A: A picture is only as strong as its weakest technical element, and problems are sometimes hard to pinpoint: Maybe your camera lens is malfunctioning, or you’re using cheap software, or your printer doesn’t do certain colors very well. Every little piece can affect how an image turns out. But if you’re pretty sure that your monitor isn’t showing its best colors, click here for a very simple way to fix it.

What Alexa hears

Q: I heard you say that Alexa and other gadgets are recording everything I say. Is this true?

A: The point of a hands-free device like Amazon Echo is that you don’t have to press a button or flip a switch to activate the voice recognition software; you just have to say, “Alexa.” So what can you do to prevent the device from cataloging all of these audio files? And what other devices are eavesdropping on your every private conversation?

Click here to stop your devices from listening to everything you say.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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