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Unwrapped new gadgets this holiday season? Here are 10 ways to lock them down

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Unwrapped new gadgets this holiday season? Here are 10 ways to lock them down

Ah, a shiny new tech toy. In the eyes of a hacker, that’s a great way into your home’s network. 

Most people don’t realize how important it is to properly secure your internet connection and router from snoops, hackers, and moochers. 

You need to keep bad actors out of your devices, too. Your phone contains a ton of personal information, and you need to do more than setting up Face ID or fingerprint scanning to lock it.

When it comes to the rest of your tech, it’s never too late to adjust your settings and get back just a little privacy. Let’s dive in. 

1. Hide your location 

When you unwrap a new gadget, you’re trying to get it up and running as quickly as possible. You might not usually spend much time poking around the settings. The security and privacy settings should be your first stop. 

Chances are, your internet-connected gadgets are keeping track of your every move — and that data gets packed up and sold. Start with your location data. 

Keep in mind, disabling location services altogether may impact your device’s ability to work the way you want it. 

Here’s how to turn off location settings on iPhone: 

  • Go to Settings Privacy Location Services.
  • Here you can switch off location sharing or adjust access to only certain apps.

Adjust location settings on Android:  

  • Swipe down from the top of your screen and tap Location.
  • If you don’t see it in your pulldown menu, click the edit button and add it to your quick settings.

(Note: Steps may differ depending on your Android model.) 

Your location is just one way advertisers and others track where you are and what interests you. Tap or click for hidden maps and trackers in your smartphone you can switch off

Chances are, your internet-connected gadgets are keeping track of your every move.
Shutterstock

2. Get up to date 

Depending on how long your new device sat on a shelf or in a warehouse, it might need an update or two. 

Again, pop into the settings and look for any software or firmware updates. You’ll need to complete multiple updates from time to time, so make sure to knock them all out. 

After that, my recommendation is to check each of your devices monthly. It only takes a few minutes, but it could save you a huge hassle down the line. Wherever you can, enable automatic updates, so you have one less thing to remember. 

TRUE OR FALSE: It’s OK to restart your computer by holding down the power button. Tap or click for my ruling.

3. Take time to register 

Do you register your new tech with the manufacturer? It takes a few minutes, but it’s a way to recoup your device if a hacker somehow takes it over. The manufacturer has proof the device is yours no matter what changes a hacker makes to it.  

It’s also an essential step if something breaks down the road and still under warranty. 

4. Set up a guest network for all your connected devices 

What’s the first thing you do after setting up a new device? Usually, you’ll connect it to your home’s wireless internet.  

Unfortunately, every connected device is a potential way in for bad actors. By creating a separate guest network for all your smart home gadgets and IOT devices, you’ll protect your main network. 

Here’s how to get started: 

Open your router’s admin page and look for a section labeled Guest Network or Guest Networks. 

Enable your Guest Network and make sure SSID Broadcast is turned on. 

To get to your router admin page, you’ll need the device’s IP address and admin password. Tap or click here for a list of default passwords for 548 router brands — then be sure to change yours. 

Once you’re in your router’s settings, don’t click any options that say something like: “Allow guests to see each other and access my local network.” 

ROSTOV-ON-DON / RUSSIA - May 22 2020: hand hold the iPhone with iOS firmware update process on the screen
Depending on how long your new device sat on a shelf or in a warehouse, it might need an update or two.
Shutterstock

5. Don’t get lazy with passwords 

Once you get your tech set up, make sure to set a strong, unique password for the associated account. Never stick with the default, even if it appears random. 

When I say “strong” and “unique,” I’m not talking about your kid’s birthday or your pet’s name. Randomly generated strings of letters, numbers, and characters are best, but they are impossible to remember. Use a password manager or even a notebook to write your passwords down.  

I like this password book on Amazon that’s under $10. 

6. Enable two-factor authentication 

When you swipe your credit card and enter your ZIP code, that’s an example of two-factor authentication. Basically, you’re providing an extra bit of proof that you are who you say you are. 

You’ll generally receive a text message or email with a code from the website or service you’re trying to access. Tap or click here to set up two-factor authentication on your social media accounts. 

If you’re security conscious, you can skip the text or email codes altogether. Google Authenticator is an app that generates random codes for your accounts — and no one can intercept those like they could a text. Tap or click here for more info and options other than Google

7. Add your emergency contacts and set them as Favorites 

If you bought a new smartphone or tablet, take a moment to add your emergency contacts. It’s not just a good idea — it can potentially save your life. 

When you add emergency contacts to your phone, the best way to make them stand out from your other contacts is to set them as Favorites. You’ll have them on speed dial for whenever you need them most. 

On an iPhone, select a contact, scroll down and tap Add to Favorites

On Android, open the Contacts app, and tap the contact you want to add to your favorites. At the top, tap Favorite

Got a new phone? 9 safety apps you’ll want on hand in an emergency 

IZMIR ,TURKEY - JANUARY 14, 2018: Smartphone Apple Iphone 10 X Space Silver Grey Color. Young Man with hand Open apps social networking service CONTACTS application at screen on white background.
If you bought a new smartphone or tablet, take a moment to add your emergency contacts.
Shutterstock

8. Stop your smart TV from spying on you 

Did you unwrap a new TV? Most smart TVs use ACR, or “Automatic Content Recognition.” ACR scans the programs you watch and sends the data back to analytics services and marketing firms. Then, your data is crunched and studied so they can advertise to you based on your habits. 

This is annoying and intrusive, but ACR does have an upside: It makes smart TVs cheaper.  

Even better, you can turn the feature off altogether. The steps will be different for every brand. 

Tap or click here to find out how to disable ACR on your smart TV. 

9. They’re listening 

Smart speakers are always listening for a wake word. You can review and delete your recordings. You can also opt out of having your data saved and recorded.  

If you’re concerned about privacy on your new Echo, tap or click here for 10 must-do security steps. This is definitely something you should do.  

Smart speakers aren’t the only gadgets listening to you. Tap or click to stop the other big offenders

voice controlled smart speaker
Smart speakers are always listening for a wake word.
Shutterstock

10. Streaming devices snoop, too 

Roku: 

  • From the Roku main menu, open Settings.
  • Open Privacy. Then click Advertising.
  • Check Limit ad tracking.

Apple TV: 

  • Open Settings from the main menu. Then, choose General.
  • Choose Privacy, then toggle the Limit Ad Tracking option to On.

Amazon Fire Sticks: 

  • From the Fire TV main menu, choose Settings.
  • Click Preferences, followed by Privacy Settings.
  • In the menu that opens, turn Device Usage Data, Collect App Data Usage, and Interest-based Ads off.

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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