Tech Q&A: Cellphone spying, what Facebook knows, toolbars and more

Tech Q&A Cellphone spying, what Facebook knows, toolbars and more

Is cellphone spying possible?

Q. I went through a really bad divorce, and my ex- seems to know a lot about my current life. It’s like he’s reading my text messages. Could he be doing this?

A. Yes, and it’s not very difficult. There are plenty of spy apps that a snooping ex or significant other can slip on to a phone. Mspy, WebWatcher, SpyToMobile and SpectorSoft’s eBlaster are a few popular spy apps. They provide access to your text messages, phone calls, photos, GPS location and even pull information from popular third-party messaging apps. A snoop can see everything that’s going on with the phone by simply going to a special website. To learn more about how to block spy apps and what to do if you think one is installed on your phone, click here for step-by-step instructions.

Remove stubborn toolbars

Q. Help, Kim! I installed a free program and it brought along an annoying browser toolbar that I can’t get rid of. What can I do?

A. Your best bet is a specialized program like Toolbar Cleaner, which knows where all the little hard-to-remove parts of toolbars like to hide. It’s easier than tracking down every program, file and setting manually. It even resets your browser home page, which many toolbars like to change to something you don’t want. If that still doesn’t work, you can follow my directions for manually removing toolbars and putting things back the way they were.

What Facebook knows about you

Q. I went through my Facebook and removed a bunch of personal information, but my son still says advertisers and others can figure out a lot about me from what’s left. Is he right?

A. Facebook and other big companies don’t need much information to learn a lot about you. Things like how often you post, when you post, how many words you use, the words you use, how many photos you have, who your friends are and more can tell them a lot. It might reveal if you’re unemployed, your mental outlook, politics and plenty more. A website called Digital Shadow gives you a glimpse into what companies see about you online. Interestingly, it was developed to promote a video game, not to make money off of you. Just think how much more a large company with money at stake can do.




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