TIME Smartphones

9 Steps to Make Your Smartphone Totally Hacker-Proof

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Don't use public Wi-Fi networks that aren't password protected, for instance

If you use an iPhone, your days of lording its security features over Android users are numbered.

When it comes to the seemingly endless head-to-head showdowns between the two operating systems used by 94% of Americans, Android’s major selling point is also its Achilles heel. Its customizability means Android users can download apps from anywhere, increasing the risk of infection via malware that can skim sensitive info, send spam messages, or freeze the phone until the owner coughs up a ransom.

Spyware is still far more prevalent for Android devices than iPhones due to Apple’s tight vetting of apps before they make it onto the App Store. Android’s greater market share has a lot to do with it, too, as cyber-criminals can attack more Android phones with a single infusion of malicious code.

But a recently discovered piece of malware called WireLurker attacked iOS devices through a compromised computer, indicating that not only are malware creators increasingly focusing on mobile, but that Apple may soon represent as good a piece of game as Android.

What about Windows Phone and BlackBerry, which make up just 5.9% of US smartphone users combined? “These haven’t attracted the same kind of attention from malware authors that Android has,” says Jeremy Linden, Senior Security Product Manager at Lookout security firm.

However, as our smartphones become our go-to devices for everything from shopping to business, it’s likely that the tiny computer in your hand – no matter which operating system it runs – will increasingly become a target for cybercriminals.

Here are nine things you can do to ensure the security of your device now:

1. Log out after banking and shopping

Using online banking on your smartphone browser should be as safe as using it with a desktop browser, assuming the bank implements the appropriate security measures, says Linden.

Just make sure you log out when you’re done. Signing out from your account prevents cyber-offenders from viewing your personal financial data if your smartphone is hacked. The same goes for shopping sites, where your credit card info may be visible to anyone snooping on the transaction.

Or use your bank’s official app. “Banking apps are set up to be encrypted and protect your information even if the network you’re using has been compromised,” Linden says. Ensure you’ve downloaded the real app and not a malicious copy. Earlier this year, Lookout found a clone of the app for Israel-based Mizrahi Bank, designed to steal customers’ login credentials.

2. Only use public Wi-Fi hotspots that require passwords

Use public Wi-Fi only on secure networks requiring a password to access, ideally only from providers you trust such as the coffee shop you’re at, a city’s official Wi-Fi or a telecommunications operator. Unsecured networks allow hackers to view all web traffic over the network, including passwords and even the contents of unencrypted email (that is, most people’s email).

If you’re planning to connect to public Wi-Fi a lot — for example, while traveling abroad — use an encryption app such as Freedome (Android or iOS) that can secure your connection to any Wi-Fi network so that your data is unreadable. The app also blocks tracking while you’re surfing the web.

3. Set a password on your lock screen

The humble password can prevent an even more insidious crime: allowing someone you know to install spyware onto your device.

Last year, Lookout found that 0.24% of the Android phones it scanned in the United States included spyware designed to target a specific person. That’s tens of thousands of people whose calls, messages and photos were being monitored by someone close enough to access their phones.

No matter what type of smartphone you use, a good password is also your first line of defense against the most basic security issue: losing your phone. As long as you don’t pick an easily guessed combo like 1111, a password can hold off a would-be thief long enough for you to locate and remote-erase your device via the Android Device Manager, Find My iPhone or Windows Phone sites. (BlackBerry users need to have previously downloaded the BlackBerry Protect app, unless the device uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.)

4. Check permissions requested by new apps

According to Lookout, adware is the most common security risk with apps. While ads help app makers turn revenue, some contain adware that may collect personal details or usage habits without your consent, send messages with links to buy fake products or force your device to send premium-rate SMS text messages.

Before downloading an app, read through what permissions it requests from you. If a Flappy Bird clone wants access to your contacts and call history, for example, it’s probably best to cancel that download.

If you suspect you’ve already downloaded adware (based on symptoms such as a deluge of pop-up ads or in-app messages asking you to click on a link), uninstall the app that is delivering the aggressive advertising.

5. Get a security app

If you don’t know which app is the culprit or if you simply want to check your phone’s bill of health, a free security app such as Lookout (Android or iOS) or Avast Free Mobile Security (Android or iOS) can scan the apps on your phone for malware including adware, spyware and viruses. If malware is detected, the security app will remove it.

These apps can also locate your device if you lose it, sound an alarm or message it in case someone has found it, back up your contacts online and remote-erase everything if all hope of getting your phone back is lost.

Check out our comparison of free and paid security apps for more information.

6. Review your download habits

“Non-jailbroken iOS devices are less likely to download malware,” says Linden. (The same goes for Windows and BlackBerry phones.) But if you’ve performed tech surgery to rid your iPhone of its limitations or if you use an Android phone, Linden recommends avoiding downloads from third-party app stores, where malware is much more prevalent. Install a security app that can alert you to suspected malware.

Even if apps are on the official app market, only download from trusted developers, and check the reviews for complaints.

7. Disable app downloads from unknown sources (Android only)

Lookout recently identified a piece of malware called NotCompatible.C that allows your phone to be used without your permission. For example, ticket scalpers could use the malware to route bulk ticket purchases through a group of infected phones, thus hiding their identity and location.

NotCompatible is downloaded secretly onto Android phones from sites harboring it; links to such sites have been found in phishing emails. To avoid similar sneaky malware downloads, disable app downloads from unknown sources, found in the Settings/Security menu.

In general, it’s best to avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders or, according to Lookout, clicking on shortened URLs like bit.ly, since you can’t see the domain it leads to.

8. Don’t grant apps administrator access (Android only)

Back in July, an intimidating type of Android malware made the rounds. The so-called FBI ransomware froze infected phones, popping up a message that the FBI had locked the phone because the owner had violated federal law by visiting illegal sites including child pornography websites. To access the phone (and its data), victims were asked to pay several hundred dollars.

Ransomware may also request administrator rights at installation, giving the wayward app the ability to lock the phone, read notifications and remote-wipe your data. Once given, you may never be able to retract the access, as in the case of the trojan Obad.a, which hid itself and set to work scraping users’ info, spamming contacts and downloading more malware.

“When ransomware is downloaded to a phone from a malicious website, it takes the form of an APK (Android application package), often disguised as an anti-virus app,” Linden says. “Or it may in some way trick you into launching the app. To avoid this, do not grant applications administrator access unless the app is reputable.”

If you must travel off the beaten path for apps, only download non-app store apps from trusted third parties.

9. Install OS and app updates

Finally, the obvious but biggest way to protect your smartphone security: Download software updates for your phone and its apps whenever they’re available. Updates are designed to patch bugs and vulnerabilities.

This article was written by Natasha Stokes and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME apps

4 Apps For Managing the Absolute Chaos That Is Your Email Inbox

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The best new apps for sorting and managing your email

Email is no longer just about communicating with friends or colleagues. These days, our inboxes are also the repository for office tasks, travel plans, social network notifications, shopping offers, and login info for dozens of other services. But unless you’re militant about deleting or sorting emails as they arrive, it’s likely you’re still hundreds to thousands of emails away from the promised land known as Inbox Zero.

The best new apps for sorting and managing your email have one thing in common: They help you quickly clear messages, whether it’s into a folder or straight into the digital trash.

From Google’s brand new Inbox app, which retools the email interface, to an app that deals with newsletter subscriptions in one fell swoop, these email apps sort out the inboxes that have become the hub of nearly all our online activity:

Inbox by Google

Gmail users have seen a fair number of redesigns since Google’s email service launched a decade ago. Google’s spam filters are already the best at clearing the chaff from the wheat. Priority Inbox separates the inbox into important and less important mail. Last year’s introduction of the tabbed inbox further sorts less important email into categories such as promotions and updates.

Now Google has launched Inbox, a standalone app for Gmail accounts that drills deeper into organizing your email. Email is still bundled by conversation thread, but the new interface displays messages in auto-sorted bundles: travel, finance, promotions, social and updates, plus individual email that’s addressed to you personally. Tap on a category to see every new email by its subject line.

The travel and finance categories are particularly useful additions to the original tabbed inbox. These categories make it easy to find itineraries and transaction confirmations.

Even more useful is the ability to check off whole bundles of email without having to open them, such as updates (which include social network notifications and order confirmations) or promotions (offers that aren’t particularly relevant). At the top of each bundle is an option to check it as done, which sends it to an archive you can peruse later, or move the email to another folder.

If you open a message, more one-click options await. You can pin important email so that it stays at the top of the inbox, snooze messages so they reappear at the top of the inbox at a specified time or checkmark them done (an action that delivers a particular thrill of achievement).

If a conversation thread contains images, calendar appointments or PDF attachments, a preview appears beneath the subject line, handy when you’re scanning for particular files.

In this new, minimal interface, a + icon in the bottom right serves as the compose function for new email, reminders or contacting your last three messaged contacts. Google’s instant messenger has been moved up to the toolbar, where you can access other Google services such as Calender or YouTube as well as toggle a switch to see only pinned messages. All other features, including sent mail, drafts and custom folders, are hidden away in a drop-down settings menu at the top left.

An app for iPhones and Android phones offers added features including swipe actions to deal with email. Like the desktop app, the apps let you checkmark a bundle of email as done or tap on the bundle to view all email; then swipe right to check off or left to snooze until a particular time. On the phone, you can also set the snooze alarm to occur at a specific place by GPS location — handy if you want an email pop-up at the office or a shopping offer to reappear when you’re back home.

Supports: Gmail

Great for: Sorting email without having to create complex rules; scanning a busy inbox for important information and attachments

But: It’s only for Gmail accounts

Overall: Accurately sorts emails into an intuitive interface that makes it very easy to take action on the important emails and clear the less important ones

Get it: Sign up for a beta invite at inbox.google.com; download the smartphone app from Google Play or App Store.

Mailbox

If you deal with email mostly on your phone, Mailbox offers a sleek, compact interface with an impressive number of ways to deal with an email based on lengths of a swipe. From the inbox — that is, without opening an email — you can swipe to the very right of your screen to mark the email as done or swipe to a slightly nearer right to trash it. Swiping to the very left lets you add the email to a list to buy, read, watch or any number of custom lists (such as Work or Logins, in my case), while swiping to the mid-left snoozes the email for a variety of time periods, including Someday (set by default to three months later).

Granted, learning the right length of swipe to do what you want takes some doing, but once you get the hang of it, checking off dozens of emails without having to click away from the inbox becomes incredibly simple.

Auto-Swipe alerts the app to start learning what you normally swipe on. In time, it’ll prompt you to ask whether it should “always snooze till later,” for example, for your Twitter updates.

Supports: Gmail and iCloud

Great for: Gmail and iCloud mail users who deal with email mostly on their phones, although there’s also a beta desktop client for Mac OS X Yosemite users

But: Emails are not sorted; they appear in a single list, where updates mingle with newsletters and conversations with friends. If you use Gmail with the tabbed inbox, Mailbox can seem chaotic.

Overall: It offers excellent functionality packed into the swiping gesture that’s so natural on mobile, but you’ll find fewer organizational features than in Inbox or even regular old Gmail.

Get it: iTunes and Google Play

Unroll.me

If you’re suffering from subscription email overload, Unroll.me offers an incredibly swift means of dealing with all those messages. Once you’ve linked Unroll.me to your email, it presents all the services that are sending you regular emails (221 for me) plus the option to unsubscribe to them individually from a single page.

After that, any remaining subscription emails get condensed into a single email that Unroll.me sends you once a day. After all, who knows when that Groupon email might contain the mythical deal of a lifetime?

Supports: All email services

Great for: Managing subscription email cleverly; you can still get wind of offers without having them mixed among email that requires action

But: Unroll.me alone probably won’t be enough to completely streamline your email

Overall: It’s an easy, intuitive way to bundle subscription email you want and get rid of the ones you don’t.

Get it: Unroll.me

Mailstrom

While the other services on this list clean up your email for you by sorting bulk mail into folders you can check later, Mailstrom goes deeper. Once synced to your email account, it scans and analyzes your inbox so that you can view it by different parameters — sender, recipient, subject, when it was received and more — and do the bulk sorting yourself.

It’s an enlightening way to view your emails. You can dig up forgotten emails from particular senders or recipients or see what month of the year you’ve received the most email.

Mailstrom also provides a much quicker way to bulk delete. For example, you can delete everything from, say, your telecoms provider, especially if it was sent last year, or you can delete every email pertaining to a particular subject line, no matter who the senders and recipients are.

Mailstrom offers a wide variety of actions. In addition to delete and archive, you can also choose chill, which hides selected messages until a later date, or expire, which auto-forwards future emails from the sender to a set folder. You can also check off selected mails to mark as spam or block in future. It’s worth noting that some of these features are also possible in email services such as Gmail or Outlook by creating custom rules. (Check out our latest tips for using Gmail here.)

Mailstrom has a subscription fee of $49.99 a year with a free trial that lets you delete up to 1,234 messages. (When I reached around 500 deleted messages, I was offered a discount on the annual fee to $39.99.)

Supports: IMAP email, including Gmail, Outlook.com, iCloud

Great for: Reaching inbox zero

But: The annual subscription fee of $49.99 may be a touch high if you don’t need its unique inbox analysis features.

Overall: This is one of the most comprehensive inbox control apps out there; however, it may offer more features than many users need.

Get it: Mailstrom.co

This article was written by Natasha Stokes and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME apps

4 Apps for Healthy Eating This Holiday Season

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Apps to help give you a reality check of what you’re putting in your body

The holidays usher in the most challenging time of year for people trying to make healthy food choices. Calorie-laden food and drinks are the star attraction at every holiday gathering. With the advent of sweater season, it’s easy to eat what we’d like and still hide it well until next spring. If you want to avoid the stress of showing skin next summer, though, it’s wise to watch what you eat now.

It’s just plain smart to be mindful of what you’re eating, and there are plenty of apps to help give you a reality check of what you’re putting in your body during all of the merriment. From social networking to scanning barcodes, here are some fun tools to support your quest to eat healthy over the holidays and beyond.

Fooducate

Put the smartphone you’re carrying around to good use the next time you’re at the grocery store. Fooducate leverages your phone’s camera to quickly scan the barcode on food items you’re looking to purchase or eat, and quickly grades the food from A through D, based on the health content of the item.

Additional notes about that food are provided, including alternative healthier choices that you could be buying instead. For instance, my Ghiradelli Dark Dream chocolate bar received a D+; however Fooducate noted that it was also a good source of iron (bonus!) and then recommended alternatives including a banana.

Overall, the clean design of the app makes finding the info you need easy to read, and provides some alternative healthy choices. The app is free and available for both the iPhone and Android platforms with in-app purchases that give you special information for those with allergies and gluten intolerance.

Price: free with additional in-app purchases on iTunes and Google Play

Meal Snap

The premise is simple, use your mobile device to take a picture of the food you’re eating with Meal Snap, and the app will determine the rough amount of calories for it. Each meal can be tagged when you eat it (lunch, evening snack, etc), along with any notes that you want to post. You can then share out your meal on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare if you so choose.

We recommend scanning pictures of individual items/plates as it can take up to a minute for Meal Snap to determine what it’s looking at and calculate a range of calories. While testing the app, we took a picture of a plate of cupcakes and MealSnap had trouble identifying it (perhaps others don’t eat entire plates of cupcakes?), but then snapped a pic of a single cupcake and it returned an appropriate amount of calories. This is an easy to use and clever app that can make you more aware of the calories you consume on a daily basis. Meal Snap is available on Apple devices for $0.99.

Price: $2.99 on iTunes

Pic Healthy

MedHelp in conjunction with GE Healthyimagination brings you the crowdsourcing equivalent of healthy eating with this purely social app. Take a photo of what you’re eating, rate its healthiness, and then share it out for your friends and family to see. They can either support your healthy eating choice, or boo your poor decision by voting on what you ate.

You get points when your friends or family rate your meal as healthy. Or, you can earn honesty points for owning up to eating something “bad” and rating the food appropriately. Similar to Instagram, you can follow and rate other member’s food choices or make note of a particular picture of a meal that you like.

Price: free on iTunes and Google Play

Weight Watchers

While often thought of as a dieting site, this app makes understanding your food choices easier by tracking your daily food consumption and assessing how much of the good and the bad that you’re eating on a daily basis. There’s a community aspect to the app so you can see how others are doing and feel a sense that you’re not tracking your food alone.

For those of you with iPhones updated to iOS 8, the app can draw from the integrated Health app for activity and movement tracking. This replaces you having to manually enter your daily physical activity. For all users, you must be subscribed to Weight Watchers Online to use the app’s weight loss tools.

Price: free on iTunes and Google Play

This article was written by Heidi Leder and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME

The 5 Best Boutique Shopping Sites for Finding Holiday Gifts

Retailers Hope For A Good Christmas Despite The Current Economic Gloom
In this photo illustration sales assistant Sandra Stewardson wraps gift boxes of chocolates in her shop giftsandchocolates.com in the rural town of Ludlow in Shropshire on December 8, 2011 in Ludlow, England. Christopher Furlong—Getty Images

There's much more than just Etsy

Looking for unique holidays gifts but don’t have time to tromp all over in search of the perfect whatsit? Online boutiques bring you locally made, handcrafted goods from shops across the world with all the convenience of the Internet. Your purchases support local businesses, yet you never need to step away from your computer.

The best known is Etsy, which offers a huge selection. But there are other wonderful lesser-known options. Check out our favorite niche e-boutiques. All offer something distinctive to satisfy and amuse even the pickiest people on your holiday shopping list.

1. Delicacies from around the nation

Goldbely.com specializes in “all things delicious” from across the United States. Whether you’re curious about the Texas Trash Pie from Round Top, Texas, a handmade latke (potato pancake) from Los Angeles or a St.-Louis-style thin-crust pizza, you can try them all without setting foot on the road. Filter goodies by taste profiles, such as BBQ, chocolate or gluten-free, or by season or even region.

Many of Goldbely’s offerings are free to ship, but the site may charge additional fees for particular items, express delivery or based on the number of merchants you’re ordering from. Currently, Goldbely ships only to U.S. addresses.

2. Recycling never looked so fashionable

Hipcycle.com specializes in upcycled products from dishware to jewelry to apparel to shelving. You can shop by traditional materials, like glass turned into drink pitchers, or the unusual, like tires turned into handbags or fire hoses turned into iPhone sleeves.

Hipcycle’s products come from all over the world, made by small business that make products from reclaimed materials. Since all items are recycled, no piece is identical to another. Most orders ship for $7.95, and most orders over $49 ship for free; the site doesn’t offer international shipping or expedited shipping and only ships to the United States.

3. Support global artisans

TenThousandVillages.com sells handcrafted items from artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It’s a project of the World Fair Trade Organization, which works to improve the livelihood of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries, encouraging artisans to craft responsibly with recycled materials or environmentally friendly processes.

Ten Thousand Villages sells items like handmade scarves from Bolivia, gazelle masks from Burkina Faso and shea butter from Ghana. Shop for gifts by interest, such as gifts for foodies, earth lovers or art lovers.

Shipping options range from traditional ground shipping to UPS next-day air. Ten Thousand Villages ships only to U.S. addresses, but shoppers in Canada can shop at TenThousandVillages.ca.

4. Who doesn’t have a geek in the family?

ThinkGeek.com is the perfect e-boutique store for every sci-fi devotee, comic book lover and fantasy fanatic, offering collectibles, home and office items, electronics and even survival gear. Get a Game of Thrones Iron Throne ornament for your George R. R. Martin-lovin’ cousin or an exact replica of the Doctor Who Gallifreyan multipurpose tool (sonic screwdriver) for your Matt Smith-diehard sister.

ThinkGeek’s standard shipping starts at $6.95, and it’s free for orders more than $75. The site also offers expedited and express shipping for $12.95 and $24.95, respectively.

5. Retro/kitschy/unique goodness

ShopPlasticland.com sells the kitschy, retro and unusual goods you never knew you wanted — everything from a unicorn bust to a skull-shaped box painted gold. Add a retro-inspired pencil dress to your shopping cart for your friend who watches a little too much Mad Men, or get the Poe-inspired Nevermore raven bookends for the literature fan in the family.

Plasticland offers standard flat-rate shipping for $7.95 and free standard shipping for qualifying orders more than $75. Items may be shipped to to the United States or more than 250 destinations worldwide.

This article was written by Kaitlyn Wells and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Gadgets

These Are the Best TVs You Can Buy Under $500

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Man standing in shop surrounded by televisions Peter Cade—Getty Images

New, low-cost models offer the best deals of the year

Looking for a new TV but on a strict under-$500 budget? Want a large screen model that you don’t need to squint at from across the room?

There’s good news. Two recent models from Vizio — the 42-inch M422i-B1 and the 48-inch E480i-B2 — deliver an excellent picture and a robust set of Smart TV features for less than $500. Each is an LED LCD set with full array LED backlighting and local dimming, features usually found only in much more expensive models, providing darker blacks and great contrast, and less of the light bleed around the edges of standard edge-lit displays.

You’ll also get built-in Wi-Fi and an array of Smart TV apps, such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Amazon and more. The M-Series remote even has a full QWERTY keyboard on the back, making it far easier to search for movies or shows by name. And Vizio doesn’t short you on HDMI ports, either (an annoying problem on so many low-priced sets), with 3 HDMI ports on the E480i-B2 and 4 on the M422i-B1.

Across the board, professional reviewers have been admirers of both model lines. CNET’s David Katzmaeir gave each 4 out of 5 stars in his detailed evaluations. And Reviewed.com said the E-Series “might be the TV deal of the year.” Actual owners have also been happy, awarding both the M- and E-Series 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 4.2 out of 5 stars (E-Series) and 4.6 out of 5 stars (M-Series) on Best Buy.

Other TVs at this price point (of which there are few real options) fail to measure up. The 47-inch LG Electronics 47LB5900 gets a strong 4.4 out of 5 star review from owners on Amazon, but is dinged on rtings.com for its poor contrast ratio and motion blur issues. The 46-inch Samsung UN46H6203 comes close to the Vizio on picture quality, but you get two fewer inches versus the Vizio, sluggish app performance, only 2 HDMI ports and slightly lower Amazon ratings. (3.8 out of 5 stars.)

The choice between the M-Series or E-Series comes down to whether you value the larger screen for your buck with the E-Series versus a marginally better image along with the convenience of a full QWERTY keyboard on the remote on the M-Series. Whichever way you go, you’ll be getting far more TV than would have been available a year ago for under $500.

This post was written by Josh Kirschner and originally appeared on Techlicious. More from Techlicious:

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TIME Security

Watch Out For These 3 Holiday Online Shopping Scams

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Shopping online John Lamb—Getty Images

How to keep your personal info safe while you shop

The holiday deals are already rolling out with early Black Friday specials on Amazon, holiday circulars leaking online and big name retailers offering incentives to buy directly from their sites to get a jump on your gift list. But along with the amazing Internet deals come the scammers with new and inventive ways to trick you into handing over your credit card number and personal information.

Here are three of the biggest scams to watch out for this holiday shopping season:

1. Incredible discounts from unknown site

Not every site offering a great deal is up to no good, but the more amazing the offer, the more wary you should be. Entering your credit card info won’t get you that great gift on a bogus site, but it will get the scammers your credit card info and address which, will allow them to start racking up charges.

These sites can also lure you in by offering not products, but coupons for popular gifts. If you find yourself having to enter a lot of personal information to get the coupon, reconsider if it’s worth it.

What to look for: Watch out for sites with strangely spelled names (i.e. Taarget.com). Be wary of ridiculously discounted deals on high price items like iPads or hard to get items like the hot toy of the season. And when using a lesser known site, use a unique password if you have to sign up for an account to purchase.

2. Malicious links in text, email or Facebook feeds

Your digital life will be targeted in a number of ways to get you to click on a link that will download spyware or a malicious program designed to capture your passwords and other personal information. These will come in the form of offers for great deals in your inbox, on your mobile phone via text messages and on Facebook from shady accounts. Also beware the emails telling you a package you didn’t order is being delivered.

What to look for: Carefully check the source of the link. Even if it’s from someone you know, if you didn’t know it was coming, contact them first to make sure they sent it. If it’s from an unknown source and offers an amazing deal, you can bet that it’s a scam.

3. Bogus gift card offers

This popular stocking stuffer is a vehicle for a common Internet scam. It involves an email or text saying you’ve qualified for a deep discount on a gift card ($10 for a $25 card!) But the site it takes you to asks for extensive personal information. Enough for scammers to get into your bank account, for example.

What to look for: This one is straightforward, don’t click on any links for amazing deals. Also, be wary if you come across any sites that offer gift cards at unheard of prices.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
If you think you’ve clicked on a link that downloaded something malicious to your device, immediately run a virus scanning program. This is especially true if you are on your mobile phone or tablet. Those devices aren’t immune to scamware, even iPhones and iPads.

If you given your credit card information to a site you think may be shady, call your credit card company immediately and alert them. They will put a watch on your card for suspicious activity.

In general, stick to the well-known sites, don’t click on an links from unfamiliar sources and don’t be duped into giving up extensive personal information to get a good deal.

This article was written by Dan O’Halloran and originally appeared on Techlicious. More from Techlicious:

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These Are the Best Turkey Fryers You Can Buy This Thanksgiving

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Turkey Frying in an Outdoor Deep Fryer Thomas Shortell—Getty Images

Get your cranberry sauce ready

If you’re looking for a change of pace from the typical roast turkey, frying is a great way to go. You’ll get moist meat, extra-crispy skin and tons of flavor—at least if you use the right fryer. The wrong models will simply leave you with a greasy mess and a soggy bird. I reviewed the options available on the market and identified three that are the top performers in their categories.

For traditional outdoor deep frying, the Bayou Classic 3025 30-Quart Aluminum Turkey Fryer Pot & Bayou Classic Single Burner Patio Stove is the way to go. No other model gives you the results this one will as far as a crispy bird and short cooking time. Just be prepared to shell out for about three gallons of peanut oil and brave the cold while it cooks. (Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in warm weather environs.)

Want to do your frying indoors? The Masterbuilt 23011014 Butterball Indoor Gen III Electric Fryer does its job, while you stay warm. And for oil-less “frying,” the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill gives a better-than-roasted result without the cost and mess from gallons of oil.

Best Turkey Fryer: Bayou Classic 3025 30-Quart Aluminum Turkey Fryer Pot with Accessories & Bayou Classic Single Burner Patio Stove

This combo from Bayou gives you exactly what you need for proper turkey frying at a very affordable price. The 30-quart pot is large enough to hold up to a 20lb turkey. It includes the accessories you’ll need, including a 12-inch stainless-steel thermometer for maintaining oil temperature and a rack and hook for moving the turkey. The companion Bayou Patio Stove is made from a heavy-duty steel frame and has four legs for extra stability. (Many burners have a three-leg configuration.) It runs on standard propane tanks.

Owners on Amazon love both products, giving each 4.4 out of 5 stars. And this combo was also the top pick from The Sweethome. Would work well for a lobster boil in the summer, too!

Best Indoor Turkey Fryer: Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Gen III Electric Fryer

Standing outside in sub-freezing weather is not my idea of fun. And if it’s raining on Thanksgiving, an outdoor fryer is completely out of the question. The Masterbuilt 23011014 Butterball Indoor Gen III Electric Fryer gives you results that are a step below the Bayou in terms of crispiness, but makes up for that with convenience, including thermostat temperature control and a front drain valve for easily removing the oil. And hey, you can actually talk to your party guests while the turkey is frying! The Butterball Gen III comes in two sizes: large for turkeys up to 14lbs and X-large, for turkeys up to 20 pounds.

Consumer Reports was very fond of the Butterball Fryer’s performance in its testing and Amazon reviewers give it an excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars. And the Butterball Fryer can be used as a deep fryer year-round to give your arteries a constant workout.

Best Oil-less Turkey Fryer: Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill

Okay, I get it. If it’s “oil-less,” it’s not really frying. But the “infrared” heating of the Char-Broil Big Easy, powered by propane, provides a better-than-roasted result in faster time, just like frying — all while saving you the calories, cost and mess from gallons of peanut oil. And the 25lb capacity is larger than either of the frying models. It’s also the most versatile of the “fryers,” doubling as a grill or smoker.

Serious Eats tested the smaller model of the Char-Broil Big Easy (16lb capacity, roasting only, no smoker or grill) with solid results. And Amazon reviewers love the larger model, too, giving the Char-Broil Big Easy 4.6 out of 5 stars.

This article was written by Josh Kirschner and originally appeared on Techlicious. More from Techlicious:

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TIME Security

These Are the Top 10 Telemarketer Area Codes

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Young man in call center Richard Drury—Getty Images

You're most likely to get spam calls from these area codes

Do you get a little pang of anxiety whenever your phone gets called from an unfamiliar, unlisted phone number? Personally, I always do. These calls could be from an important business contact, so I try to answer them when I can. But more often than not, they’re just nuisance spam calls.

Thankfully, there are ways to spot a spam call before you pick up the phone. Recently, the folks at Whitepages analyzed the 2.5 billion calls and texts routed through its Caller ID app to look for patterns that might identify telemarketers. They found that some area codes are home to far more spam callers than others, and came up with a listing of the top 10 spam area codes in the United States.

Aside from the popularly used toll-free number exchanges (800, 866, 877, 888, 855), the top spam area code is Detroit’s 313. Houston’s 713, Fort Lauderdale’s 954 and Atlanta’s 404 are also popular homes to telemarketer phone banks. The full list is as follows:

1. 313 – Detroit
2. 713 – Houston
3. 954 – Fort Lauderdale
4. 404 – Atlanta
5. 484 – Eastern and Southeastern Pennsylvania
6. 407 – Orlando
7. 214 – Dallas
8. 202 – Washington, D.C.
9. 972 – Dallas
10. 205 – Birmingham

These cities aren’t necessarily home to more spammers and scammers than others — just their phone exchanges are. These days, it’s easy for people to register and use phone numbers in virtually any area code regardless of location, so long as numbers are left available. A shrinking city like Detroit has a large number of unused phone numbers in its 313 bank, so there are plenty of lines for spammers to access. An established area code like New York City’s prestigious 212, meanwhile, has no phone numbers left to be registered and is thus is an unlikely source for telemarketing calls.

There are a wide number of technological solutions for stopping telemarketers beyond avoiding calls from a certain area code. Registering your phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov is the best place to start. Smartphone owners can also download the Truecaller app, which automatically flags calls from known spammers. You should check out our How to Block Telemarketers guide for more tips, apps and carrier options. And, of course, the best offense is always a good defense, so be aware of the top 7 ways telemarketers get your cell phone number.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious. More from Techlicious:

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TIME Security

What To Do When Your Email Gets Hacked

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Person typing on a laptop. Benjamin Howell—Getty Images

First thing's first: Change your password

Last week, I got an email from a friend urging me to check out an amazing page. Between the grammatical errors and a link obviously pointing to a server somewhere in Russia, it was obvious that my friend’s email account had been hacked.

When I checked in with her another way, she already knew about the problem—the hacker’s message had gone out to her entire address book—and she was quite concerned. So I walked her through the steps for getting everything back in order.

Step #1: Change your password.

The very first thing you should do is keep the hacker from getting back into your email account. Change your password to a strong password that is not related to your prior password; if your last password was billyjoe1, don’t pick billyjoe2—and if your name is actually BillyJoe, you shouldn’t have been using your name as your password in the first place.

Try using a meaningful sentence as the basis of your new password. For example, “I go to the gym in the morning” turns into “Ig2tGYMitm” using the first letter of each word in the sentence, mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and replacing the word “to” with “2.”

Step #2: Reclaim your account.

If you’re lucky, the hacker only logged into your account to send a mass email to all of your contacts.

If you’re not so lucky, the hacker changed your password too, locking you out of your account. If that’s the case, you’ll need to reclaim your account, usually a matter of using the “forgot your password” link and answering your security questions or using your backup email address.

Check out the specific recommendations for reclaiming possession of your account for Gmail, Outlook.com and Hotmail, Yahoo! and AOL.

Step #3: Enable two-factor authentication.

Set your email account to require a second form of authentication in addition to your password whenever you log into your email account from a new device. When you log in, you’ll also need to enter a special one-time use code the site will text to your phone or generated via an app.

Check out two-step authentication setup instructions for Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Hotmail and Yahoo!. AOL doesn’t support two-factor authentication yet.

Step #4: Check your email settings.

Sometimes hackers might change your settings to forward a copy of every email you receive to themselves, so they can watch for any emails containing login information for other sites. Check your mail forwarding settings to ensure no unexpected email addresses have been added.

Next, check your email signature to see if the hacker added a spammy signature that will continue to peddle their dubious wares even after they’ve been locked out.

Last, check to make sure the hackers haven’t turned on an auto-responder, turning your out-of-office notification into a spam machine.

Step #5: Scan your computer for malware.

Run a full scan with your anti-malware program. You do have an anti-malware program on your computer, right? If not, download the free version of Malwarebytes and run a full scan with it. I recommend running Malwarebytes even if you already have another anti-malware program; if the problem is malware, your original program obviously didn’t stop it, and Malwarebytes has resolved problems for me that even Symantec’s Norton Internet Security wasn’t able to resolve. Scan other computers you log in from, such as your work computer, as well.

If any of your scans detect malware, fix it and then go back and change your email password again. (When you changed it in step #1, the malware was still on your computer.)

Step #6: Find out what else has been compromised.

My mother-in-law once followed the ill-advised practice of storing usernames and passwords for her various accounts in an email folder called “Sign-ups.” Once the hacker was into her email, he easily discovered numerous other logins.

Most of us have emails buried somewhere that contain this type of information. Search for the word “password” in your mailbox to figure out what other accounts might have been compromised. Change these passwords immediately; if they include critical accounts such as bank or credit card accounts, check your statements to make sure there are no suspicious transactions.

It’s also a good idea to change any other accounts that use the same username and password as your compromised email. Spammers are savvy enough to know that most people reuse passwords for multiple accounts, so they may try your login info in other email applications and on PayPal and other common sites.

Step #7: Humbly beg for forgiveness from your friends.

Let the folks in your contacts list know that your email was hacked and that they should not open any suspicious emails or click on any links in any email(s) that recently received from you. Most people will probably have already figured out that you were not really the one recommending they buy Viagra from an online pharmacy in India—but you know, everyone has one or two friends who are a little slower to pick up on these things.

Step #8: Prevent it from happening again.

While large-scale breaches are one way your login information could be stolen—this summer, Russian criminals stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords—they’re certainly not the only way. Many cases are due to careless creation or protection of login information.

Last year, Google released a study that reveals most people choose passwords based on readily available information, making their accounts hackable with a few educated guesses. Easy passwords make for easy hacking, and spammers use programs that can cycle through thousands of logins every second to identify weak accounts.

Picking a strong password is your best protection from this type of hacking. It also is prudent to use a different password for each site or account, or, at the very least, use a unique password for your email account, your bank account and any other sensitive accounts. If you’re concerned about keeping track of your passwords, find a password management program to do the work for you.

In my friend’s case, her passwords were pretty good and there was no malware on her computer. But she was careless about where she was logging in. On a recent trip overseas, she used the computer in her hotel lobby to check her email. That was a bad idea.

Computers in hotel lobbies, libraries and other public places are perfect locations for hackers to install key-logging programs. The computers are often poorly secured and get used by dozens of people every day who don’t think twice about logging into their email or bank accounts or entering credit card information to make a purchase. The best practice is to assume that any public computer is compromised and proceed accordingly.

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME How-To

6 Ways To Save Tons of Money Shopping on Amazon This Holiday Season

Inside An Amazon.com Distribution Center On Cyber Monday
An employee loads a truck with boxes to be shipped at the Amazon.com Inc. distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Try the virtual bargain bins, for example

One of the best places to find a deal online is Amazon. However, not everything is the bargain it appears to be. Just as in the offline world, doing a little research pays.

Check out these tips to ensure you’re getting a great deal while navigating the virtual aisles at Amazon:

1. Shop the bargain bins

Look for what you want in the bargain bins, found through a link named “Today’s Deals” at the top of every Amazon page. On the Today’s Deals landing page, you’ll find the Best Deals section loaded with bargains in every category, the Lightning Deals section with time-sensitive sales—lasting four hours or until the item is sold out—on products from a specific category like automotive or electronics, and a Deal of the Day discount of up to 75% off a single item that changes daily.

On Fridays, find one-day discounts on even more products by clicking on the Friday Sale link at the top of the Today’s Deal’s page, where it’s adjacent to two more links worth using: those to Amazon’s Outlet Center and Warehouse Deals pages.

2. Use a price checker browser plug-in

Don’t assume that any of Amazon’s prices are the lowest available anywhere, especially if the seller is a third-party store. We’ve seen stores on Amazon sell products for as much as twice the retail price, often for products that are outdated or even obsolete.

Check other retailers’ prices and prices at specialty websites—Best Buy for electronics or Home Depot for tools, for example. If it is a hard-to-find item and you really MUST have it at any price, go ahead—at least you’re making an educated choice. Using a browser plug-in like InvisibleHand (for Firefox and Chrome) can make this process easy. When you’re browsing on Amazon, the plug-in will display a notification pop up with the price and location of the better deal if it knows of one.

3. Check the suggested retail price

Know what the real suggested retail price is of the product. Whether by design or error, it’s not that unusual to see inflated retail pricing so your discount appears higher than it actually is.

4. Use a price tracking browser plug-in

If you find an item at Amazon and you’re hoping the price will fall later, consider using the CamelCamelCamel plugin for Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Once installed, you’ll see a graph showing the Amazon price history, if it’s available. You can also sign up to receive email alerts if the price drops below a level.

5. Check out the seller

Look carefully at who is selling and who is shipping the item you want. An item may be shipped by Amazon on behalf of another seller with a returns or exchange policy that is different from Amazon’s—and not to your liking. Items that are both sold and shipped by Amazon will be tagged as eligible for “Super Saver Shipping” or for free shipping via “Amazon Prime” (a pre-paid premium membership plan).

And check out a seller’s feedback rating before buying. If the seller has very few reviews or a satisfaction rating less than 90%, you may want to take your business elsewhere.

6. Use Super Saver Shipping

Super Saver shipping is available only if the total value of everything you’re buying at once is $35 or more—but being just shy of that minimum can push the cost with shipping charges past the price of the item elsewhere. In this case, check out Filler Item Finder. This site suggest items on Amazon priced at exactly the amount you need—or slightly higher—to bring your order to $35. You can sort your results by category, including books, music, groceries and more.

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