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Computer Advice and Answers to Reader Questions



 



Can you recommend a home security system that doesn't require a monitoring contract?

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0700

The DIY home security market has exploded with Internet connected devices that can monitor just about anything in or around your home.If you’re willing to be the ‘monitoring company’ via your smartphone, there are numerous options that range from complete systems to various individual devices that can be used to create your own custom system.Self-monitoring means that if you sleep through an alert on your smartphone in the middle of the night, you won’t know about it until you wake up the next morning.It also means that you will have to decide when to call the police or 911 based on what you are seeing on your smartphone.Wired vs. WirelessYour first step is to access the areas that you want to monitor to determine if you have electrical power and wired or wireless Internet access.As Internet access goes, opting for wired devices over wireless devices can eliminate a common point of failure when Wi-Fi issues arise.Devices that plug directly into an electrical outlet also eliminate the possibility of a battery failure, but it can also limit where you are able to install devices.Complete SystemsIf you have a smaller home or apartment, you may be able to use one of the all-in-one solutions such as Canary (https://canary.is) or the upcoming Angee (https://meetangee.com).These single device security systems are simple to setup and can monitor motion, sound, temperature, and humidity while providing video streaming to show you what it’s seeing.  The primary device can monitor your primary living space with various sensor options for extending the monitoring area if needed.The popular SimpliSafe (https://simplisafe.com) platform offers a much larger variety of monitoring sensors that are still simple to setup because they’re all wireless. While they don’t require you to pay for their optional $15 per month monitoring service, you won’t get the full functionality such as controlling everything from your smartphone unless you do.  Their monitoring is month-to-month, so you have the flexibility to turn it on while you’re on vacation and discontinue upon your return.Lowe’s Iris platform (https://irisbylowes.com) offers a similar package including the ability to manage your devices remotely via your smartphone without having to pay for one of their monitoring packages.One of the more complete systems with a lot of options for tinkerers is from iSmartAlarm (https://ismartalarm.com) because it works with Amazon’s Alexa and the IFTTT platform (https://ifttt.com).Individual Device OptionsThere are a plethora of camera-based monitoring systems that range from the Ring Doorbell, Spot and Floodlight Cams (https://ring.com) to Nest Cams (https://nest.com/cameras) which can work with their optional alarm sensors (https://nest.com/alarm-system).For those needing completely wireless security cameras, both Arlo (https://arlo.com) and Blink (https://blinkforhome.com) offer wire-free devices so you can put them virtually anywhere you have a Wi-Fi signal.  The batteries generally last 1 to 2 years and both companies offer weatherproof options for outdoor use.If your Wi-Fi signal range is an issue, don’t forget about my previous suggestion to upgrade to a ‘mesh network’: https://goo.gl/MMbSuu [...]



Is it time for me to invest in Bitcoin and if so, where can I learn more?

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have long been the domain of the tech-savvy and rather confusing for the average consumer.  The confusion continues for most people, but with the massive increase in the value of Bitcoin since the beginning of the year, it’s getting a lot of people’s attention.

A single Bitcoin was valued at just under $1000 on January 1st of this year and by the end of November, it has popped up over $10,000 with new highs being reached almost daily.

I did a TV news segment in 2011 to try to help explain this ‘new currency’ (https://goo.gl/rNBiR6) and almost bought one just for the story. At that time, a single Bitcoin was valued at just over $3 – my loss!

It’s not surprising that anyone that simply looks at this at face value would consider it an investment opportunity, but this is far from anything resembling a traditional investment.

Wildly Volatile

Bitcoin has been extremely volatile from the beginning, with extreme changes to the value both up and down being commonplace.

Because there is no central bank, virtually any news story surrounding the use of Bitcoin from anywhere in the world can quickly impact the value.  In 2013 for instance, the value dropped in half overnight because of a change made by China’s largest Bitcoin exchange (https://goo.gl/Dkt3Yn).

There have been Bitcoin exchanges that have been hacked, shutdown by governments or in some cases, simply disappeared with the funds, so it’s far from a normal currency.  There are now more stable exchanges such as Coinbase (https://coinbase.com) backed by banks, large venture capital firms and even the New York Stock Exchange

The current run up has many predicting a crash, but the reality is that we are in uncharted waters when it comes to cryptocurrency.  Anyone that claims to know where all this is going is simply speculating based on traditional financial models, which really don’t apply to this new phenomenon.

But, with the massive acceleration in value of Bitcoin in such a short period of time, it’s easy to see why so many ‘experts’ are calling it a bubble that’s bound to burst.

Various Ways to Invest

Jumping into the frenzy and buying a fraction of one Bitcoin is just one way of getting started, but based on what has transpired recently, that seems very risky.

There are other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin that are substantially cheaper to buy such as Ethereum and Litecoin.  Coinbase makes it easy to buy any of them via their app if that’s your preferred method of investing/gambling.

There’s a decent chance that you’ll be able to invest through an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) sometime in 2018 which will spread your risk over many different cryptocurrencies and the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) recently announced that it plans to offer Bitcoin futures and options in the near future.

Educate Yourself

Whatever you decide to do, educating yourself is essential.  There are many ‘beginner’s guides’ available online, so if you have a favorite financial resource, search their website first.




What do I need to do about the new Bluetooth issue?

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) A recent security whitepaper published by Armis Labs revealed a new way that many Bluetooth enabled devices can be compromised and exploited dubbed ‘BlueBorne’.

The potential threat exists for Android, iOS, Windows and Linux devices as well as many common household gadgets often referred to as IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

What Is BlueBorne?

The name ‘BlueBorne’ was used to reflect the attack method, which is through the air targeting the very common Bluetooth connection.

What makes this particular attack so disconcerting is that it doesn’t require the user to do anything in order to become a victim; they simply need to have their Bluetooth radio turned on.

“Even if the device is locked, the BlueBorne exploit can compromise the device” according to Michael Parker of Armis.

The exploit simply ‘bullies’ its way into connecting without the usual pairing process that we’re all used to performing when connecting via Bluetooth.

Once a remote attacker gains access via the BlueBorne vulnerability, they can do just about anything they want to the device without the user ever seeing anything happening.

Who’s At Risk?

The biggest risk is to users with older mobile devices running older operating systems.

iPhone and iPad users that are running iOS 9.3.5 or lower are vulnerable (Apple fixed the vulnerability with iOS 10 and higher).

Android users have a more complicated path to figure out whether they are vulnerable because there are so many variations of the OS that can be impacted by both the phone maker and your wireless carrier.

To make things easier, Armis has created a free app called “Armis BlueBorne Scanner” which is available in the Google Play store: https://goo.gl/bNa5A6

Once the app is installed, you simply click on the ‘Tap To Check’ button to scan your device for the vulnerability.

If your device is deemed safe, the app will provide an option to ‘Check Devices Around Me’, which when tapped will scan your immediate environment for potentially vulnerable devices (which could include your neighbors devices if you are close enough).

Steps To Protecting Yourself

Remember, this is primarily an issue of older operating systems, so making sure you have the most recent updates on all your devices will be all the protection you need.


A quick way to check for available updates on most mobile devices is by going to the ‘Settings’ menu and either look for a ‘Software Update’ or check the ‘General’ or ‘About Device’ menu for the update option.

If for any reason you can’t get an update for your device to fix this problem, turning off the Bluetooth option, especially when you’re in a public setting would be advisable until you do get it updated.

The Good News

The good news on this threat is that it requires the attacker to be relatively close (under 30 feet) and Armis has yet to see this attack being used ‘in the wild’.


Having said that, because this attack is so stealthy, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that since it’s now a known method, it will start being used without victims knowing that it’s happening. Make sure you have the most current update on all your Bluetooth enabled devices to best protect yourself.




How does the new Google Pixel 2 XL compare to the Samsung S8+?

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) With Samsung’s release of the S8/S8+ in April, they brought a unique eye-catching design packed with new features and screens to market that quickly made it a top seller.

Google’s much anticipated Pixel 2 phones (which is a Verizon exclusive) was expected to compete at this highest tier with Samsung’s flagship and it does.

Screen Comparison

Both of these devices have large advanced OLED displays (s8+ 6.2” / Pixel 2 XL 6”) with no physical buttons, which pushes the viewable area to the edges. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology means that the individual pixels can be turned on or off, which creates brighter colors and darker blacks over traditional LCD displays.

Samsung uses curved edges on the sides in a slightly narrower form factor, which makes it a little easier to use for those with small hands while reducing the bezel to almost nothing.

The Pixel 2 XL’s pOLED is excellent, but the S8+’s Super AMOLED display when compared side-by-side with the same image is noticeably better.

Camera Comparison

Both devices have 12MP rear facing and 8MP front facing cameras with the S8+ having a slightly wider aperture (f/1.7 vs f/1.8) which can make a slight difference in low lighting settings.

They both offer HDR options, but the Pixel 2 offers HDR+ Enhanced mode for those shots that have a large ratio of light to dark.  HDR essentially uses multiple images at various exposures and combines them for better images.

The Pixel 2’s advanced camera technology and features will appeal to hardcore smartphone photographers that includes free, unlimited storage of all your videos and photos in their original quality via Google Photos.

Additional Considerations

They both have fingerprint scanners on the back, but the S8+ has it right next to your rear camera lens, so you’ll need to make sure you clean your camera lens regularly as you’ll put your finger on it often.

The S8+ has glass on the front and back, which we managed to crack on our test unit fairly quickly, so I’d highly recommend a case. The glass allows the S8+ to use wireless charging with an additional accessory, which the Pixel 2 XL doesn’t offer.

The S8+ also allows you to expand the base storage with a MicroSD slot (up to 256GB) while the Pixel 2 XL is fixed at either 64 or 128GB of storage.

The S8+ has a slightly higher water resistance rating (IP68 vs IP67) but both are designed to survive total immersion in water for short periods of time.

The Pixel XL 2 has gone the same route as Apple and eliminated the headphone jack, so you’ll either need to use the included USB-C adapter or use Bluetooth headphones.

The Pixel 2 XL uses the Google Assistant, which can be activated by slightly squeezing the phone on the sides, while Samsung has their own attempt at a personal assistant called Bixby which you can’t remove - I prefer Google Assistant, which you can also download to the S8+ but Bixby will always be lurking in the background.

They’re both excellent phones, so think about the differences that I’ve outlined to see which fits your needs the best.




Is it safe to install iOS 11 and if I do, can I uninstall it if I don't like it?

Wed, 8 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) Apple routinely releases a new version of its operating system, better known as iOS, whenever it introduces new phones.

iOS 11, which is the most recent major update, was released on September 19th followed by a minor updates on September 26th (11.0.1), October 3rd (11.0.2), October 11th (11.0.3) and October 31st (11.1).

As of this writing, 11.2 is in beta testing and should be released in the near future as the common complaint of reduced battery performance seems to have cropped up as it has with many past versions.

Understanding Build Numbers

This version numbering sequence (build number) is a general way to denote improvements over previous versions.


With this being the 11th major version of iOS, we have seen a pattern with every new release that is helpful to understand.

When you see the first number change, say from 10 to 11, you’ll know that it’s major update with a lot of new features.  With major updates come lots of undiscovered bugs and security issues which quickly become exposed as millions of eager users install and use the update.

When you see a version change from X.0 to X.0.1, this usually indicates a very minor update usually focused on bug and/or security fixes.  When you see a change from X.0 to X.1, this usually indicated a relatively minor update often accompanied by a feature update or two along with the bug/security fixes.

If you look at the update history of all 11 versions of iOS, you’ll see that it’s not uncommon for the version to go through a large number of updates until the final version is released.

iOS 10, for instance, had eleven different updated before it settled on 10.3.3 as the finalized version.

Minimizing Issues

For the most part, if you look back at the historical update patterns, waiting until you see version 11.2 or 11.3 would greatly reduce your chances of being part of the ‘guinea pig’ pool that helps Apple identify issues and bugs.

No Going Back

In the first couple of weeks of the iOS 11 release, there were ways to revert back to iOS 10.3.3 if things were not going well, but they were pretty involved and required you to have a proper backup before upgrading.

As of October 3rd, Apple made a change to how it addresses reverting which made it impossible to go back to iOS 10 once you’ve gone to iOS 11, so there is no going back.

General Rule of Thumb

As with any update, not everyone is going to experience issues because we’re all essentially running a unique combination of hardware and apps.

Before you install any iOS update, you can always click on the link in the description to see what new features are being added and what bugs or security issues are being addressed.  If the new features aren’t that compelling (like new emoji) or you’re not experiencing any issues listed, holding off on the update makes sense unless Apple expressly denotes that it’s a serious security patch.




What exactly is the 'deep web' and how to you get to it?

Wed, 1 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) Despite many representations of a nefarious underground operating out of sight, the deep web is actually mostly benign private databases and web resources not meant to be accessed by the general public.

The ‘surface web’ is essentially what can be indexed by search engines like Google or Bing, while the ‘deep web’ consists of items that can’t be accessed using a search engine through a standard web browser.

Protected Internet databases like those for banks, anything past a log in screen, like your private files stored in the cloud and data stored by private companies aren’t indexed by search engines. Websites can also specifically tell the search engines that they don’t want to be indexed making them relatively ‘invisible’ to the average user.

Most estimates put the deep web in the 90% range of the entire Internet because so much of what is stored online is protected information that requires some form of authentication or knowledge of a hidden web address.

The Dark Web

There is a very small percentage of the deep web where secret and sometimes nefarious activity is taking place, often referred to as the ‘dark web’ or the ‘darknet’. The tools used to access the dark web focus on anonymity by incorporating encryption and specialized privacy browsers like Tor.

Tor, also known as ‘The Onion Router’, uses a large network of relays to bounce Internet traffic through; it’s much like the layers of an onion, to make it much more difficult for anyone conducting any type of surveillance to see who is doing what.

The core technology used in Tor was actually developed by the US Naval Research Lab in the mid 90’s for use by the intelligence community for protecting online communications. To this day, Tor and other similar tools are used by governments, activists and whistleblowers to communicate anonymously.

The Tor Project states: “Tor users include ‘normal people’ who wish to keep their Internet activities private from websites and advertisers, people concerned about cyber-spying, users who are evading censorship such as activists, journalists, and military professionals.”

Using Tor alone doesn’t mean you’re completely anonymous and for most users, the trade off in slow performance isn’t worth the increase in privacy for daily surfing.

Tor’s Dark Side

Tor and other similar tools are also being used for illicit activities such as buying and selling drugs, stolen credit card numbers, stolen IDs, money laundering and more via black markets only accessible on the dark web.

One of the most famous dark web marketplaces was called Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI in 2013. The site’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Despite law enforcements attempts to control illegal underground marketplaces, when one is shut down, two more seem to pop up.

To be fair, not all dark web resources operate in an illegal manner and much of the activity taking place is vital to our law enforcement and intelligence community’s efforts.  As with any technology, it’s impossible to control its uses for only legal purposes, so as always, it’s the good with the bad.




What's your opinion of the various smart firewalls?

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0700

With the growing popularity of Internet connected devices in the home, like web cameras, thermostats, doorbells and lighting systems – often referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’ – securing those devices is a critical step in keeping them safe.‘Smart firewalls’ are an emerging category of security products designed to help users protect all their connected devices.The Latest Attack VectorIoT devices are becoming a more popular attack vector for the underworld because of their sheer numbers. Current projections expect the number of IoT devices to exceed the number of mobile phones in 2018 with an estimated 18 billion IoT devices in use by 2022.Hackers go for easy targets and with the relative lack of focus on security by both manufacturers and consumers, IoT devices are in their crosshairs.Easy to compromise devices are being ‘recruited’ to become a part of an army of devices known as a ‘botnet’ that can wreak havoc in a number of ways. Botnets allow the controller to direct thousands of devices to attack a specific website, essentially making it inaccessible to real users (aka Denial of Service attacks).Users of compromised computers and IoT devices rarely have any idea that their devices are being used for malicious purposes, which is where smart firewalls can help.The recent discovery of the KRACK Wi-Fi security hole (https://goo.gl/4qv4ur) is just another reason to take security seriously, especially since some IoT devices can’t be updated to fix newly discovered security holes.How They WorkSmart Firewalls are hardware based devices that can do a better job of managing lots of devices versus a typical software firewall. The ‘smart’ portion of the device analyses your network traffic in real time to identify threats or suspicious activity, block them and notify you of the activity.This approach to network security is common in sophisticated business networks with tech savvy administrators that know how to configure powerful routers.Smart Firewalls takes the need for tech skills out of the equation, because they’re generally pre-configured to start protecting your entire network as soon as you plug them in.Early Stage DevelopmentThe first devices in this category started appearing in just the past couple of years, so we’re in the early stages of development.Some of the early entrants like the Bitdefender Box (https://goo.gl/Rg1Yx8) are in the process of releasing their second generation products while the Cujo (https://goo.gl/AsbuhE) has received lots of praise for its ease of setup and use.Another newcomer is the Norton Core (https://goo.gl/ueewTA), which is one of the more expensive solutions that’s so new that there not much of a track record for it.Virtually every option available requires either a monthly or yearly subscription to provide their cloud based threat analysis, so make sure you include this ongoing cost in your comparisons.There are devices that don’t require a subscription, such as the RATtrap (https://goo.gl/ztL6sT), but some users have complained about slower Internet speeds and it won’t work with modem/router combo devices.This category of devices is so new, I’m personally going to wait a little while to see how things shake out before committing to any of the platforms.[...]



What should I be doing to protect myself from the new Wi-Fi hacking problem?

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) Wireless Internet access has always been more vulnerable to unauthorized access than a wired connection because it’s a broadcast technology.

It’s essentially broadcasting a signal which only requires that a person with ill intent be in proximity of your signal.


Security Protocols

To combat unauthorized users from accessing our private airwaves, we have had various protection protocols to choose from when we setup our routers: WEP, WPA and WPA2.

WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy was the first way of encrypting our wireless transmissions, but proved to be hackable as security flaws were discovered. Luckily, a more difficult to hack encryption was available (WPA – Wi-Fi Protected Access) when the major WEP security flaws were discovered.

As time went on, WPA became vulnerable through security flaws, but we could turn to WPA2, which is what most of us use today.

The KRACK Problem

Although WPA2 wasn’t technically “un-hackable”, it would take enough effort and time that it made random acts of hacking undesirable.

What was recently discovered by a security researcher in Belgium was a flaw that allowed this highest level of security to be compromised fairly easily.

Codenamed KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack), actually exploited the protocol in a completely different way: it didn’t target the Wi-Fi access point, but the various devices that connect to it instead.

The website that explained this proof-of-concept compromise said that virtually every device that has Wi-Fi capabilities was potentially at risk and could become a victim of everything from stolen usernames and passwords to injecting ransomware into websites.

The Good News

As scary as this sounds, there are a few hurdles that will make this exploit more difficult to pull off.

First off, the hacker would need to be near enough to you to access your Wi-Fi signal, so it eliminates the remote hacking options that the skilled underworld prefers.

This exploit primarily takes advantage of interactions with unsecured sites (http://), so whenever you see https:// in the website you’re accessing or you use a secured app on your phone, there is yet another layer of security that they would have to break.

Most of today’s browsers automatically attempt to connect via https:// when it’s available, but if you want to play it safe, you can add a browser plug in called HTTP Everywhere (https://goo.gl/4TKCnB).

The security researcher also notified companies ahead of the public announcement, so updates from Microsoft and Apple have already created updates for the exploit.


Update Everything!

Until a new security protocol is created, WPA2 is the best we have, so continue to use it but make sure you update every device that you use for sensitive transmissions on Wi-Fi as soon as patches are made available.


A comprehensive list of technology vendors along with any information about known updates is available at: https://goo.gl/iJhJih (this is a dynamic list, so revisit it often) or check directly with your device vendor.

The Bad News

Some devices may not ever get a patch, especially older or embedded devices that have no option for updating. With the growing popularity of smart devices in the home, adding new security devices makes sense, which I’ll explain next week.




What suggestions do you have for managing the mobile devices in our business?

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0700

(image) It’s no secret that more business is being done on mobile devices then ever before, as mobile Internet access surpassed desktop usage for the first time back in November of 2016.

Since these devices have become so invaluable for conducting business, every business should be thinking about how to manage them.

Single Biggest Risk

The likelihood of a mobile device being lost or stolen is exponentially higher than a desktop computer, so planning for this eventuality is critical.

Since passwords and access codes are commonly stored in browsers and apps, anyone that gets their hands on an unprotected mobile device can instantly assume the identity of the victim and wreak major havoc.

Computers, tablets and smartphones that don’t require a password or passcode in order to use them should be strictly prohibited in any business.

Basic Protection Layers

Even with an access password enabled, a motivated thief can make their way to your sensitive data, so using some form of encryption and installing a remote tracking program provides additional layers of protection.

Apple devices running iOS 8 or higher are encrypted by default and Android users can search for ‘encryption’ in their Settings menu to activate it.

While both Apple and Google offer free tools that will allow you to track, lock down and remotely erase lost devices, they lack some of the more useful features available in third-party options.

Pictures Can Help Recovery

One of my long-standing favorites is Prey from https://PreyProject.com because it adds the ability to take screen shots on laptops as well as take pictures of the user from the camera(s) on any of your mobile devices.

This can become critical, because simply determining the general location of a device isn’t much help if it’s a huge apartment complex or a 20 story commercial building.  Your chances of getting any type of help from law enforcement goes up if you can provide more than just location information.

The free version of Prey covers up to 3 devices, but no longer includes the ability to remotely erase your data. You can either opt for their $5 a month package for that feature or use Prey along with the free tools offered by Apple or Google.

Large Scale Systems

If you have a large number of devices to manage, you’ll want a more sophisticated platform.  Prey offers customized business packages, but for a much more comprehensive set of tools, look to solutions such as AirWatch from VMware (https://goo.gl/4Fw6gM), Meraki from Cisco (https://goo.gl/V1g2Tw) or Intune from Microsoft (https://goo.gl/8gXQqt).

These tools dramatically expand your management capabilities to include limiting the mobile devices that can connect to your network, controlling what data those devices have access to and various tools that makes deploying and managing a large number of devices much more efficient.

These more sophisticated tools allow IT managers to better control what can be done when an employee is using their personal device for business without restricting their personal needs.

The cost of these more sophisticated tools can range from a per device charge (starting @$2.50 a month for AirWatch Express https://goo.gl/RUxP35) to a per user charge used by Microsoft.




Should I uninstall Kaspersky antivirus from my computer?

Thu, 5 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0700

A recent Wall Street Journal story (https://goo.gl/awrvtG) about a National Security Agency contractor that had classified documents on his home computer and was allegedly targeted because of his use of Kaspersky Lab antivirus software has once again put the Russian cyber security company in the spotlight.The article reports that the stolen classified files from 2015 included details on how the NSA compromises foreign computer networks, the code used for spying and how the agency defends domestic computer networks.The theory is that hackers used the file inventory process that Kaspersky antivirus uses to discover the sensitive files and target the contractor.Government BanIn July of this year, software from Kaspersky Lab was removed from the U.S. General Services Administration approved list and in September, the Department of Homeland Security ordered federal agencies to stop using any software made by Kaspersky Lab because of concerns about the company's ties to Russian intelligence.The founder of the company, Eugene Kaspersky has long had a cloud of uncertainty over him because of his early ties to the KGB and its replacement (the FSB).As a teenager, he studied cryptography in school and by his mid-20’s, he created an anti-virus program to protect his own computer that eventually led to Kaspersky Lab.This most recent allegation certainly makes using the company’s software even more disconcerting.Should You Remove It?Despite the companies repeated denials of any connection to the Russian government, with the plethora of security programs that don’t come with the ‘Russian baggage’, switching to another program is the safest way to go.To be realistic, the likelihood that you would somehow become the target of Russian government hackers just because you are using a Kaspersky program is pretty slim, but there’s no reason to take the chance.Alternative ProgramsThe vast majority of security programs on the market are actually from companies outside of the U.S.For example, popular programs such as AVG & Avast (Czech Republic), Bitdefender (Romania), ESET (Slovakia), F-Secure (Finland), Panda (Spain), Sophos (UK)  & Trend Micro (Japan) are all controlled by companies outside the U.S.Many in our country, because of on-going concerns about our own government’s overreach have proclaimed their preference to using a program based in another country, especially allies like Finland, the UK and Japan.Removing Kaspersky Lab ProductsThe standard way of removing programs in Windows is via Start → Control Panel → Add\Remove Programs or you can use Kaspersky’s removal tools for either Windows (https://goo.gl/apf43E) or MacOS (https://goo.gl/2wJMMk).Advanced Windows users may want to take the additional step of manually scanning the Registry to a make sure that all Kaspersky related keys have been removed (https://goo.gl/ZyH5h9).Mac users can also use the free DrCleaner app (https://goo.gl/VLJLKm) to ensure that it’s properly removed as simply dragging it to the Trash does not properly remove it.Some programs like Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security can automatically remove other programs, which makes converting a large number of computers more efficient (https://goo.gl/nXq1qv).[...]