Security threats for 2014
Q. What do you think are the biggest security threats in 2014?
A. Well, you'll still see the usual threats like viruses and phishing attacks. However, you'll also see more "watering-hole attacks." This is where a hacker slips malicious code on to a popular legitimate site. You visit a site you think is safe and you wind up infected! What to do? Keep your Windows and OS X up to date, run the latest browser and security software … and keep your fingers crossed.
How cold is too cold for gadgets?
Q. OMG it's cold out! Should I be using my smartphone outside?
A. If the temperature is below freezing, then no. That's where most manufacturers put the limit. At that point, batteries start dying and LCD screens can freeze. Plus, if you warm up the gadget too quickly, internal condensation can fry it. So keep your phones in your pockets close to your skin. You'll want to check your gadget's manual to see exactly what operating temperature the manufacturer recommends. Keep it within that range to stay safe. If you can't find the manual, you can probably find it online at a site like ManualsOnline.
Easily digitize paper records
Q. I'm often out and about for my job, and I occasionally have to digitize paper documents. Is there a better way to do this than lugging around a scanner with me?
A. If you already have a smartphone or tablet, you're set. The built-in camera can do the job. You just need an app to do the heavy lifting. CamScanner and Genius Scan are two good options. These automatically adjust exposure and perspective, and crop the image to create a quality scan. You can save the image as a JPG or save a group of images as a PDF file.
Stop smartphone snoops
Q. The "swipe to unlock" screen on my smartphone doesn't provide much security from snoopers. Is there something else I can do?
A. Activate your phone's lock screen so it requires a passcode, password or pattern to unlock. An iPhone with iOS7 will ask you to do this first thing. In Android, go to Settings>>Lock screen to set a pattern or passcode. For Windows phones, go to the Start screen and tap Settings>>Lock screen. Make sure your passcode is something other than 1-1-1-1 or 1-2-3-4.
Legitimate ways to make money online
Q. Are there really any legitimate ways to make money online, or is it just scams?
A. Be sensible. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. But there are legitimate ways to make money if you have the talent and work ethic to do it. You could try selling your photos on iStockPhoto or Shutterstock. Start a free ad-supported blog about your favorite topic with Wordpress, Tumblr or Blogger. Check out freelance jobs on sites like Elance, FreelanceSwitch or Guru.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit www.komando.com. E-mail her at email@example.com.