10 Tips to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

En español | When you access the Internet at any of the world’s 6 million public Wi-Fi hot spots — at airports, parks, businesses, hotels, wherever — assume that anything you are sending or receiving is up for grabs: your emails, photos, files, passwords, credit card numbers. According to some estimates, up to 95 percent of public hot spots are insecure because their wireless networks do not encrypt users’ Web traffic. Without encryption, which scrambles data so it’s not accessible …

Watch Your Wi-Fi! Most Devout Users Are Clueless About Risks, AARP Finds

Although some 84 percent of American adults who use the Internet access it on a daily basis, new AARP research finds that many continue to engage in risky online behaviors — especially at free Wi-Fi hot spots that are potential hotbeds for computer hacking. While a quarter of the 800 adults surveyed for the new report said they use free public Wi-Fi at least weekly, most are clueless about the potential risks. And nearly half of the respondents flunked a …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week – April 1 Edition

News, discoveries and … fun We’ve hidden a few April Fools items in 11 Things this week. Tell us which ones you think they are in Comments below — and no peeking. 1. Among the new species discovered last year is the Tinkerbell Fairyfly, in Costa Rica. (Learn more at the International Institute for Species Exploration) 2. A 1,000-year-old remedy that mixes juices from onion and garlic with bile from a cow’s stomach successfully combats the deadly MRSA superbug. (Learn more at …

A Cellphone-Only World? Not So Fast

Is the landline “good as dead”? That’s what some media outlets would have you believe from their coverage earlier this year of a report on cellphone-only households. This sensational message makes for eye-catching headlines — but a closer look reveals a different story. Most Americans Still Live in Landline Households Many U.S. households have ditched their landlines and now rely solely on cellphones, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Indeed, the data show …

AARP Debuts RealPad Tablet

AARP debuted its first-ever consumer product at the Ideas@50+ conference in San Diego last month. Called RealPad, it’s bigger than a smartphone yet smaller than a laptop computer. The tablet was designed with tech-shy people in mind, AARP says, making it easy for them to keep in touch with family and friends — including their grandkids, for whom the art of letter writing is often a lost cause. Helping people navigate the digital age is important to AARP, says CEO Jo Ann Jenkins: …

Ensuring Affordable, Reliable Communications Services

Phone companies are moving from traditional copper-wire telephone technology to wireless and broadband Internet-based services and standards. This transition clearly has advantages for consumers. But the abandonment of old-fashioned wireline service also raises concerns that some existing services may become unaffordable, unreliable or unavailable altogether. For many older adults in particular, such an outcome could have disruptive or dangerous consequences. Here are just a few of the public comments consumers filed in response to a Verizon proposal to permanently replace its copper …