The Father of Passwords says he’s sorry for the advice he gave!

Bill Burr is the man who wrote the book on passwords, literally.  He is now saying he regrets the advice he gave.  In 2003, he authored “NIST Special Publication 800-63.  Appendix A”.  His publication would go on to more or less dictate password requirements on everything from login pages to email accounts to online banks. The 8-page report advised people to protect their accounts by inventing awkward new words filled with random characters, capital letters, numbers and symbols.  He also said to change these passwords regularly.

Bill Burr told The Wall Street Journal, “Much of what I did I now regret.  In the end, [the list of guidelines} was probably too complicated for a lot of folks to understand very well, and the truth is, it was barking up the wrong tree.”

And as it turns out, Bill was right about being wrong, because that shorter password with wacky characters is much easier to crack.  This is why, the latest set of NIST guidelines recommends that people create long passphrases rather non-sensical words like the ones Bill thought were secure.  “It’s probably better to do fairly long passwords that are phrases or something like that that you can remember than to try to get people to do lots of funny characters”, Burr told CBS News.

That’s nice of Burr to apologize, but we understand technology is often an exercise of trial and error.  We forgive you, Bill!


How to tell if your WI-FI connection is not private.

What was once so hard to find is now commonplace… free and easily-accessible Wi-Fi.

You don’t have to go far to find some establishment offering it, but with that comes some risks.  MentalFloss.com asked the question “How do you know that network you’re using will keep your personal?” in a recent article.

“While most wireless routers and laptops have built-in firewall protections, just about anyone connected to the same network could peer into your device and view your activity without you even knowing it, even when you’re online in the comfort of your very own home.”

Now that’s a scary prospect, but fortunately most browsers to have privacy features already built-in.  However, that doesn’t always mean your safe.  According to the MentalFloss.com, there are certain things to look for including “make sure you see a padlock icon next the Wi-Fi icon in your computer’s toolbar or, if you’re using Windows, that there is a security type mentioned in the “Security” tab to make sure you’re on a password-protected and private network”.

It’s also about the “s”.  You want to make sure you see the all-important “s” after “http”.  So, at the beginning of a URL it should read https://.  This means you are on a secure site.

MentalFloss.com has more on what you need to look for so you and personal information stays safe from hackers.

Click for full article

The most common passwords in 2016 are truly HORRIBLE!

Cyber security is on many people’s minds and yet using “password” as a password is still popular, if you can believe that.  Keeper Security, a password management company, just released a list of the most common passwords of 2016.  The MOST popular password used is “123456”.  No, we aren’t kidding.

Scroll down to see the full list of passwords.

The list was assembled using a collection of passwords that were leaked through data breaches in 2016.  Keeper Security didn’t include leaked passwords if the breaches were announced that year, but occurred prior to 2017.

Next Generation Technologies, Inc. recommends your passwords be more than six characters long and contains a variety of characters, including numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and even special characters.  You should also change your password often and use different ones each time a password is needed.

THE TOP 25 MOST COMMON PASSWORDS OF 2016:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. 12345678
  5. 111111
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234567
  8. password
  9. 123123
  10. 987654321
  11. qwertyuiop
  12. mynoob
  13. 123321
  14. 666666
  15. 18atcskd2w
  16. 7777777
  17. 1q2w3e4r
  18. 654321
  19. 555555
  20. 3rjs1la7qe
  21. google
  22. 1q2w3e4r5t
  23. 123qwe
  24. zxcvbnm
  25. 1q2w3e

The Pros and Cons of Automated Cybersecurity

These days, cyberattacks are heavily automated by machines. If organizations try to defend against these attacks manually, the fight becomes man versus machine, with highly unfavorable odds for the organization. To successfully protect against automated attacks, it is essential to fight fire with fire – or in this case, machine against machine – by incorporating automation into cybersecurity efforts. Automation levels the playing field, reduces the volume of threats, and allows for faster prevention of new and previously unknown threats.

A new article from BizTech considers the pros and cons of automated cybersecurity which is being touted as the future of IT security.  The article explains “automation can help spot attacks before they begin and save IT staff members time, enabling them to focus on other tasks.  However, the potential downside of automation is that a one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity crows out human judgement and control”.

Click for the full article.

At Next Generation Technologies, Inc., we provide world-class monitoring and a 24/7/365 alerting system that will give you the reassurance and confidence that your network is safe so you can focus on your business.


Cyber Attacks Hitting Small Businesses

Cyber crime is on the rise and small businesses are increasingly becoming the target of hackers.

New data from Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report shows that small businesses have become a big target for phishers. Last year, phishing campaigns targeted small businesses 43 percent of the time. That’s up 9 percent over 2014 and a stark contrast to the mere 18 percent of attacks that focused on small businesses in 2011.

About 1 in 40 small businesses are at risk of being the victim of a cyber crime. That pales in comparison to the 1 in about 2 large businesses which are targeted every year — multiple times — with a cyber attack.  Still, the report indicates that hackers are indiscriminately choosing their victims. It’s not a matter of who they’re targeting but what they’re targeting … your money.  These phishing attacks target employees largely responsible for the finances of a small business. Malicious email messages sent to these employees that are opened could hijack an entire company’s financial information and gain access to funds and personal information.

Ransomware attacks are also on the rise and targeting not only employees but any devices connected to a company’s hacked network.  Symantec says it has instances on the record in 2015 of attacks on the Internet of Things, too. That includes attacks on smartphones, smart watches, and a smart television. In these attacks, there is a demand for some type of payment before a device may be freed by its attacker.

So, what should small business owners do with this information? Be prepared is the simple advice.

It’s clear that hackers will continue to target small businesses with phishing attacks. And since these attacks are targeting employees mostly, implementing a proper training and informational program on phishing schemes within your company is prudent. This type of training will hopefully help reduce the likelihood that an employee of yours will open a suspicious email by helping to better identify one.

Since cyber attacks target small business, it’s more likely your small business will become the target or victim of a phishing attack.  Develop a plan for dealing with such a situation. Consult with your IT team or an IT expert on a comprehensive plan for mitigating the impact of a phishing or other cyber attack against your company.  Finally, with the rise in attacks on devices connected to your company’s network, it’s best to limit the amount of those devices — employee smartphones and other IoT devices — you allow on it.

At Next Generation Technologies, Inc., we provide world-class monitoring and a 24/7/365 alerting system that will give you the reassurance and confidence that your network is safe so you can focus on your business.  We know your IT problem may not be easy, but we promise it will be easy for you!!

 


Petya Cyber Attack

A new and highly virulent outbreak of data-scrambling software — apparently sown in Ukraine — caused disruption across the world Tuesday. Following a similar attack in May , the fresh cyber-assault paralyzed some hospitals, government offices and major multinational corporations in a dramatic demonstration of how easily malicious programs can bring daily life to a halt.

Ukraine and Russia appeared hardest hit by the new strain of ransomware — malicious software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release. In the United States, the malware affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco.

The so called “Petya” virus freezes computer screens, instructing victims to pay a $300 ransom.  The malware’s origins remain unclear. Researchers picking the program apart found evidence its creators had borrowed from leaked National Security Agency code, raising the possibility that the digital havoc had spread using U.S. taxpayer-funded tools.

Security experts said Tuesday’s global cyberattack shares something in common with last month’s outbreak of ransomware, dubbed WannaCry . Both spread using digital lock picks originally created by the NSA and later published to the web by a still-mysterious group known as the Shadowbrokers.

However Petya includes a few extra nasty features.  Not only does Petya encrypt the files on a system, it also encrypts what is known as a master boot record.  The master boot record is the information in the first sector of any hard disk that identifies how and where an operating system is located so that it can be loaded.  Petya includes tools that “sniff and prob” the network for passwords which then help in spreading the malware. Petya also exploits a common Microsoft systems administrator tool called PsExec to spread the infection as well as the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) tool, prompting cyber security experts to warn about the immense threat posed by the new virus.

How to protect yourself?

Ensuring you have the latest software updates, have patched against any known software vulnerabilities and have up-to-date malware protection software are important steps for average businesses and consumers to take.  Also use long complicated passwords, mixing numbers and symbols.  Back your computer up on an external drive and don’t click on suspicious emails or weblinks.

At Next Generation Technologies, Inc., we provide world-class monitoring and a 24/7/365 alerting system that will give you the reassurance and confidence that your network is safe so you can focus on your business.

 


The benefits of cloud computing and why your business needs it.

The cloud is no longer an afterthought, it is a competitive advantage.  We couldn’t agree more.

A new report from by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that 42% use a hybrid cloud approach, 40% house their businesses in a private cloud and 13% host in a public cloud.   Businesses surveyed said cloud computing made a huge impact on their functionality and bottom line.  Among the benefits is agility, customer and user experiences, data capabilities and cost savings.

Experts say a company’s IT environment should work for them by enabling them to both run and innovate.  Large and small to mid-sized companies need to focus on managing and modernizing their IT infrastructure or use an information technology company like Next Generation Technologies, Inc. that will do that, so it becomes a transformative part of their business that can directly improve results.  While it was known there were a number of benefits, it’s imperative to better understand from respondents exactly how cloud systems were impacting their business outcomes.

Looking to get your business on the cloud?  Next Generation Technologies, Inc. can help with our Private Cloud.   If you aren’t ready to move your entire organization to the cloud, but have a single mission-critical application that needs to run 24/7??  NGT’s Application Hosting solution may be the perfect technology solution.

For more on NGT’s Private Cloud


10 Signs Your Computer is Going to Crash

Unfortunately, once your computer crashes, there isn’t much you can do except wait for reboot or force a manual start.  Most computer crashes are random, but there are some warning signs that are often overlooked.  A deeper look into your computer and some analysis could help you avoid a computer crash easily.  Here are 10 signs that your computer is going to crash and things that you need to do it avoid it.

Hardware conflicts

Sometimes two components in a PC will try to consume the same resources or perform the same task. This creates a hardware conflict and it manifests itself in unusual behavior during certain tasks. Like an audio conflict can disable audio in certain programs, but it may work fine on other programs.  Not all conflicts will crash a PC, but some cause instability that leads to a Blue Screen of Death or a reboot.

You can usually see a hardware conflict by opening Windows’ Device Manager. You can find it in the control panel or through Windows Search.  Any hardware with a conflict will appear with a yellow exclamation point next to it. Try re-installing the drivers for the malfunctioning hardware or try disabling one in Device Manager.

Random file or program corruption issues

A classic sign of a slow-growing problem is random file and program corruption errors. Files that always worked suddenly don’t open or only work on occasion. They may or may not be accompanied by an error message.

Several issues could cause this problem. First, make sure your anti-virus is running and up-to-date and then run a full system scan for malware. A virus sometimes will cause random file corruption issues. Another likely culprit is a failing hard drive, so you should check it for errors. And if that doesn’t reveal the problem, look for hardware conflicts in the Windows Device Manager; a driver issue might be responsible.

Slow, Unreliable, Or Noisy Mechanical Hard Drive

Mechanical hard drives are likely sources of problems in modern PCs. Though they’ve become more reliable over time, they still contain mechanical parts that will eventually wear out and that makes failure a reality users must prepare for.

If you find that programs are taking a long time to load, that files don’t always open or that the drive has become louder while working, then your hard drive could be nearing the end of its life. You should check the drive for errors, but don’t consider yourself problem-free if none appear. Backup your data just to be safe.

Occasional Boot Errors

A sure sign that something has gone wrong is an occasional error when booting your PC, usually something along the lines of “boot device not found.” Windows will fail to boot, but it might work at a later time, even immediately if you hit the reset button. This is a sign that something is wrong with your hard drive, or that your Windows installation has somehow become corrupt. Replacing the drive or re-installing Windows is usually the only fix.

However, before doing either, do make sure that you haven’t mistakenly left an external hard drive or USB drive plugged in. Some PCs will try to boot from a USB device before the hard drive, and that will cause a boot error.

Poor Performance

General poor performance, from launching programs to watching YouTube video and playing games, often results from the cumulative effects of software installed on a Windows PC. If you’re not careful, you may find you’ve installed more than your computer can handle, and it will perform poorly. Cleaning Windows might help, though if your case is particularly bad, you may have to re-install the operating system.

If the problem persists, then hardware is probably the culprit. Try some free benchmark programs, record the results, and use them to determine what part is slowing down your PC. You can then decide if it should be replaced.

Poor internet connection

Unusually, poor Internet performance that can’t be linked to a problem with your ISP or router is often a bad sign. It may mean that your WiFi or Ethernet adapter is encountering problems, or it might be a sign of malware robbing your bandwidth. Eventually, the problem might make Internet access impossible or, if the source is malware, your PC could suffer permanent damage.

Download a bandwidth meter for your PC to see how your home network is being used. If bandwidth is being consumed when you’re not using your computer, malware is likely the problem, so check out our malware removal guide. If there’s no unusual usage, then the problem is likely with your adapter, and it will probably need to be replaced.

Video Artifacts

The video that you view on a PC, no matter its source, is effectively a stream of data that’s turned into an image. An error in that data can cause an “artifact,” which might appear as blocks of random color, strange lines or partially missing 3D geometry.

These problems are signs that your PC’s graphics processor is encountering an issue. Often the problem is excessive heat; you may just need to open your computer and give it a good cleaning. If that doesn’t solve the issue, then the GPU is likely on the out, and should be replaced.

At times, you may have difficulty deciding if an artifact is caused by the video card, or by a bug in a game, or by poor video compression. A video card stability test can help you determine the source of the problem

 An Unusually Loud System Fan

A computer with fans that are louder than normal may be screaming for help because its internals are too warm, a situation that can eventually lead to a crash and even hardware damage. You can use a PC monitoring tool like SpeedFan to investigate the problem and check the temperature of your CPU and GPU.

If the situation seems heated, open up your desktop and clean out its fans with a can of compressed air. Laptop owners have fewer options, but you can still try to clean out the exhaust fan, or buy a cooling pad.

Software or Adware Launches Randomly

Software that launches without your permission is a clue that you may become a victim of malware. Often the programs that appear will be linked to advertisements, but any Trojan can allow this kind of attack. You might also notice that certain hardware, like the webcam, may activate without your consent. Eventually, this tampering might lead to problems as your PC gets choked with unwanted programs or files gets corrupted maliciously.

There are only two ways to get rid of this problem.  Either remove the malware or re-install Windows if you have a good backup of all your documents.

Windows Crashes While You’re Not Looking

It is not necessary that your computer will crash only when you are working on it.  It can happen when you left it on sleep mode or was left switched on overnight.  If you find your PC has crashed the next time you plan to work on it, it is probably because of a driver or hardware issue.  Check for hardware conflicts before the damage becomes irreparable.

If you do not find conflicts, then try updating the drivers for your video card, sound court, motherboard and WiFI or even Ethernet adapter.  If you are still not able to figure out the problem, then do a trial and error by disabling certain components and check if the problem persists.

These are the 10 most common signs of a computer crash, but they are not the only ones.  If your business is still not able to figure out the problem, call Next Generation Technologies, Inc.  Our technicians have years of experience and can diagnose and fix hardware issues in no time.  We know your IT problem may not be easy… but we promise it will be easy for YOU!


Poor Cybersecurity Choices Spawned Today’s Current Event and the Lessons We Can Learn

Russian hacking, Clinton emails and President Trump’s firing of FBI Director of Jim Comey; 3 of the HUGE stories in the news.  In a new article on HuffingtonPost.com, they say poor cybersecurity led to these events.  They also say there are three lessons we can ALL learn from them.

Some of these lessons are easy, like know where your data is.  That should be easy, but you never know when you need to borrow someone else’s laptop to check your email.  Doing something as innocuous as that is fine, but there are certain steps you need to take to make sure your data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

The article also says you should be wary of Shadow IT.  What is it?  It is information technology projects that are managed outside of and without the knowledge the company’s IT department.  Needless to say, this creates a HUGE security risk.  And finally, protect your email from hacking.  This is happening continuously and we are all vulnerable, but as the article says, “We all must do a better job protecting ourselves and securing our data”.

At Next Generation Technologies, Inc., we provide world-class monitoring and a 24/7/365 alerting system that will give you the reassurance and confidence that your network is safe so you can focus on your business.

Click here for the full article.


What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT is the adoption of new technologies and solutions built and used inside organizations without the organization’s knowledge.  It may be just one user or an entire department.  It usually happens because the availability of technologies outpaces the internal policies and procedures of the company.

Basically, Shadow IT is work arounds that employees or departments have found to make their lives easier.  But these workarounds can come with some risk.

Instant messaging, online document sharing (Google Docs) and cloud storage are some examples of Shadow IT.    They may seem harmless, but Shadow IT does carry risk.  TheMerkle.com reports “Most people are well aware of how cybercriminals are operating these days. However, it appears the problems are a lot bigger than most experts give it credit for. A new type of Information Technology threat has appeared, which is dubbed as “Shadow IT”. This sector revolves around rogue applications which are designed to infiltrate entire computer networks by “aiding” employees in interfacing with cloud-based services.”

For the full article: CLICK


What is a DDoS hack and how to protect your devices from joining a BOTNET?

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DDoS stands for distributed denial of service.  It is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.  They target a wide variety of important resources, from banks to websites.  It’s the kind of attack that turns ANYONE’S insecure internet-connected devices into a sort of a zombie army.  They are called BOTNETS.  What’s scary is your device may be part of a botnet and you may not know it.

So how do you make sure your personal devices don’t involuntarily join a botnet?

  • Change your router password – botnets usually take advantage of those devices that stick with a default password.
  • Disable the universal plug and play feature in your router settings – it’s designed to make it easy for computers to connect to internet gear by providing code that helps devices automatically discover each other over a local network, but it can also make life easier for attackers who want to compromise a home computer or breach a business network.

Now this won’t stop a DDoS from shutting down your favorite website, but it will help you NOT be part of its army.

 


Don’t wait… UPDATE!

If the massive worldwide ransomware attack doesn’t scare you…. it should.  The Wannacry cyber-attack hit more than 100,000 organizations in at least 150 countries as of right now.  It is being called an “unprecedented” and “pretty indiscriminate”, affecting everything from hospitals and schools to auto giants.  Hackers used malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.  The attack spread through email and locked people out of their computer systems.  It demanded a ransom of $300 or more in Bitcoin payments before users could be let back in with a threat that data would be destroyed if the demands weren’t met.

It is believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever recorded, disrupting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies, hospitals and transport systems in nations as diverse as Russia, England, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, China and India.  It also hit FedEx in the United States.

The reason this spread so quickly and so far, is the hackers discovered a vulnerability in the most popular system in the work with Microsoft Windows.  Microsoft broadened access to a security patch over the weekend to thousands of users whose Windows support agreements expired.

For the moment, the damage has been contained thanks in part to a 22-year-old cyber security researcher in Great Britain known as “MalwareTech”.  He stumbled upon a kill switch.  He registered a domain name buried in the code of the attack and was surprised to discover that it was the kill switch that sent a signal to stop the attacks.

But as terrifying as this global ransomware attack was, cyber-security experts say it’s nothing compared to what might be coming, especially if companies and governments don’t make major fixes.

So, what can you do?   Don’t wait… UPDATE!

The worm is primarily impacting business, where it can spread quickly through a network to take down an entire company.  Businesses take longer to install critical updates and patches, often to avoid impacting any legacy software they are running.

But individuals with PCs running Windows should still take a few precautions.  First, install any software updates immediately and make it a regular habit.  Turn on auto-updaters.   Microsoft also recommends running its free anti-virus software for Windows.

Backup!! If you don’t do it already… do it!  Backup your computer regularly and save copies of all your files.  This will protect you if your machine gets infected.

Finally, always stay alert.  Don’t click on links that you don’t recognize or download files from people you don’t know personally.

This way “Wannacry” won’t make you cry!

 


Why a clear, comprehensive cloud strategy is VITAL.

In today’s digital landscape, your business needs fast, agile IT infrastructure.  A recent article by Samuel Greengard for CIO Insight says companies are being pushed to move more assets to the cloud.  He says this requires a major shift in thinking and making this change is “fraught with challenges, including deciding what applications, services and infrastructure to place in the cloud and what type of clouds to use for various tasks.”

While “the opportunity to advance revolves around the cloud, Greengard says there are challenges of migrating to the cloud. “

Read the full article here:  CLICK


OBSCURE APP FLAW

If you’ve downloaded applications from Google Play, then you will want to read this.  There are dozens of apps that do so-called “unexpected tricks” and these tricks are NO treat.  They could be putting your information at risk.  This obscure app flaw creates back-doors in millions of smartphones.

Wired reports “a group of researchers from the University of Michigan identified hundreds of applications in Google Play that perform an unexpected trick:  By essentially turning a phone into a server, they allow the owner to connect to that phone directly from their PC, just as they would to a website or another internet service.  But dozens of these apps leave open insecure ports on those smartphones.  That could allow attackers to steak data, including contacts or photos, or even install malware.”

Apparently, there are 57 apps the group identified as the most vulnerable to the “unexpected trick”, but two that have been deemed particularly dangerous.  One of those apps has more than 10 million downloads.

To read more on the two particular apps and what you can do….CLICK

 


Signs Your Mobile Device Has a Virus

Your computer isn’t the only thing susceptible to a virus.  You probably didn’t realize that your smartphones and tablets are also vulnerable to malware.  This enables hackers to access them and compromise your email, online banking information and apps.  If you think Apple products are immune to this… think again.  They are just as at risk as Androids, despite common misconceptions that they are infallible.   But how would you even notice if your mobile device has been attacked?  Here are several signs.

Data loss:  Rapid depletion of your mobile plan’s date can be one telltale sign.  If a virus is running in the background and communication with the internet on your device, it’s going to be using up your data.  For those without an unlimited data plan, they may even start to find they are having to buy extra data.

Malfunctioning apps:  If you notice your apps start to crash more frequently, your device may be infected.  Most viruses tamper with your regular operations, so make sure you update all of your apps to prevent viral interference.

Battery drain:  Viruses don’t only eat up your date but also your battery life.  You may start to notice your battery running out faster and requiring a charge more frequently.

Questioning apps appearing:  If a new app appears legitimate and somewhat familiar, but you don’t remember downloading it.  Be aware.  Remove any questionable apps under your phone’s settings.

To make your device safe, but sure to keep your software updated, use phone locating apps, turn off app notifications from settings and set up a VPN (virtual private network) when using public Wi-Fi.


World Backup Day

Our friends at Parallels had a great guest blog:  Is your VM Celebrating World Backup Day?  Many of you probably didn’t know that March 31st was World Backup Day??  Yes, another day created to remind you to do something.  Sadly, most people didn’t pay attention to this day and as the blog’s writer, Peter Hale, says… “It was established to remind people that they need to protect their date to avoid ‘looking like a fool’ if something were to happen to their computers and mobile devices.”

We agree with Hale when he says many think they are immune from the need to back up and that it’s a common misconception that Virtual Machine’s don’t need to be backed up.  He says the steps most users take to prevent data loss just isn’t cutting it.

“For example, most VM users rely on snapshots. Yet snapshots are stored on the same hardware as the original. If your hard drive fails, those snapshots cannot be retrieved. For the same reason, data protection native to virtual machines doesn’t address the growing threats from things like ransomware. Think of it this way: Your VM is just a data program running on a machine. But ransomware attacks data of all types, so if your machine is infected, the malicious code won’t distinguish between your VM, your applications, or your wedding photos.

Creating a full image backup is the only way to secure all the data from your virtual machine – from the OS and system settings down to individual files. Storing your backup on a separate drive or in the cloud creates an air gap between the original VM and the copy, so nothing that could corrupt or destroy the original can touch your backup. Your data is secure, ensuring that your virtual machine can be restored quickly and easily.”

Hale says creating that air gap is critical for true data protection.  But for Mac users you may need to do something more to get the best protection.  Click here to read more about backing up your virtual machines

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Google it!

What would we be without Google.  How would we find out who won the Best Picture Oscar in 1986 or won the World Series in 2003?  Google is intimately familiar with all the things you like or do or think.  When you search for something, use Gmail, watch videos on YouTube or use a Google product, the company collects data about you and establishes a personal profile which it uses to distribute personalized ads.  If you are a little nervous about just how much Google knows about you, here is how to delete that history.

To view your actions around Google’s web, visit myaccount.google.com and click on “My Activity.”  You will be able to delete this information by day or individual results.  Tap on the three-dot menu to the right of each group to see details and delete the items from your activity history.  To delete your entire history, tap on the top right corner of the My Activity page and select “Delete activity by.”  Hit “All time,” and your activity will disappear.

Once deleted, Google won’t use that data as part of your profile.  You can also search through all your data by date and product.  This will mean those shoes that you searched for will no longer pop up on the side of your screen.  And for the record, Out of Africa won the best picture in 1986 and the Florida (now Miami) Marlins won the World Series, so no need to Google it!