No phone is completely hack-proof, but here are a few ways to kick up the security on your mobile device.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2014 11:16AM

Woman using iPhone 5s © Moment Editorial/Getty ImagesBy Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal

There's no way to completely NSA-proof your phone calls and data. But you can make the spy agency -- and anyone else -- work harder to get it.

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyA year after Edward Snowden made surveillance a household term, privacy and security are becoming services you can buy in your phone. This week, Blackphone, a $629 Android phone that can secure calls and messages, starts shipping. And FreedomPop, a small U.S. carrier, now offers an $8-per-month, add-on privacy service for Android handsets.

Here's a scary reality: Phone networks are insecure, and the equipment to digitally eavesdrop is getting more common. If you work with trade secrets or confidential documents, you should assess your risks. But those of us with less sensitive, but more personal, data must recognize that smartphone apps can eavesdrop too, recording your locations, contacts and photos, and possibly sharing them in ways you don't know.

For people concerned about government or corporate espionage, hackers, and apps that grab and share your data, the question is: Are these new privacy products worth switching phones?


Almost 700,000 unwitting subjects had their news feeds altered as part of a study to gauge effect on emotion.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 30, 2014 11:35AM

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Facebook logo. © REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/FilesBy Reed Albergotti, The Wall Street Journal

A social-network furor has erupted over news that Facebook (FB), in 2012, conducted a massive psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users.

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyTo determine whether it could alter the emotional state of its users and prompt them to post either more positive or negative content, the site's data scientists enabled an algorithm, for one week, to automatically omit content that contained words associated with either positive or negative emotions from the central news feeds of 689,003 users.

The research, published in the March issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sparked a different emotion – outrage -- among some people who say Facebook toyed with its users emotions and uses members as guinea pigs.


The Google-owned company will allow third-party devices to communicate with and through its smart appliances, positioning them as hubs of the connected home.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 24, 2014 12:29PM

Nest co-founder Tony Fadell holds the company's thermostat in 2012 © Karsten Lemm/dpa/CorbisBy Parmy Olson, Forbes

Nest Labs is taking the next step in its quest to become a hub for the smart home, by letting other gadgets and services access its learning thermostat and smoke detector for the first time.

Forbes on MSN MoneyWith the long-awaited developer program Nest is launching Tuesday, other apps and devices will be able to access what Nest detects through its sensors, including vague readings on temperature and settings that show if a person is away from their home for long periods. These services will even be able to talk to one another via Nest as the hub.

Nest, founded by former Apple (AAPL) executive Tony Fadell, has long been seen as one of the leading companies in the smart home revolution. Google (GOOGbought the company for $3.2 billion in January, and last week Nest bought video monitoring service DropCam for $555 million to (for better or worse) learn how people behave in their homes -- for instance, by reportedly tracking how doors are open and shut.


The market is saturated. Just about every American who will buy a smartphone has already declared loyalty to either Google or Apple, and people are loath to switch.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 20, 2014 10:46AM

An Amazon representative shows off the 3D map features of the company's new Fire smartphone at the company's campus in Seattle © JASON REDMOND/Newscom/ReutersBy Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal

Please allow me to be the last to tell you that Amazon (AMZN) unveiled a phone, and among the first to tell you why no one will buy it.

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyIt's not because the Fire phone is packed with a range of what can only be called parlor tricks -- that is, 3-D interface gewgaws of limited utility. Nor is it because the most interesting thing about the phone -- a button that lets you buy anything you see in real life on Amazon -- is probably more useful for Amazon than for its customers, and already exists on other phones anyway.

The central problems with the Fire, the factors that will kill its sales as surely as they have held Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Phone to single digit market share in North America, are the following. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

1. People are loath to switch from the phones they already have, and in the process abandon all the apps and media they've bought.


The wrist device is reportedly scheduled to launch this fall and will be equipped with more than 10 sensors, including ones to track fitness.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 20, 2014 10:13AM

Apple store in GermanyBy Eva Dou and Lorraine Luk, The Wall Street Journal

Apple (AAPL) is planning multiple versions of its smartwatch, likely to be launched in the fall, people familiar with the matter said, as the company tries to counter wearable devices from rivals such as Google (GOOG) and Samsung (SSNLF).

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyThe new wrist device from Apple will include more than 10 sensors including ones to track health and fitness, these people said. Apple aims to address an overarching criticism of existing smartwatches that they fail to provide functions significantly different from that of a smartphone, said a person familiar with the matter.

Apple showed its interest in health and fitness-tracking last month with a new app called Health, designed to collect all of a user's fitness and health data in one spot. However, Apple didn't introduce its own device to collect that data, fueling speculation that the company would unveil a sensor-laden wearable device at a later date.



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