Please Help! I Have Weird Tech/Data Questions


#1

Ok, I’m completely new to this site and really I’ve never used forums before period, so if there’s other sites any of you think I’d have better luck getting some of these questions answered and want to point me that way, that would be appreciated. I have a bunch of crazy questions that giving context to would be too longwinded, so I’m just gonna vomit them into a list and if anyone can give any insight on any of them I would appreciate it. A lot of these probably barely make sense, but I’m a complete tech noob so I apologize in advance. So:
Does putting a CD (music/digital audio) into a computer and playing and ripping it install any data from the computer itself onto the CD, and if so would that data picked up from the computer spread to another device the CD is put into? And what about other forms of CDs or DVDs?
And what about video games, does playing and installing a game on a console install any data from that console onto that game disc?
Does putting a USB into a computer and playing files from and putting certain files on that USB install any other data from that computer onto the USB and spread it to any other device the USB or its files are put onto?

If you install game files from a game console onto an external hard drive, would that hard drive get traces of any data, like past web browser activity installed onto the hard drive in any way?

Does having accounts (google, social media, etc.) on a computer or smartphone and then putting them on another device link in any way other data from the first device onto the second device? So let’s say someone searched something “bad” on a google account while meanwhile another logged off google account existed on that same device. If the google account that searched the bad thing is maybe even deleted but someone is using said other google account on a different device, could that bad data be linked to that account on a different device? And what if someone is even using the account that searched the bad thing but on a different device, does that bad data stay on only the device that searched for it, or does it get linked somehow to any other device the account gets logged into on? (If any of that makes sense to anyone, I apologize for the clumsy language)

Thanks again if anyone can even give some insight into any of my bizarre questions.


#2

A commercially made CD or game disc is pressed, not burned, and cannot have information stored on it from the computer. Even burned discs are generally “closed”, and cannot be written to again. An exception to this would be a disc that is left open for future burns, like a DVD-RAM disc, or a CDRW or DVDRW. Even then, no one is targeting this type of disc with viruses or trojans, and you would be aware of the disc having information written to it. It really is not an issue.

USB sticks are sometimes used to infect computers, not the other way around. It is possible for malware of some type to write to a USB drive, but I am not aware of any examples.

Installing game files from a console onto an external hard drive…I don’t believe data files from a game will include web browser activity. That’s just not where that information is stored. Again, it might be possible to write a virus or other type of malware to do this, but there are no examples that have come to light, as far as I am aware.

Searches in social media accounts can probably be accessed from two different devices that have access to that account. Anything downloaded on one machine will not be automatically downloaded to a second one.


#3

Thanks for all of the answers! If anyone could help with a few more (probably very stupid sounding) questions I have I would appreciate it greatly. I’ll just vomit them out again:

So I know smart TVs to some extent save data, but what would they store from devices connected to them? Would they store data about activity from a game console that was connected to it? And what about regular (non smart) TVs, do they store any data about devices connected to them?

This one will sound really stupid, but I just have to ask, do stereo amps store any data from devices, like say a smartphone comnected to it through an aux cord?

Do wireless game controllers store any data about the consoles that they connect to?

And lastly, do internet routers permanently store data about connected websites? I have a router that when I look at the activity log it only shows the last couple days, but I’m wondering does it permanently have traces of past activity?


#4

These answers are in response to your original post.

  1. If a CD contains nothing but audio, then there will be no software installed. However, it’s hard to tell whether a CD does contain software without putting it into the computer to look for software. At one point, Sony was notorious for making “audio CDs” with computer software that installed itself without the computer owners’ consent, and that software was designed to be a pain in the rear to remove. The same goes for DVDs: some might try to install software, but many won’t. It’s hard to tell which ones will or won’t in advanced, though. If in doubt, hold the Shift key on your keyboard while putting the CD/DVD in, and don’t release the button until the little light on the CD drive stops blinking. That way, the computer won’t install anything regardless of what’s on the disc.

(Your subsequent questions seem to revolve around game consoles. Therefore, I’m just going to add that everything I just said was geared towards desktops and laptops. That said, if you’re worried about a CD or DVD installing software on a game console, there’s probably nothing to worry about. Probably.)

  1. If by “console”, you mean XBox, PS4, Wii, etc., then the console CAN NOT save data onto the CD. Instead, modern consoles come with built-in hard drives, while older consoles used memory cards. I suspect modern consoles can probably use cloud drives, too, but since I don’t own anything newer than a PlayStation 2, I honestly can’t say for sure.

  2. Everything I just said in point 1 applies here as well.

  3. Whether you install a game has nothing to do with “past web browser activity”. Most web browsers keep a record of your history on your computer regardless of what games you play or don’t play/install. This “feature” (if you can call it that) can usually be disabled. How exactly you do that depends on which browser you are using. That said, I should probably point out that I don’t have any real experience browsing the web on a game console.

  4. Companies like Google and Facebook tend to maintain psychological profiles of everyone, regardless of whether they even have accounts on those websites. In other words, these companies tend to cyber-stalk the living heck out of everybody. (Creepy!) Therefore, your search history is probably linked to every computer-like device (laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, internet-connected game consoles, smart TVs, et cetera) you’ve ever owned. That said, if you search for something on device A, device B probably won’t know about it. But Google’s servers will.


#5

Here are answers to your second post:

  1. Probably not. I don’t have a smart TV, so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, I doubt a smart TV would know the difference between a BluRay player, a video game console, and a video game console that happens to be playing a BluRay. All it knows is that it’s receiving audio/video data from *something*. However, there is a whole bunch of other stuff that a smart TV probably does know. Samsung TVs are known to record all conversations, and transmit them in real time over the internet. (Once again… creepy!) Assuming you’re watching TV instead of watching DVDs/BluRays or playing games, and assuming the TV is able to tell what channel you’re watching (as is the case if you’re using an antenna), your TV is probably keeping track of that, too. If in doubt, read the fine print, as it can tell you more than I can.

  2. Many stereos are just barely smart enough to store the user’s favorite AM/FM stations. They have no idea what external devices they may-or-may-not be connected to. Or, at least that’s the case when it comes to analog aux connections. Blu Tooth is another matter, as the device MUST remember something about your device to continue auto-connecting to it in the future. However, this is typically nothing to worry about.

(Side note: for the sake of your privacy, I recommend avoiding “smart” speakers, like those that use Amazon Alexa. They are… *drumroll*… CREEPY!)

  1. On modern consoles, I think the controllers store a little data. I don’t know the exact details of how that works (again, I don’t have any modern consoles), but I think they store enough data to know which consoles they connect to. This is quite useful if more than one of the same console exists in one place. (For example, if there are two people living together who each have their own XBox One, and they’re both playing different games at the same time.) As for older consoles, where the controllers are connected to via a physical cable, the controller doesn’t store anything at all.

  2. I doubt it. Routers only have a finite amount of space to store these things, so it makes sense that they would only be able to store so much of your browsing history at one time.

However, your ISP, big brother (that is, government agencies like the FBI and the NSA), Google, Facebook, Amazon, and probably others have huge data centers that can store enough data to blow your mind. One thing they use that storage for is keeping records of everyone’s activities. (Ever read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell?) Now, to be clear, that is not the only thing these data centers are used for, not even close. In fact, there are plenty of non-creepy things that are done as well, which also require large data centers. But this is all beyond the scope of your router.