Tag Archives: Mobile News

5 Simple Steps Employees Can Take to Prevent Cyberattacks

You may be costing your company over $20,000 without even knowing it. That’s how much the average small business pays to resolve cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. It only takes one infected file or one stolen laptop to crush a company’s bottom line. But there’s a silver lining in the dark cloud of cybercrime. You have the power to save the company from data destruction by practicing good cybersecurity habits.

Pro-level cybersecurity comes through practice and self-awareness. It requires you to scrutinize your online and offline work activities a bit more. Too little skepticism is a big problem. When a hacker sends you a phishing email from your credit card company, they count on you assuming it’s legitimate. You see the familiar logo, and so, you click the link. However, that’s a dangerous assumption to make. Throw everything you know out the window and start with fresh eyes and new habits.

Changing your work habits to be more cybersecure helps you and your employer. The $20,000 spent on a cyberattack could have gone to a raise for you and your coworkers, to increasing benefits, or to expanding the businesses. When you protect your employer’s data, you’re also safeguarding your job. Here are five things you can do today to improve cybersecurity at work.

Regularly update your operating system

Your operating system or OS is central command for your desktop, laptop, or smartphone. It’s the Captain Kirk of your devices. Unsurprisingly, it’s a prime target for hackers. Access to your OS means cyberthieves “have the conn” to your computer. They can download, install, and otherwise exploit your workstations. Taking control is how hackers steal your employer and clients’ data.

Regularly updating your OS applies critical security fixes to your Windows, Mac, or Linux software. Make your work life easier by setting up automatic updates to your OS. With this simply adjustment to your work habits, you’ll “boldly go where no one has gone before” with your cybersecurity skills.

Create strong passwords

Ever year, the published list of the top worst passwords show how little thought users give to protecting access to their accounts. Don’t be one of the millions of users who used the following horribly ineffectual passwords in 2017:

  • 123456
  • Password
  • 12345678

Whether for work or social accounts, strong passwords keep your clients’ data safe from identity thieves and data hackers. You may feel that string of numbers you created from your old gym locker combination will protect your data as well as it did your smelly socks, but that’s hardly the case. You need a strong password that’s hard to guess, not a strong password that’s easy to smell, and that gym combo is a real stinker.

Strong passwords are both difficult to guess and easy to remember. Striking the right balance is a breeze when you know the basics of creating strong passwords. Here are a few tips to get started:

Be unpredictable

If you were asked to substitute the letter “S” with a number or symbol in your password, what would you choose? You probably guessed “$”, right? If not, you’re on your way to creating stronger passwords. However, the reality is that most users would choose “$”.

Strong passwords are unique, but most of us try and make them unique in the same ways. It’s a paradox that seems hard to overcome until you know a handy trick: Randomize your letter substitutions and capitalizations. Instead of “$” for “S”, choose “&” for “S”.

Length does matter

Passwords, unlike the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, should be as long as possible. But there is a caveat: Long passwords are harder for cyberthieves to guess — but they’re also harder to remember. At minimum, your passwords need to be eight characters long, but you can increase the character count by applying a common memory strategy: Turn long phrases into acronyms. Then turn those acronyms into passwords. Here are the steps:

  • 1. Create a unique phrase that’s personal and easy to remember. Example: “My Favorite Movie Of All Time Is Star Trek Wrath Of Khan”.
  • 2. Form an acronym from the first letters of your phrase: “mfmoatistwok”
  • 3. Apply a few random substitutions. m#mo9ti3twok
  • 4. Promote yourself to Ensign Level 2 for creating a strong password.

Use these tips to create strong passwords, and you’ll make it exponentially harder for hackers to steal your identity or your employer’s data.

Post-it notes are for lunch appointments only!

Look around your desk. How many Post-it Notes do you see? Now, of those, how many have account numbers, passwords, or other confidential data written on them? If it’s only one, that’s one too many. Your office may seem like the last place for a data breach to happen, but cyberthieves do their dastardly deeds in the physical world as well as online.

Any list of data breaches will show plenty of “inside job” examples to go along with straight-up cyberhacks. Data theft only takes one disgruntled worker, one nosey janitor, or one sudden break-in to put your employer or their clients’ private information in the hands of cyberthieves. Keep data safe by following these rules:

  • Never leave private information out in the open
  • Don’t throw away sensitive data in trash cans
  • Keep USB drives, CDs, and DVDs that contain sensitive information locked away when not in use
  • Lock your computer when you’re away from it
  • Be aware of your physical surroundings

These tips to safeguard sensitive data apply whether you’re in the office, at home, or at the coffee shop, so make them a part of your overall cybersecurity routine and use Post-it notes for lunch appointments only.

Back up your data regularly

Ransomware increased by 250 percent in 2017, affecting businesses of every size and type. Enterprising cybercriminals hack into computers, encrypt the data inside, and hold it for ransom. It’s a lucrative practice that costs employers millions every year. But regularly backing up your employer’s data takes away the profit incentive.

Use both a physical and cloud-based drive for backups. If one drive is hacked, you’ll have the other available. Most backups to the cloud sync your data automatically and let you choose which folders to upload. Talk with your employer about which files need to be backed up and which can remain locally stored. Set up a regular maintenance schedule to review your backup plans.

Get antivirus software

You can do the most to protect your employer by installing antivirus software, which protects work devices from phishing emails, spyware, botnets, and other harmful malware. But first, talk to your employer about getting comprehensive cybersecurity solution. For your personal devices, consider getting your own antivirus software. Most major antivirus brands offer free downloads of basic plans.

Just like any of your work projects, cybersecurity is a team effort that needs everyone to contribute. These five cybersecurity tips for the workplace are just a jumping-off point for your overall improvement. You now have the basics covered. Expand your cybersecurity arsenal with additional cybersecurity tips and online resources. Make sure you’re doing your part and everyone at work will benefit.

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International Women’s Day – Where Are The Female Cybersecurity Experts?

No official figures exist to prove exactly how many women work in the cybersecurity industry, but some estimates suggest a figure as low as 10%. Which means that just 1 in 10 people working in cybersecurity are female.

Cybersecurity is seen as “unsexy”

Cybersecurity has an undeniable image problem. Both hackers and the experts tasked with fighting them are typically portrayed in the media as being male, geeky with poor hygiene and inter-personal skills.

Obviously this is not the case in real life, but the stereotype is so ingrained that people believe that it is true. As a young person – male or female – choosing their career path, this cliché is unhelpful.

Evidence suggests that the number of young women entering IT has fallen steadily since the 1980s. If the industry cannot improve its image and credibility with young people, this situation is unlikely to change.

The cybersecurity industry will need to come together to raise the profile of women and to highlight their achievements. Over time this will help to undo many of the negative stereotypes that deter young people from entering the field.

Discrimination and harassment are still significant problems

Once women begin a career in IT and security, many face ongoing problems at work. A study carried out by an IT security firm last year discovered that corporate culture seems to be biased against women entirely.

The research also discovered that women face even greater problems outside their place of work. Trade shows and conferences were highlighted as being of particular concern because women face far greater discrimination – and increased harassment too.

The stress of these cultural failings forces female cybersecurity workers to reconsider their roles – and many leave the industry as a result. Losing experienced workers further reduces the number of people available, which actually makes the world of IT even less safe.

Things need to change. Now.

Obviously there is nothing to say that women must work in IT security, but there is a chronic shortage of well-trained specialists in the industry. Current efforts to recruit more cybersecurity experts are failing – so it is logical that businesses should be investing in programs to attract more women into the industry.

At the same time, businesses need to look very carefully at their culture. Is it welcoming to women? Are they valued and respected? And what safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of harassment and discrimination in the wider industry?

Ongoing skills shortages mean that businesses are crying out for suitable candidates. So why continue to game the system towards a male majority when that clearly isn’t solving the crisis?

Time will tell whether the industry finally learns its lesson – let’s hope things have changed for the better by International Women’s Day 2019.

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Is this the end of the counterfeit card fraud in the US and what is next?

VISA, a multinational financial services corporation known for facilitating a high percentage of the global electronic fund transfers, recently published an infographic stating that the counterfeit fraud at U.S. chip-enabled merchants has dropped with 70% over the last couple years.

The EMV chip cards are far more secure than the old-fashioned magnetic stripe cards. Another reason for the mass decrease is the broad adoption of EMV chip readers by merchants through the US. Even though FBI states chipped cards are not 100% secure and may be vulnerable to exploitation, the numbers are promising, and the end of counterfeit fraud is probably sooner than later.

What’s next?

The EMV cards are the clear winner in the battle against counterfeit fraud in the US. And people realize the power of those cards by trusting them – in December 2017, 96% of payment volume in the US was through chip-enabled cards. Decreasing the amount of fraudulent in-store purchases with 70% for less than two years is a real achievement. While the payment method makes in-person shopping relatively secure, there is a new significant threat that casts a shadow over the success – the security behind EMV payment cards isn’t as useful against online theft.

Online payments also are known as “cards not present” transactions do not require your physical card to be present when making a purchase. So if cybercriminals somehow manage to obtain your credit card information, they would be able to use your card for online shopping.

How do hackers find your credit card details?

There are two ways for cybercriminals to get access to your credit card information. It is either your, or your merchant’s fault.
Physical businesses might have compromised checkout devices, and merchant’s websites might be infected with malware that records your personal information including credit card details. The latter is more likely as people are voluntarily storing their card details on various websites.

While most online businesses are trying to keep security standards high, there are online shops which are not as caring about your personal information as we all want them to be. Just in 2017 alone, there were so many data breaches that nearly 50% of the people living in the US were somehow affected. Amongst those breaches, there were more than 30 million exposed credit card records that are likely to be still sitting up for grabs on the Dark Web.

While company breaches happen all the time, the main threat comes from stolen personal information. Keeping your credit card information safe is your responsibility – you would be surprised at the vast amounts of people who are practically inviting hackers by not using antivirus software.

What to do if you see suspicious activity on your credit card?

Lock your card

Call your credit card provider and notify them that the card might have been compromised and get them to freeze the account and send you a new one. Monitor your banking accounts – the sooner you call them, the better. Some credit card providers even have a direct ‘lock it’ button readily available on their online banking apps.

Install anti-virus software

There is a reason why your credit card details got stolen – the lack of security sometimes lures cybercriminals to steal your hard-earned money. Having anti-virus software on all your connected devices significantly decreases the chances of becoming a victim.

Find the cause

Knowing how it happened may help you stay away from trouble in future. See if it was a website that has been hacked, a compromised checkout device that recorded your card details, or you’ve become a victim of a phishing scam.

VISA might have found an acceptable solution against the most significant threat of 2015 but criminals are always on the lookout for loopholes, and in 2017 they prefer to not even go to stores. Why would they go out in the cold when they can drain your bank accounts by using your sensitive information to purchase goods online or obtain cryptocurrency that makes funds virtually untraceable? Go figure!

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How To Find Antivirus Software That Will Keep Your Small Business Safe

You’ve worked hard to get your business up and running. The last thing you need is to open your laptop and find a pop-up message demanding bitcoin for the safe return of your data. Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical situation; it’s one of the fastest growing cybersecurity dangers facing businesses today. But more on that later.

Right now, your research into antivirus protection for your business has brought you to this article, which is good for you because it’s about to list the bare minimum features you’ll want in any antivirus (AV) software, plus a few nice-to-haves.

No Computer Science Degree Needed

One feature you can’t live without is easy to use. SMB owners don’t have the money to pay full- time IT professionals. Like most other things, maintenance and admin duties will fall on your shoulders, so find an antivirus software that:

  • Sets up easily
  • Has a clean, intuitive user interface (UI)
  • Incorporates powerful admin controls

Good SMB antivirus software will have the information you need when you need it. Look for software with a centralized dashboard that gives you real-time monitoring and control of every facet of the system. If an employee gets their laptop stolen at a conference, you’ll want to close access fast before a hacker can do their dirty work. You may have to say goodbye to your laptop, but you won’t have a teary-eyed farewell for your data.

Dashboards and management consoles make admin duties — like granting and revoking user privileges — a breeze.

Any antivirus software worth the money will be ready to go after you install it. There shouldn’t be any additional infrastructure or technology to buy; it should work right out of the box. Keep an eye out for these key features and you’ll be running your software like a IT pro even without the computer science degree.

Scales With Your Business

When investing in AV software, you want one that will grow with your business. Effective enterprise antivirus software will have you covered regardless of size, with pricing models that charge by the number of devices covered or users.

Consider scalability a prime feature in an AV software. As your profit grows, so too will the target on your company’s back. Hackers are lazy. They want a big data score, so plan to invest more in cybersecurity software and choose an AV brand that can power up the quality and quantity of protection as your business expands.

Provides Endpoint Protection

It won’t do just to inoculate your office devices from computer viruses. Malware attacks for mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are predicted to rise. Cyberthieves aren’t targeting your employee’s mobile phone to steal their identities; they’re hacking it to access your network and your data.

Each of your employees and their personal devices are potential entry points into your network. To keep costs down, many SMBs have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, but personal devices are more prone to infection. Would you really trust your employees to remember to update their device’s operating systems or to avoid dangerous websites?

Comprehensive SMB antivirus software will have “endpoint protection,” which means it monitors all of the devices on your network that have access. Endpoint protection monitors all logins and runs security updates automatically regardless of device or operating system.

Low Impact on Your Devices’ Performance

Any antivirus software will slow down your company’s computers, tablets, and smartphones. The question is how much. Competition in any market today is fierce and time is money. That’s why AV developers work hard to keep all of their software’s scanning and monitoring activities as resource-hogging on possible.

Good antivirus brands for small and medium businesses use a cloud-based system that has little impact on device performance. With cloud-based AV software, a good chunk of the virus scanning and device authorizations happen outside of your network and devices, so the effect on your devices is small. Plus, cloud-based antivirus software gives you admin access anywhere there’s internet access.

Robust Malware Database

Antivirus software detects malware by comparing the files you open and the software you run against known malware strains. It keeps a “library” of these digital nuisances, and when it finds one, it blocks access to it. So, AV software is only as good as its malware database.

Good AV software will have a thorough and consistently updated malware database; a superior one will include malware strains not even created yet. Yes, you read that correctly. Some AV developers are even able to predict future malware types with complex algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Cybersecurity is a business where it’s not enough to just respond to malware attacks; you must fight them before they happen. When you’re researching good antivirus protection, look for products that use “heuristics” or “adaptive defense” strategies for detecting malware. These terms mean the software has a robust, proactive, and updated malware database.

High Detection and Low False Positive Rates

Your business needs antivirus software that stands up to real world protection tests. Independent organizations compare different AV products and score them on detection rate and false positives. Rate of detection is how effective the software is at detecting malware. False positives occur when a software wrongly flags a file or software as harmful when it’s actually safe.

Any AV software can get high detection rates if they’re overly aggressive. But that results in a false positive for your accounting software too. That’s a problem. So too is a program that lets anything through. Zero false positives here! But now you’ve got viruses galore. You want a antivirus protection with both a high detection rate AND low false positives.


Here’s a list of some nice-to-haves that aren’t critical but certainly helpful for SMBs.

Password Manager

Passwords are the front line of defense for a small to medium business’ cybersecurity, and the rules for creating secure passwords continue to evolve. The reining champion for most popular password is still “123456”, which should give every business owner goose bumps. Enterprise-level AV software will offer a password manager as a feature. At minimum, a good password manager will:

  • Warn users of weak passwords
  • Create strong passwords for users
  • Encrypt passwords for storage
  • Have auto-login and autofill features
  • Let you manage employee permissions from an admin console
  • Give you access to password management anywhere
  • Offer two-factor authentication

Firewall Defense

Firewall programs monitor and block cybersecurity threats that try and access your network via the internet. Cyberattacks like drive-by downloads and botnets are on the rise. Most users aren’t aware these types of attacks have happened. Hackers use sophisticated autonomous malware like worms that actively search your system for security vulnerabilities to exploit. Firewalls help eliminate these attacks by filtering the traffic coming into your network.

Ransomware Protection

One of the fastest growing cybersecurity dangers facing businesses today is ransomware. Any business with valuable data (as if there’s any other kind) is a good target for cyberthieves who want to steal or encrypt your data and then trade cash for it.

The scheme is popular because it’s effective and lucrative. Encrypted data is almost always lost if you choose not to pay, so the best protection is prevention. For that, you need a AV software that can spot the sophisticated methods used in a ransomware attack and warn you before the worst happens.

Yes, data threats like ransomware are for real and on the rise, but you don’t have to just cross your fingers every time you give an employee the wifi password. Comprehensive, enterprise-level antivirus protection will safeguard your data and help you sleep at night — two essential parts of your business’s success.

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What’s new at Mobile World Congress 2018

The Mobile World Congress is one of the most important technology events of the year. Barcelona (Spain) plays host to the mobile phone industry, offering them a chance to showcase their latest handsets and services.

So what did we learn at this year’s event?

The Samsung Galaxy S9 makes its debut

The Korean manufacturer announced their ninth version of the flagship Galaxy S smartphone. Available in two sizes (5.8” and 6.2”), the handsets look very similar to last year’s S8.

Inside, both phones feature increased processing power and RAM, making them perform faster that their predecessors. The larger S9 Plus also features two 12MP camera lenses to take better pictures – much like last year’s Apple iPhone X.

In terms of software, Samsung is promising further improvements to their Bixby virtual assistant. And messaging gets an update with new “AR emojis”, allowing users to create and animate their own emoji messages.

Nokia goes back to the Matrix
Although Scandinavian handset manufacturer Nokia did release a number of smartphones, it was their new 8810 Slider that stole the headlines. A direct throw-back to the sliding handset made famous by the Keanu Reeves movie The Matrix, the phone itself is nothing technically special.

The Slider 8810 now packs 4G connectivity, a relatively small screen (2.4”) and a 2MP camera, but very little else in terms of apps. This is a very much a phone for those people who “just want a phone”.

Not just phones

Away from the phones themselves, chip giant Intel was demonstrating the next generation of mobile networks – 5G connectivity. As well as phones, Intel hopes to integrate 5G technology into other computing devices like tablets, laptops and even desktop PCs.

5G networking is important because of the increased download speeds it provides. Current 4G mobile broadband connections are capable of delivering content at 100Mbps; with 5G that will rise to 2300Mbps. So you will be able to surf the web, stream movies and more – up to 23 times faster.

Working with ZTE, Intel hopes to release the first working 5G handset later this year.

More phones, more dangers

MWC2018 has shown again that smartphone technology develops at a remarkable pace. But behind the scenes, cybercriminals are working hard to build their own new scams and tricks.

As mobile broadband gets faster, we expect to see more examples of ransomware and Bitcoin malware infecting smartphones for instance. So no matter how fast or large handsets and network services grow, phone owners still need to take basic precautions to protect themselves.

Whether you buy a new Samsung Galaxy S9 (or any other phone) right after MWC 2018 ends, or much later in the year, make sure that your first stop is the Google Play store. And your first download? Panda Free Antivirus for Android of course!

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JP Morgan Chase Becomes a Victim of a Technical Glitch

One of the world’s biggest banks JP Morgan Chase & Co. is having a rough week!

Earlier this week, it was disclosed that their online banking system experienced a security issue that allowed some users to access the account information of others.
Affected Chase customers describe it as logging into their Chase online accounts with their password and username but ending up rerouted to the banking profile of a total stranger. The technical glitch caused a stir on social media with dozens of people ending up expressing their frustration about the glitch.

Exposed Information

The exposed information includes sensitive data such as full name, login username and contact details such as phone numbers, email addresses, and even mailing addresses. The users could move money between accounts and see details about income, transaction history, travel plans, etc. Currently, there is no information about the number of people affected by the technical issue.

After Chase became aware of the glitch, they started calling affected people and providing them with an assurance that their funds will be safe. JP Morgan spokesperson Trish Wexler said in an email to Bloomberg that the multinational banking and financial services holding company is still investigating the security issue and at this point, they believe the glitch was ‘extremely limited by scope’ and she is not aware of any complications such as unauthorized transactions. The glitch is known to have lasted for at least three hours.

Later in the day, Tracy Wexler confirmed to CNBC that the Wednesday incident is not a leak or a hack, but a technical glitch that has been taken care of and the affected users are being helped on a case-by-case basis. The Chase spokesperson refused to provide more details about what caused the glitch.

The biggest security issue for JP Morgan since 2014

This is the biggest security issue for JP Morgan since the significant data breach in 2014. The hack from four years ago affected more than 80 million people. Sadly, technical problems are not uncommon for the banking world – one of Chase’s most recognizable competitors Wells Fargo is still being roasted by the Federal Reserve for the internal processing issues that caused added fees to some online payments done by its users. Earlier this month TD Bank was also under fire for failing to launch their new banking platform adequately. They ended up leaving some of their customers without access to online banking for days.

Panda Security reminds you of the importance of 2-factor authentication when available, and the need to always have antivirus software on all your connected devices.

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IoT and the modern day robots among us

The next most prominent technology after the internet is the IoT (Internet of Things). IoT is not only changing people’s lifestyle but also the way consumers, businesses and governments interact with each other. Robots in all shapes and forms have been among us for years. According to Business Insider, the number of internet-connected devices (10 billion in 2015) is currently on track to increase more than three times by the end of the decade. In 2020, the IoT devices will be 25 billion, and the number of traditional computing devices such as PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets will reach the staggering 10 billion. More than $5 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions between 2015 and 2020.

And while IoT is already shaping our lives, it is still considered to be in its baby steps. Connected devices will continue to be adopted not only by technology-savvy consumers and innovative companies but will start being part of the masses. The number of efficient IoT connected smart cars and vehicles will continue to increase. IoT lowers the operating costs for businesses and governments, it is known to increase productivity. It also helps developers and entrepreneurs create whole new categories of product offerings.

What does the future look like?

It is not a secret that we already live and work among robots. While the modern-day robots luckily do not look and behave as the robots we know from the sci-fi movies, these devices are part of our lives. We have all sorts of smart tools that help us ease our lives, i.e., smart vacuum cleaners such as iRobot’s Roomba, Robomow intelligent lawn mowers, and even smart massage chairs like Bodyfriend’s Rex-L Plus. Those devices are so integrated into our lives that we don’t even think of them as robots. While you probably don’t call your thermostat or a dishwasher a robot, those devices indeed fulfill the definition of robotic devices. We no longer have to spend time vacuuming, mowing or driving to the massage therapist – we control all these connected devices from our smartphones and get them to do series of complex actions that save us time and money. While there is work that needs to be done into improving the human-robot interactions, with the help of AI, companies are continuing to design, build and deploy more human-like solutions for our everyday problems.

How bright is the future of IoT?

While there indeed are risks associated with the security, as your Roomba is known to have been mapping your home, and robots will be taking more and more jobs away from the humans, the future is not bad at all. While jobs are being lost, due to automation prices will continue to drop. More and more products will be more and more affordable. New categories of products will continue to emerge for both businesses and consumers. Companies will keep on implementing IoT solutions to cut costs and increase productivity and companies will continue to invent new tech categories. ROMY PARIS is an excellent example of a new product category invention as they created the formulator – a device that allows you to brew your own beauty cream from the comfort of home.

Cybersecurity concerns, regulation, and integration of IoT solutions will continue to be among the forefront challenges for the industry but one way or another, with the help of governments, cybersecurity firms and new technologies such as AI and Blockchain, the trend of having more and more connected devices will continue. Even though we see IoT products every day, we are still in the beginning of IoT adoption and the industry has a long way to go until it evolves into a highly connected world that we hope won’t be as grim as the one described in Netflix’s TV show Black Mirror.

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Why would you want to use a VPN service?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections are fairly common at work these days. If you travel for business, or work from home, there’s a very good chance that your connection back to the office is protected by a VPN.

The VPN acts like a secure tunnel between your computer and the remote system. Data passing along that tunnel is encrypted to prevent hackers stealing sensitive information as it passes over the Internet.

Protecting business data using a VPN makes sense, but they can be used for your personal connections too. And there’s some very good reasons for doing so.

Good reasons for using a VPN service

1. Protecting your personal information

VPN connections are similar to the SSL protection offered by ecommerce websites to encrypt information like credit card numbers and passwords – but what about sites that don’t use SSL? Any information sent between your computer and a website without encryption could be intercepted by hackers.

Using a VPN service all of your Internet traffic is encrypted , which makes it much harder for thieves to steal. A VPN service is a great way to protect against identity theft, fraud and other online scams.

2. Blocking ads

For many people, online advertising is out of control. Media-rich adverts make surfing the web slow and painful – particularly on mobile devices. There are also serious concerns about ad tracking, the information being gathered by advertisers, and how that data is being used (or who it is being sold to).

A VPN connection helps to anonymise your activities, making it much harder for advertisers to track you online.

3. Unlocking international Netflix (or other streaming services)

Streaming websites like Netflix, BT Sport and Sky use geolocation technology to detect where you are accessing their service from. If you go on holiday abroad, these apps will stop working because you’ve left your home country.

Video streaming services have to implement these blocks to comply with their contractual agreements – but it’s very annoying for anyone unable to use their paid-for subscription. Fortunately VPNs provide a solution.

When using VPN, the geolocation services cannot detect where you actually are. So if you pick a VPN service based in the same country as your subscription, you will be able to watch video from anywhere in the world.

VPNs – An important safeguard

Because modern cybercrime is so sophisticated, you may need several tools to protect yourself. Your router and antivirus software offer protection for data stored on your home computers – but what about information as it leaves the network?

Using a VPN service, you can encrypt all of your web traffic so hackers cannot access it. A VPN service offers the same protections for your phone and tablet when you are outside the house too.

And remember, VPNs are not just for security either. The ability to hide your location is incredibly useful when using location-specific streaming services. And you will also find it much easier to access websites in your language as you travel too.

So, is it time that you started using a VPN at home?

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Chatbots and AI -are they dangerous?

In order to better serve customers, businesses are increasingly reliant on Artificial Intelligence (AI). These computerised systems collect information about customers, and then try and apply it to solving business problems.

AI is proving to be particularly helpful in the area of customer service. By monitoring conversations with customers, AI systems begin to detect patterns of behaviour that can be used to predict questions or problems in advance. Customer service agents can use these insights to “fix” issues more quickly, and to deliver a better quality of service to clients.

AI and chatbots – a match made in customer service heaven

Online retailers are also looking for ways to improve the shopping experience by making it easier for customers to access the information they need. Many are now using “chatbots” – automated systems that can answer questions in a text chat window on the website.

Initially chatbots are pretty dumb – they can only answer specific questions, which have to be worded exactly right or the system doesn’t understand. But when backed by AI, the system becomes much cleverer.

AI can be used to “learn” how customers think, and to answer vague questions. The more the system learns, the more questions it can answer, more quickly.

Good technology can be misused

Unfortunately AI and chatbots can be used for evil too. Because AI Is specifically designed to better understand us as individuals, it is an ideal tool for identity thieves. The more they know about you, the easier it is to impersonate you.

As a result, shoppers need to be extremely careful about the websites that they visit, and the systems they interact with. Talking with a malicious chatbot could be as dangerous as entering your credit card details into a phishing website.

As AI matures and becomes cheaper to operate, we expect to see more examples of criminals misusing the technology to commit more identity fraud-based crimes. Over time, these systems may even be able to pull together data from multiple sources, like your Facebook profile, as well as using information supplied to fake chatbots.

The more information the AI can access, the more detailed a picture hackers can build of you, your preferences and interests. Which means that when they do try and exploit your data, their efforts will be much more convincing – and likely to succeed.

How to protect against fake AI and chatbots

To help stay aware of these dangers, and to prevent being tricked my malicious AI and chatbots, you should install a robust anti malware toolkit like Panda Gold Protection. Not only will this help keep your computers virus free, but it will also alert you whenever you visit a dangerous site – or even block access completely.

Take a step towards protecting yourself today by downloading a free trial of Panda Security – you won’t regret it.

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Quantum computing: What is it?

In the 1980s and 1990s, science fiction movies were obsessed with super computers and the way they would change the world. These days, super computers are relatively common, so instead we hear about “quantum computers”.

Back in 2015, IBM announced that they had managed to turn theory into reality as they unveiled their first working quantum computer. For IT geeks the news was very exciting – but what does it mean for home computer users?

What is a quantum computer?

Before trying to explain quantum computers, it helps to understand how a traditional computer – like your PC or Mac – handles information. Known as “classical” computers, these devices use long strings of “bits” to represent data. A bit can have one of two values: 0 or 1.

Everything on your computer – documents, pictures, emails and videos – are made up of very long strings of 1s and 0s. On a traditional computer hard drive, the bits are made by altering the polarity of tiny magnetic particles on the disk.

A quantum computer is very different. Instead of using bits, they use “qubits”. Qubits are stored by altering the behaviour of tiny particles like electrons or photons. More importantly, qubits are capable of representing more than just a 1 or a 0 – instead they can store 0, 1 or a “superposition” of many different numbers at once.

Using qubits, it becomes possible to carry out a “arbitrary reversible classical computation” on all those numbers simultaneously; a classical computer can only complete one calculation at a time. As a result, quantum computers are (in theory) much faster at completing complex calculations than even the fastest super computer.

If that sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Explaining a quantum computer is extremely difficult because they rely on advanced physics to carry out complex calculations. Even quantum physicists struggle to properly explain how quantum computers work.

Why do quantum computers matter?

The amount of data being created every day is phenomenal – and current computers will not be able to keep pace for much longer. Modern super computers are still too slow to perform some of the most important scientific tasks like testing the effects of new medicines at the molecular level.

With the ability to perform very complicated calculations more quickly, or to even model those drugs at the molecular level, quantum computers provide a much needed performance boost. Most data scientists agree that quantum computers are our best chance to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century.

Will you ever own a quantum computer?

Because of their complexity, quantum computers are extremely expensive. If the technology proves to be valuable, we should see that cost fall as more computer manufacturers get on board.

The reality is that the average home user won’t need the power provided by quantum computing. Or be able to afford the electricity bill for running a device that manipulates photons and electrons to store and manipulate data!

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