Privacy is something that all of us cherish. We very carefully choose who and where to share our most intimate moments. However, in the digital age that can be hard. We use social media to interact with personal friends and share our lives online. And once something is online, it is difficult to hide it from everyone. Well, Facebook seems to understand your concern. They’ve updated their online privacy settings to make it easier for you to understand.
Facebook Privacy Basics
Knowing the ins and outs of Facebook’s privacy settings is not the easiest thing to do. And when they constantly add new features, users are never sure who is able to see what they post. Well, thanks to a handy new guide, you can learn answers to the following questions:
- Who can see your posts?
- Who can see what you like and comment on other people’s posts?
- How can you see your profile’s appearance from someone else’s perspective?
- Who can see photos that you tag someone else in?
- Who can seem your friends list?
- How can you block and unfriend people?
They even have a section in their new guide on how to make your security better and what to do in the event that it has been compromised.
The Benefits of These New Online Privacy Guidelines
Giving users an intuitive way to understand their settings and Facebook experience goes a long way. With a better understanding, users can now take extra care of staying safe and keeping their information private.
Another benefit is that this guide is mobile friendly. Some actions you take might lead you to the privacy basics, which can tell you what the how to share things the way you want to. Hopefully, this guide will encourage people to check and update their privacy settings. This way it makes it easy to connect with others online without having to worry.
We all get that feeling. That nervous pit in our stomach. It’s the feeling that comes right before you dial the phone number to tech support. It might be the simplest issue that makes you feel stupid for not knowing how to fix it.
Before Calling Tech Support, You Should …
None of us want to go through the embarrassment of calling tech support. Let’s face it, phone conversations with strangers can be awkward. So, before you pull out your phone, here are a couple of ways to solve the simplest computer issues:
- Restart Your Machine – It’s a very simple step, yet so many people ignore it. It should be the first thing you do, no matter what issue you have. A good reboot can realign your computer system to the way it should be.
- Check Your Updates – Your computer should always be running the latest operating system (OS). If you are on a PC, check Windows Update. For a Mac, click software update in the settings. Remember, updates happen because hackers exploit an old OS.
- Check Your Hard Drive – A full hard drive will slow your computer a significant amount. See where you can clear up some space. This may make your computer run a bit more smoothly.
- Disable Startup Items – Have you ever had a billion things pop up every time you turn on your computer? Yeah, well those are startup items. Programs set to open when your computer receives power. Just press Windows-R, type msconfiq into the search bar that pops up, and enter. This will present you with a list of startup items. You can disable as many programs from opening up, just avoid anything labeled Microsoft corporation.
- Speed Test and Network Hardware – Speed test can tell you how fast your download and upload speeds are. A really good one is speedtest.net. Compare your results to what your provider promises you. If you are experiencing connection issues, then restart your router and modem.
Simple, easy, done. These are just some simple solutions to simple problems. Check back next week to find out more.
Every smartphone how important it is for them to reduce data. Not keeping tabs on how much data’s being used can lead to a big penalty. You’ll wind up having to spend a lot more on your phone bill than you previously expected.
Obviously, if you’re fortunate enough to have an unlimited data plan, this does not apply. Congratulations to you for being so lucky. But for everyone else, there’s a specific limit that mustn’t be exceeded. And it’s a struggle.
Making sure you don’t go further than your data limit is difficult. After all, you have a smartphone because you want to use all the features it has to offer. But you know how to use them wisely. Here are a few tips that could help you get through each month unscathed by overages.
Tips for How to Reduce Data
- Connect to WiFi Networks– Staying connected to a WiFi network will limit how much data you’re using. These networks are beneficial, but you need to make sure they’re secure. And when you’re on public WiFi, only use it for casual browsing. Sometimes, a WiFi signal is weak, so some phones have a feature called WiFi Assist. While it helps strengthen the signal, Wifi Assist takes up data. Disable this if your phone has it.
- Pay Attention to the Apps You Download – Go to the data usage page on your settings. Look at the apps most responsible for the megabytes used. If you don’t want to part ways with them, then make sure to limit how often you go on them. Only use then when connected to WiFi. Also, try using apps that can be used offline.
- Manage Your Video Settings – Watching videos nonstop will take up all your data very quickly. This doesn’t mean you have to stop watching videos altogether. Just be smarter about how you watch them. Most of the popular social media apps have an auto-play feature for videos. You can easily disable this by going to your account settings.
Paying closer to your daily smartphone usage will reduce data. It can be inconvenient and trivial at times. But it prevents you from having to pay unnecessary fines.
Recently, top smartphone designers have been toying with the idea of foldable screens. This is a very exciting development. Because over the past few years, enough progress has been made for it to be a possibility.
The Samsung Galaxy Round proved that a screen could be curved and flexible. And LG’s G Flex went even further with Samsung’s design plan. Its great durability impressed users. Both phones, however, were stepping stones. Not the final result.
A move towards a more flexible design is exciting for a couple of reasons. Many critics say smartphone design has plateaued. They think everything looks the same now. A spark of innovation like this will prove them wrong. Also, for the many clumsy people out there living with cracked screens, this sounds like an awesome idea.
So, how far away are we from having foldable screens? Who’s the closest to making this a reality? Will it be as life-saving and practical as everyone thinks? There aren’t any definitive answers to of those questions yet, but here’s what we’ve found.
The Future of Foldable Screens
In June, Lenovo debuted a prototype for a phone called the CPlus. It’s a very interesting looking phone. Not only is it bendable, but it can also roll up and be worn on a user’s wrist. The phone-watch combo can be a game changer. But the CPlus’ release date is still a few years away. Lenovo says it won’t be out until 2020.
Other top companies are working on their foldable designs, too. Recently, Apple has patented the idea for a flexible iPhone that can clip onto clothing. And reports have shown that they’ve had the idea for a foldable design for a while.
In order to make this a reality, Apple has partnered with LG. Designs have already been drawn up and they plan to start producing them in 2018. Samsung, Google, and Microsoft have also expressed interest in working with LG for screens of their own.
Foldable screens offer a lighter, more durable option for smartphone users. It’s a design that feels more like a futuristic dream than something only a few years away from being released. But companies like Apple, LG and Lenovo are very close to making this dream a reality.
Google is looking extend the reach of your modem with their new WiFi router. Chances are, your house could use something like this. You probably have at least one room that’s a total dead zone. And you’ll wind up avoiding it all day or lifting up your laptop awkwardly to get a better connection.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Google’s WiFi router intends to get rid of those pesky dead zones. They want you to get the most out of your modem. Because you deserve to have the exact internet you paid good money for.
So, how well does it perform? Is it better than the other routers currently out there? What about the price? We’re going to discuss all of that out now. Here’s our review of the new Google WiFi router.
Product Review: Google’s WiFi Router
Setting up the router is pretty simple. All you have to do is download the Google WiFi app on your phone. After that, just follow a few easy instructions and you’re connected.
The reach of Google’s router ranges from 500-1500 square feet. The reach depends on which speed you prefer. If you choose the 2.4 GHz speed, it’ll be longer. But if you want the faster 5 GHz option, your reach will not be as far.
For people that live in a larger home or apartment, one router might not be enough. That’s why Google came up with the Network Assist feature for multiple router homes. So, when you’re moving around the house, Network Assist will immediately connect your device to the one with the fastest connection. This is done seamlessly, so you won’t experience a dropped call or failed download when going from room to room.
For one router, the price is at $129. And buying three in a bundle costs $300 dollars. Compared to other routers with an equal reach that the three routers combined give you, it’s a good deal.
Google is looking to make your WiFi reach further with their new router. And no matter the size of your house, it has you covered. At a fair price for its quality, this product would make a good purchase for anyone.
We’re a few weeks into 2017, so let’s look at the best tablets set to come out this year. All the top names are expected to release new models. This has led to widespread excitement throughout the tech community. Exciting things are coming our way very soon.
Best Tablets for 2017
If you’ve waited through the Christmas season for them, your patience is about to pay off. Here are some of the most anticipated tablet releases of 2017.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5
The Surface Pro became an immediate favorite for its versatility. Unlike most other tablets, the Surface has enough firepower to function as a laptop. The fifth installment is expected to keep that tradition going. Rumors say that the Pro 5 will have up to 16GB of RAM as well as 512GB of internal storage.
Critics hope Microsoft will be able to fix the tablet’s biggest issues with this installment. Most notably, the battery. It does not last very long.
iPad Pro 2
Apple users are understandably confused and frustrated by the company’s tablet line. There are simply too many iPad branches now, it’s hard to keep count. The Pro is certainly the best of the bunch. But the fact that Apple’s still making iPad Minis and iPad Airs, it’s hard for customers to tell the three apart.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
There’s a lot of excitement for the Tab S3. Similar to previous models, sources say the S3’s size will be 8 and 9.7 inches, depending on the model. It will also have the same AMOLED display panel. There is one distinct hardware difference, though. Instead of the Snapdragon chipset, the S3 is rumored to be running on the speedier Exynos this time around.
The Google Tablet
We’re saving the most unknown for last. A lot of sources believe Google might discontinue their line of tablets. Others say it’s coming out this year. If that is the case, it’ll be interesting to see what Google names it. In 2016, they changed the name of their phone line from Nexus to Pixel. Will their tablets be part of the Pixel line, too? Or will they remain Nexus? Nobody seems to know for sure.
As more information comes out, it’s certain that 2017 should be an exciting year for tablets.
Google has recently released the Trusted Contact app. For quite some time, expediting communication between users has been a goal of Google’s. But while most of their efforts in this field have been on with social platforms, the Trusted Contact app is specifically intended for emergency situations. User safety is the primary goal here.
This is an app intended to give users peace of mind and help them in those hard-to-prepare-for situations. The questions regarding this app are functionality, effectiveness, and whether or not this app can be as helpful as Google intends it to be. We will assess those questions now and let you know if this is an app necessary in any emergency.
How the Trusted Contact App Works
Users are able to designate their closest friends and family members as trusted contacts. If they feel comfortable doing so, they can share their location with these contacts. This works no matter the circumstances. Even if there’s no service, or if the user’s battery happens to die. The user’s location will be updated for whichever contact is chosen.
Pros and Cons of the Trusted Contact App
Having an app that allows the user to contact someone in the direst of situations is essential. On that alone, Google’s Trusted Contact app does what it sets out to do. It’s a good safety net to have. And at 5 MB, there’s very little to worry about in terms of storage.
The only negative there is to this app derives from the overlap with other apps and phone software. Facebook has had the safety check for a few years, Apple has the iCloud Family Sharing feature, and apps such as Familio and GeoZilla all provide similar services. In fact, people who use other Google apps have also pointed out that Google+ and Hangouts also do this in some form.
Redundancy issues aside, compared to the other apps of its ilk currently out there, Google’s is the most thorough. Consider downloading it as a precautionary measure.
You have more than likely visited websites that have had malware ads running on them. They’re everywhere, whether you know it or not. Often referred to as “malvertising,” these malware ads infiltrate sites as a banner or popup ad and then redirects you to a harmful website.
How do malware ads find their way onto these sites? First, someone hacks into an ad delivery server. They then upload an ad with harmful content unbeknownst to the ad network. Once it’s in the ad network, users are put at risk.
Many people might assume that an attack of this kind only happens on sites you shouldn’t be on in the first place. But high-volume sites such as the New York Times and Spotify were victims to this type of attack in 2016 alone.
Malware Ads Spread Ransomware
This is the biggest problem with malvertising. By disguising itself as a regular ad in the server, one could potentially appear anywhere. And the consequences of getting a malware ad are varied. The most devious of these problems is ransomware.
Ransomware instantly downloads itself onto your computer. It then denies access to your computer or its files until you pay the hacker to decrypt it. This is a shady operation designed to hold the user hostage.
AdBlock’s Role in Preventing Malvertising
For many, installing AdBlock is a contentious issue with obvious benefits, as well as more its share of nuanced negatives. As users become more accustomed to getting their content for free, the sites themselves need to find revenue in different ways. Hence, the advertisements. These ads can be annoying, however. This is why many users have resorted to AdBlock. Forbes recently pleaded with their users to turn off their AdBlock because of the effect it has on their revenue. Their site was then hacked by a malware ad shortly after.
A situation like this creates an even stronger case for AdBlock than it ever had before. Protection from these harmful ads is crucial. Users can’t leave themselves open to these attacks. Ad networks will have to get stronger security in order to make users comfortable with getting rid of their AdBlock. Because as it currently stands, both parties are losing.
Predicting the cyber security trends of 2017 is a worthwhile exercise after such a hack-heavy 2016. Many of these hacks were high-profile. As a result, they dominated the news cycle for the majority of the year.
On a smaller scale, local businesses are hurting badly from this. Less than one in three small businesses have basic security tools. Nearly a quarter of them say they’ve had a loss of data. While almost half list it as their greatest fear. This is coming from Carbonite research, and they predict these cyber-attacks can potentially grow in 2017.
Everyone seems vulnerable in this climate. People in both the public and private sector are worried about leaks, malware, phishing, and whatever else may come.
So, what can we expect to happen in 2017? How will people be protecting themselves from more sophisticated attacks? To answer these questions, here are a few trends we predict will play a big role in making people safer in the year to come.
Predicting Cyber Security Trends in 2017
- Expected to increase this year is regulation. Research estimates that government spending on cybersecurity will continue to increase to somewhere in the billions by 2019. Whether it’s through legislation or more standard security controls, there will be a call for as much prevention as possible.
- Demand for cyber-insurance will reach new heights. More companies will be looking for this type of insurance than ever before. It could lead to a significant spike in premium cost because of this.
- The cloud will be scrutinized due to these breaches. Companies providing cloud capabilities for users are not equipped to protect. Users will be wise to find other security options on their own.
- More schools will implement cybersecurity education programs. The Air Force Association has already launched one at no-cost for elementary schools. A well-informed user is the first step in preventing a cyber-attack. So, teaching kids at a young age about potential threats will make future generations more aware.
After such a wild year, cyber security trends in 2017 all tend to lean toward vigilance. Education and better focus on prevention are imperative.
Focus on software and cloud-based technology is important, but hardware security is still the strongest line of defense against a cyber-attack. Software tools such as antivirus are not as effective as hardware-based security. Altering hardware is more difficult. The physical component, therefore, eliminates the possibility of malware being installed. The use of processors is what keeps things secure.
There are reasons to find alternatives, but it could prove to be costly. Because the first step to preventing a cyber-attack is with strong hardware.
Software Security Vs. Hardware Security
Software encryption programs are more cost effective and easy to use. But the security that software provides is only as good as the operating system. A lapse there can easily compromise the security provided by the encryption code. Hardware security is what keeps sensitive data the safest.
Companies Investing in Hardware
Many leading developers have noticed a growing need for hardware because of its effectiveness. IBM recently unveiled their z13s mainframe and have called it the most sophisticated computer system ever built. They assure users that the z13s is able to encrypt data twice as fast as previous generations without compromising performance.
Developing stalwarts of encryption will help in a myriad of ways. Several other companies have been looking to stop cyber threats with hardware, on both a big and small scale. For example, CyberInc’s Isla looks to eliminate all browser-borne malware, while IronKey intends to deliver secure USB storage solutions.
The Need for User Awareness
User awareness is arguably as important as anything else mentioned in this article. If someone doesn’t know how to properly handle the hardware or software they’re using, this could lead to a big problem. Users who are more aware of what’s out there behave more responsibly and take fewer risks with valuable company data.
Cybersecurity continues to be a concern. But hardware security is revolutionizing how viruses and malware are combated. Paying attention to this sector will pay dividends for users everywhere.