Weak cybersecurity — steps to protect your online activities

2020 has been one of the worst years ever with the blast in Beirut, fires in Abu Dhabi, Earth Quakes in Turkey, destructive floods in Indonesia, US-Iran crisis, Amazon rainforest wildfires, and the most dangerous of all — COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s almost as if calamity has struck every corner of the world.

And with this, we have seen a huge rise of people being more digitally connected than ever; indulging in remote working, online shopping, and video calling to keep things afloat. One of the biggest issues of this increased reliance on the digital world is that cyberattacks have skyrocketed, taking advantage of the general fear and uncertainty that the global pandemic has instilled in the minds of people.

From phishing attacks, ransomware, to online identity thefts, cybercriminals have taken this opportunity of the coronavirus pandemic to boost their malicious activities, both in scope and frequency. The FBI has reported receiving as many as 4,000 complaints in their Cyber Division per day.

This is a 400% increase in ransomware attacks since covid-19 became a pandemic. From the perspective of criminals, this unfortunate situation is like stepping on a gold mine, and with that, it has now become more important than ever to become more vigilant about your cybersecurity.

Here are 12 steps to increase your cybersecurity and protect your data from prying eyes, viruses, and malicious entities.

  1. Implement Two-Factor Authentication. Even if you are not security conscious about your email address and personal accounts, it is always a good idea to implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on all avenues. It typically adds an extra layer of verification like a One-Time-Password (OTP) sent to your smartphone. You have to enter that code (valid for a limited time) to log in.
  2. Always Use Strong Passwords. There are a few protocols to follow when creating passwords for your accounts. This includes using variations of symbols, numbers, and lower/upper case letters, never copying the same password on different accounts and generally avoiding adding any predictable details in passwords. Bear in mind, cybercriminals have a lot of experience cracking weak passwords, so you have to be clever than them. Use a Password Manager to manage all your passwords.
  3. Install an Anti-Malware and Antivirus. Almost all internet-enabled devices, be it your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet are vulnerable to being hacked, affected by malware/viruses, and dangerous spyware attacks. If you want to receive protection from them, you need to invest in a reliable Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, and Anti-Malware software. For Android, these are some tools that can help your personal security.
  4. Update All Your Devices/Applications. After installing the operating system, different applications, and network configurations, most people either turn off “automatic updates” or forget to keep their devices up to date with the latest patches, bug fixes, and product enhancements. Don’t make this mistake and make sure you actively implement software and system security updates to avoid being exposed to malicious entities and vulnerabilities.
  5. Decommission All Unused Services. If you upgrade to a better device, make sure to decommission the older ones, unless needed. This goes true for other limited-duration products as well. If you are not using them, retire the applications, logins, and user credentials associated with them. This will protect you in the circumstances any product/company suffers from a security breach, exposing your data simply for being associated!
  6. Avoid Clicking on Suspicious URLs. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the “coronavirus fearware” to introduce COVID-19 themed phishing attacks and ransomware to lure victims. Malwarebytes discovered a clever ploy wherein implemented a variant of the AZORult malware in coronavirus maps. This allowed them to steal data of users visiting the website, hence why it is advised to always look at URL carefully before opening them.
  7. Use a Security/Privacy Tool like a VPN. In addition to cover all aspects of system security, you need to invest in a reliable solution for online security. This is where a VPN comes in handy, changing your IP address, shifting your location, employing encryption, and assigning you a dynamic IP for protecting your anonymity online. You have to be careful when picking a VPN because providers often make claims that are later found to be false when the VPN is subjected to a thorough review and testing. But, as any unbiased review will show, well-reputed providers like NordVPN generally live up to their promises in terms of the features and performance they have to offer.
  8. Avoid Connecting to Public Networks. It may seem like a great idea to connect to a public Wi-Fi network when outside. The place could be a bar, restaurant, or a pub. What’s bad about this is that these places are vulnerable to cybercriminals who either hack into these networks or create a phony one, so that you hit the “connect” button and grant them the ability to snoop on your activity. It’s always safer to use your Mobile Data on public Wi-Fi instead.
  9. Don’t Overshare on Social Media. Many people don’t think before posting their details online, even going as far as adding their home address. Why would you do that? Refrain from publically posting your contact details or any extremely private information on social media, unless you are running a business. Cybercriminals use OSINT (open-source intelligence) to scour social media for potentially telltale information.
  10. Be Alert When Shopping Online. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have issued state-wide lockdowns with citizens practicing social distancing, as to avoid the spread of the virus. This has directly resulted in people relying on eCommerce websites for getting their groceries and other essentials. If you shop online too, always check the URL. Only open websites that utilize “HTTPS”, as the connection is encrypted via TLS/SSL.
  11. Inspect All Banking Transactions. If you do shop online a lot, it is vital that you be vigilant about all transactions occurring. In addition to being extra cautious when giving your credit card information online, make sure to inspect all transactions every month. This way, you can quickly take notice of any malicious purchases, and get in touch with the bank instantly. If you report within time, you may even get your money back.
  12. Don’t Ignore Aspects of Physical Security. Last, but not least, while being so encompassed with cybersecurity, make sure to not overlook simple security risks. In addition to physical restrictions on accessing your private computers/laptops, avoid security lapses like leaving behind your entry/access cards, keeping sensitive documents in the open, leaving crucial information on Whiteboards, or written down passwords on notepads.

It is important to remember that working on your online privacy/security and making adjustments like the ones above are crucial for getting used to the new reality and the tricky cybersecurity atmosphere as of recent. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Now, while these steps above may not get rid of every cyberattack imaginable, you can use them for making yourself a less visible target in the eyes of malicious actors. Therefore, if you have not started implementing them yet, it is high time you do.

New and Interesting Augmented Reality (ARKit) Apps for iPhones and iPads

Augmented Reality

Robert Scoble published a list of ARKit Apps (Augmented Reality). I found it interesting and listing it here, in no particular order, for the records. You need an ARKit-enabled iPhone or iPad to play with these apps.

  1. Sketchfab – drop 3D objects near you.
  2. Orb – pull out basic shapes and then sculpt, rotate, and paint them to create your own Orbs.
  3. PuzzlAR: World Tour -puzzle game.
  4. Holo – see the quality of holograms.
  5. Army of Robots – you must destroy the robots that are invading your REAL WORLD.
  6. Paint Space AR – draw in the air with all sorts of brushes and colors.
  7. Math Ninja AR – get kids involved in learning math.
  8. World Brush – paint with brushes on the world around you.
  9. Follow Me Dragon – Say hi to your new dragon! He breathes fire, does tricks, and follows you anywhere you go!
  10. Insight Heart – explore the human heart; rotate and scale the high-resolution heart floating in front of you.
  11. Monster Park – Dino World – Would you like to make a hilarious photo with dinosaurs, those who ruled the Earth long time ago?
  12. Nitro Nation – For those who live life 1/4 mile at a time, Nitro Nation is the most addictive drag racing game!
  13. aCen – a target shooting game.
  14. Fitness AR – explore your Strava bike rides and runs in augmented reality.
  15. powARdup – a fast-paced arcade survival game.
  16. Magic Sudoku – aim this app at a sudoku board game and it’ll solve it for you.
  17. Dronetopolis – Fly a virtual drone around.
  18. Dance Reality – Learn to dance in AR.
  19. My Very Hungry Caterpillar – caterpillar game.
  20. Conduct AR – a train game.
  21. Color BlastAR – find the paint buckets and treasure chests hidden in your room and start blasting life-sized zombies with color.
  22. AR Runner – gets you to run around.
  23. Splitter Critters – Split the world with a swipe of your finger and then rearrange it to guide critters back to their spaceship.
  24. ARrived – The player assumes the role of a deity who must lead followers through key decisions and interacts with real environment in order to guide them reach prosperity and to all kinds of crazy stuff.
  25. GIPHY World: AR GIFs+Stickers – Get ready to fill the world around you with GIFs & stickers in glorious AR powered 3D!
  26. AR Sports Basketball – basketball game.
  27. AR-Basketball – basketball game.
  28. Drive Ahead! Minigolf – Minigolf.
  29. Mammoth Mini Golf AR – a wacky caveman themed world of mini golf right into your home.
  30. Stack AR – Stack up the blocks as high as you can.
  31. CARROT Weather – a crazy-powerful weather app that delivers hilariously twisted forecasts.
  32. Zombie Gunship Revenant – zombie shooter where you take control of a heavily-armed helicopter gunship and obliterate zombies from the sky.
  33. Pigeon Panic – run haphazardly into large flocks of pigeons.
  34. Phantogeist – first person shooter game.
  35. The Machines – bring an AR battlefield to life in front of your eyes.
  36. YuME: Alice’s Dream – a story about a dream within a dream – story, puzzles, games.
  37. Domino World – create incredible virtual domino courses quickly and easily in the world around you, using an assortment of tiles, props and toys.
  38. shARk – lets sharks enter your world and swim with you.
  39. Twilight Pioneers:Dragon ARena – a story about a dragon soul controller fighting with the Dark Lord.
  40. AR Balloons – pop Balloons in augmented reality.
  41. Knightfall – places you into the world of Knights Templar as they seek to defend the city of Acre from an invadaing army.
  42. The Box – every day you get new functionality.
  43. Mancala FS5 – a board game.

How to choose the right mobile development framework

Not so long ago you could only develop in Objective-C (for iOS) or in Java (For Android).

A lot has changed recently and many new mobile app development frameworks have come up. You have PhoneGap, Sencha, jQTouch, jQuery Mobile, Kendo UI, Corona, Titanium Appcelerator, RubyMotion and many others. Among these they allow building apps using Javascript, Java, Lua and Ruby.

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Mobile Phones – A Catalyst for the Future in Education

Along with million other uses of mobile phones, the latest upcoming advantage of this device is, it is going to create a revolution in education. Mobile phones are going to have the power to digitally impart education globally. Even the most tech-savvy person would have never dreamt in her wildest dreams, that such a possibility would ever come into being.

A unique partnership between Aptech & Hungama has led to the formation of Aptech Hungama Digital Education.

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Respect for Android & Android App Development

Over the years & for various reasons, Android is not treated at par with Apple applications by prominent application developers. Apple was the preferred destination to showcase new applications. And, there definitely were available all reasons & justifications about why Apple was the front-runner for App Development.

However, there is a clear change in recent days as developers and commercial establishments have recognized the importance of sharing a launch pad equally with iOS and Android. With the change in the game plan, it is likely that more number of premium Android applications will be made available for growing android fans.

Why Android is Scoring?

  • The plus point for Android developers is that Android is an open source platform which gives the advantage of the involvement of a large number of developers.
  • Developers will have the opportunity to squeeze the latest advancements in technology front.
  • No license expense is involved in the development of an Android application. Hence, developers have the opportunity to make large earnings with little investments.
  • Android has a unique advantage in integration of various applications. Developers are exploring the opportunities available with Android to invent unique applications.
  • It is advantageous & possible to develop Android mobile applications using different languages such as Java, Python, Perl, etc.
  • Further Android software development kit (SDK) works like Droid emulator. Developers are not required to download and upload the software to test on mobile phones. All the process and functional aspects can be checked through the emulator.

Businesses can hire Android developers to develop an innovative applications. However, enough research should be done in figuring out the kind of application they want to launch & the purpose.

As technology is growing on a continuous basis, it is very much important to hire knowledgeable developers to accomplish your high end tasks. With over 300 million Android phones available in the market, it is a great opportunity for developers to take advantage of the growing demand for Android devices.

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New L-Style phones from LG

From basic phones to smartphones, LG offers a wide range of models. Each model offers a specific set of features in proportion to the budget opted by users. Along-with other mobile phone manufacturing majors such as Samsung, HTC and Nokia, LG launches attractive new models with new features quite often. Recently, LG announced a new set of 3 phones – “L” series. These new models have close resemblance to HTC and Samsung. Through L series, LG offers simplified versions of smartphones. L Styles will fit in between budget and high-end models of LG.

New L-style phones offer better grip and it is easy to carry these slim sized ones. Special layout and design features attract users to stick to the new screen. Of the three L models announced, LG Optimus L7 comes with 4.3″ display. L5 sports 4″ while L3 sports 3.2 inches. L7 offers Ice Cream Sandwich and L3 runs on Gingerbread Android OS. It is revealed that L3 comes with 3 MP camera while L5 and L7 are fitted with 5 MP cameras.

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AuthorStream’s Sharing goes Mobile

Just as Flickr enables you to manage and store photos, AuthorStream helps you manage and share PowerPoint presentation files on internet. The service is offered free of cost. You can sign up and start your presentation sharing instantaneously. In order to fulfill the requirements of mobile segment, AuthorStream has announced a new mobile site. With the enhanced mobile version, you will be able to share presentations through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or through email as well.

You can view available presentations, search presentations and share presentations through the mobile version. The distinct advantage AuthorStream provides in addition to its capacity to serve mobile community is the ability to store, retrieve and share presentations without compromising on quality. Whatever is embedded in your slides like animations, sounds and videos will not be distorted or modified from their original versions. Furthermore, users will be able to access presentations from anywhere and at anytime.

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New Updates from “Google+ for Android”

Mobile phones that run on Android OS have the advantage to access innumerable number of Android Applications. Ever since Google has taken control on Android operating system, rapid development has taken place. Smart Android applications have not only enhanced functionalities of mobile phones but also changed the lifestyles of millions of people across the globe. Google has been improving social application, Google+ for Android quite often to ensure that there will be steady and stable growth. Google has delivered updates for Google+ for Android application.

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Android ‘Opens Arms’ for Google Chrome

Google Chrome is one of the most suave and user friendly browsers. This browser is mostly used as a style statement due to its vogue user interface and themes. The good news for Chrome lovers and Android owners is that google has started offering the beta version of the chrome browser for the android users. On the flip side, the chrome browser is only available for the android devices that use Android version 4.0 or popularly known as the Ice Cream Sandwich. Currently only 1% of the Android population are on Ice Cream Sandwich Android devices.

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Android Apps – Innovative Trend in HDR Photography

Today, most Android Devices have the best of cameras possible. In fact, your default Android device may not have a good app to take photos and share them. However, with a little help from some of the latest apps, you can transform it into a useful photographic escort. It can handle a wide range of photography related tasks. Android is the hottest mobile innovation by Google that is taking the mobile market by storm. This mobile platform is totally unlocked, allowing application developers a free rein to display their creativity; at the same time it gives the users the advantage to experience freedom of playing with new possibilities. There has been an overabundance of android phones in the mobile market recently and that effectively increases the amount of great photography apps in the marketplace.

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