Archive for June 3, 2020

ESET shares tips on keeping your smart phone safe

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

As people become more sensitive about the privacy and security of their data, Canadians across the country are looking for ways to up their personal security.

One personal device where security features often get overlooked is personal cell phones. Whether because we always have them close by or think it “will never happen to me,“ Canadians are leaving themselves exposed to security risks on their phones. 

To help protect your mobile security, ESET, a world-leader in cybersecurity, offers the following lock screen options for protecting your phone. 

  • Pattern Lock — A pattern lock, as the name suggests, requires the owner to enter a specific pattern that they came up with to unlock their device. As far as screen lock choices go, pattern locks could be considered a medium-level security option at best. Your finger squiggle could be as easy as drawing an L or you could make the pattern more difficult by drawing a sophisticated shape. The simpler the pattern is, the easier it is for lurkers to copy it if they are watching over your shoulder. 

In fact, research found that lurkers were successful in recreating the swipe pattern 64.2% of the time after looking at it once; with multiple observations, that risk rises. You can improve your security by turning off feedback lines and opting for a more sophisticated pattern. 

  • PIN / Password — If you’ve been smart and set up any protection at all on your devices, you’re probably familiar with the PIN lock/password option, because it is the code your SIM card asks you to enter whenever you turn your phone off and on. Many Android versions will allow you to set a paltry four-digit code, but if you care about your security, you will choose a much longer PIN code. 

If you want to up your lock game, you should probably opt for a password that incorporates letters, numbers and special characters and make it at least eight characters long. It may be a bit harder to remember and type out, but in the long run you’ll be glad you played it safe. If you really want to up the ante, you can also turn on the feature to wipe your phone after a number of failed login attempts.

  • Fingerprint Biometric Lock — Fortunately for some of us, fingerprint biometric locks are still a thing. You may encounter different varieties, with some being standalone locks, others incorporated into buttons and the latest development are the ones hidden in the smartphone screen. The case for these is that the fingerprint lock can be one of the fastest ways to secure your phone. By placing your finger on the reader, your phone will unlock within a fraction of a second. 

But is it foolproof? Well, where regular people are concerned it is highly doubtful that a bad actor would go through the ordeal of trying to get through a biometric lock. Still, bypassing a fingerprint lock isn’t entirely impossible. Fingerprints can be stolen from photos and other sources, then recreated, even with just 2D printing.

  • Face Scan — This biometric lock does exactly what it says: it scans your face. Although you’d imagine that the process is fairly sophisticated and entails a large number of technological wonders, the truth is it basically relies on your front camera and some software. The camera scans an image of your face and then relies on a facial recognition algorithm to verify your face. The speed of the unlock also depends on your phone and the quality of its front-facing camera. 

There is quite a variety of lock options to choose from. It is always wise to choose a combination of features and not rely on just one. The safest two-step combination is a trusty PIN or password of sufficient length, with a fingerprint scan coming in next. Whichever option you choose, it’s always smart to plan ahead. Securing your phone now might save you from a nasty headache in the future.

For more tips, please visit welivesecurity.com

Mujjo Serves Up Sitewide Discount In Time For Father’s Day

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd
Just in time for Father’s Day, Mujjo is offering up a discount of 15% sitewide until June 21st. 

Just use coupon code: theITnerd at checkout for 15% discount sitewide for all products on mujjo.com until June 21st! Mujjo has a great selection of gifts from iPhone Cases to touchscreen compatible gloves, so you’re sure to find something that Dad will love.

Bell Chooses Ericsson As 5G Equipment Supplier…. Telus Announces Ericsson and Nokia As 5G Equipment Suppliers….. And Huawei Is Out…. Maybe….

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, Bell dropped a press release announcing that they were going with Ericsson for their 5G network. What’s significant about this is that Bell is, or I guess was a Huawei customer. I am guessing that Bell made the decision that dealing with Huawei isn’t good for business. Thus they made the switch to Ericsson.

So with this move by Bell, and the fact that Rogers has also tapped Ericsson for their 5G network, the last of the “big three” telcos to be working on a 5G rollout is TELUS. They also dropped a press release of their own yesterday announcing Ericsson and Nokia as partners to build their 5G network. Here’s where things get weird. Earlier this year TELUS announced that Huawei would supply gear for its 5G rollout. Something that did not go over well with customers. Which suggests that TELUS is not proceeding with Huawei. Or it suggests that this is in addition to the Huawei gear that they announced that they were going to use earlier this year. It isn’t clear, and I am already seeing backlash from TELUS customers who think that TELUS is still using Huawei gear. Which makes TELUS look bad. Thus if I could give TELUS some advice, they might want to clear that up and do so quickly.

Thus it appears that Huawei is maybe being dumped by “big three” telcos. They definitely are not being used by two of them for sure. This makes me wonder what future Huawei has in Canada. It also makes me wonder if a decision on Huawei is coming from the Canadian government as it is kind of coincidental that both of these telcos came out with announcements that appear to leave Huawei in the cold on the same day.

Google Being Served With A $5 Billion Lawsuit That Accuses Them Of Tracking Chrome Users In Incognito Mode

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Google is facing a massive lawsuit accusing them of tracking users in incognito mode. According to Reuters, the class action argues that Google was collecting information about what people view online and where they browse when they use Chrome’s Incognito mode. In effect, Google has been intentionally deceiving customers into believing that they have control over the information they share with the company.

Now Google says it will defend itself “vigorously’ against the claims. But they served up an interesting response:

“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,”

This is something that I am not sure that most Google Chrome users are aware of. As in Incognito mode doesn’t fully allow you to browse with no repercussions. This Google support document speaks to what Incognito mode does and doesn’t do. If you are a Google Chrome user, I would suggest that you read this document so that you are aware that Incognito mode doesn’t keep you from having your sketchy activities discovered by anyone. And that likely includes Google itself.

Why Didn’t FaceTime Take Off Like Zoom Did During The Pandemic?

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

During this pandemic everybody and their dog is using Zoom. So much so it doesn’t seem that any other video chat app currently exists. And that includes FaceTime. It’s on a billion or so iPhones worldwide. And I can safely say that during the course of this pandemic, I have yet to use FaceTime for a single video call. Every video call I have been on has been done by Zoom. So why is that? I think I have two reasons for that:

  • FaceTime isn’t cross platform: That’s a problem if you want people to use it because while there is a billion or so iPhones, there’s about 2 billion or so Android phones. And that doesn’t take into account computers running Windows 10, Chromebooks, or other OSes. Now Apple wants to keep it exclusive to Apple devices to drive sales of Apple devices. But that strategy seems to have backfired as people who are stuck in lockdown want to communicate with friends and family regardless of what platforms they are on.
  • FaceTime is hard to use: For you to start a FaceTime call, you need the Apple ID of all the participants who you want to chat to, and they have to be added one at a time. And there’s no way to simply email a link that everyone can use to join the call. Contrast that with Zoom which makes creating a call easy and integrates that with calendar apps like Outlook and Apple Calendar. Take it from me, Apple has made a major mis-step by not building in scheduling a FaceTime call into the product years ago. The result is people run to Zoom as a result and they’ll never look at FaceTime again.

The folks at Apple Park…. Or more accurately people who normally work at Apple Park but are now working from home really need to take a hard look at FaceTime and make improvements because Apple has really missed the boat here and given Zoom a lead that they are not likely to give up anytime soon. And as a closing thought, some of what I have said about FaceTime could be copied and pasted for iMessage seeing as it suffers from the fact that it too is an Apple only platform that really needs to be opened up if they expect it to compete other messaging apps that are far more broadly used in the midst of this pandemic.

Darktrace Hits $1 Billion In Bookings

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Darktrace, the world’s leading cyber AI company, today announced that it has hit over $1 billion dollars in cumulative bookings.

Founded in 2013, Darktrace is one of the fastest-growing private companies in the world with over 1,200 employees and 3,500 customers across 110 countries. In 2020, demand has hit an all-time high, as Darktrace’s self-learning AI is uniquely positioned to adapt to defend today’s remote workforce.

The number of new customers using the Enterprise Immune System to defend cloud and SaaS environments from cyber-threats increased by 60% in March compared to January, whilst the number of organizations adopting Antigena – the company’s autonomous response capability – increased by over 30%.

Darktrace AI is a self-learning technology that is designed to understand the ‘pattern of life’ for every user across an organization. The AI is capable of analyzing and protecting the full range of digital environments – from cloud and SaaS applications, to email environments, IoT, industrial control systems, and the network. The AI detects novel threats that may otherwise go unnoticed and stops them before they escalate into a full-blown attack. 

Customers span all industries and include Petco, PBS, Banco Popular Dominicano, Micron Technology Inc, Jimmy Choo, Chantecler, and Sky Italia.

News from Commvault: Metallic Hits The Ground Running

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, Commvault published a blog announcing the news that Metallic is now available in Canada — including three enterprise-grade offerings: Metallic Core Backup & Recovery, Metallic Office 365 Backup & Recovery, and Metallic Endpoint Backup & Recovery. Additionally, Manoj Nair has been announced as the General Manager for Metallic.

Please see here for more.

LifeStarr Task Management App Launched

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

If you spend time every day checking email, multiple online trackers, and several different collaboration and communication apps – because every client or project collaborator uses a different way to share documents, status updates, and communicate – then you need LifeStarr, the world’s first “Life Empowerment Technology”.  

Staying on task is more important than ever before, as many remote workers continue to work from home offices and kitchen tables due to the aftermath of COVID-19. This new normal is straining usual methods for staying organized and communicating effectively about both work and personal tasks, and in fact, sheds light on the need for a more effective solution.

LifeStarr is a new and free task management app in which all details, responsibilities, deadlines, documents, and communication are securely maintained. Clients, colleagues, or other collaborators can be easily invited into all or part of a project, with notifications and daily reports to keep everyone on task. There is no fee or subscription required – just start using by creating tasks, assigning responsibility, and inviting people to join.

LifeStarr Founder Joe Rando, a Boston area tech entrepreneur, had his team accelerate the development of the platform to make it available for people and teams as many companies extend work-from-home policies indefinitely. He explains in this video how the app drastically reduces stress to the user – for any task, big or small – easily and at no cost.

The need for remote work tools and training in great. HubSpot Academy is now offering free remote leadership training, How to Manage a Remote Team – a 40 minute on-demand resource – in which Rando offers best practices.

Remote workers, small businesses, freelancers, and independent consultants can benefit from LifeStarr to make sure projects are completed on deadline without time wasted pulling together information from different sources. All communications, files and notes are contained in the task automatically. The platform is intuitive, easy to use, secure, and most of all, time saving, eliminating the frustration that comes with juggling multiple assignments. It’s as easy as signing up.

Investors in LifeStarr include West Coast angel investor Shawn Fanning, founder of Helium and Napster, as well as several New York and Boston-based entrepreneurs, including real estate developer Peter Bassett.

The LifeStarr app is free and always will be. For more information, visit https://www.lifestarr.com/

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Why Developed Countries Are More Vulnerable To Cybercrime

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Residents of developed countries are more likely to become victims of cybercrime, according to the new Cyber Risk Index by NordVPN. The defining qualities of developed countries — high-income economy, advanced technological infrastructure, urbanization, and digitalization — are the same factors that increase the prevalence of cybercrime.

NordVPN’s Cyber Risk Index covers 50 countries comprising 70% of the world population.

The most dangerous place to be online

Northern Europe is the most dangerous region when it comes to cyber risk, while North America is a close second. In both regions, more than 9 out of 10 people use the internet, 8 out of 10 shop online, and 7 out of 10 use Facebook. This leads to increased exposure to cyber threats. 

“Cybercriminals don’t look for victims, they look for opportunities — much like pickpockets in crowded places,” says Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “Spend enough time in a packed bus, and a pickpocket will ‘accidentally’ bump into you. Same story online. Your cyber risk increases with every extra hour online.”

The average monthly wages in Northern Europe and North America are among the highest in the world. “As your income increases, it’s only natural to enjoy the comfort of online shopping and other paid services. But that makes you a much more enticing target for cybercriminals.”

India is the safest. Or is it?

In India, only a third of the population use the internet, and less than a quarter have smartphones. A tiny share of all Indians use Instagram (5.8%), watch video on demand (7.1%), or play online games (6.6%). The monthly wage in India is 13 times lower than the average of the 50 countries analyzed. That makes India the safest country covered by NordVPN’s Cyber Risk Index.  But there are some important caveats.

“Cyber Risk Index reflects the big picture, the country-wide statistics,” says Daniel Markuson, NordVPN’s digital privacy expert. “Indians who do use the internet, spend a lot of time online — more than an hour longer than the average. They probably live in cities and get higher wages. That puts them at a much higher cyber risk than the average Indian.” 

In countries with huge income inequality, low levels of urbanization, or low internet penetration, a small segment of the population may face a much larger cyber risk than the general population. 

The method behind the Cyber Risk Index

NordVPN created the Index in partnership with Statista, the world’s leading business data provider. The Index was created in three stages. First, Statista collected socio-economic, digital, cyber, and crime data from 50 selected countries. Second, NordVPN analyzed the data’s positive and negative impact on cyber risk and calculated the correlation between the first three data sets (socio-economic, digital, cyber) and the fourth (crime). 

Finally, NordVPN trimmed the data down to the 14 most significant factors, used them to create the Index, and ranked the 50 countries according to the cyber risk they’re facing.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas From iRobot

Posted in Commentary on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Still searching for a Father’s Day gift? I know Dad would appreciate a little bit of help around the house these days, especially with the family at home day-after-day. iRobot’s vacuuming and mopping robots, Roomba and Braava, could be the perfect gift to make dad’s life easier and permanently cross “cleaning the floors” off of his list of chores. 

Here are just some of their product features that are sure to get Dad interested:

  • Imprint Smart Mapping enables the robot to learn, map and adapt to your home, allowing you to choose which rooms are cleaned and when.
  • Imprint Link Technology enables cleaning automation between the Roomba i, s, and 900 Series robot vacuums with the Braava jet m Series robot mop. Imprint Link Cleaning is a feature that lets your Braava jet m Series robot mop begin mopping after your robot vacuum has completed vacuuming.

As for the cleaning robots:

  • For the dad who loves a clean home: iRobot’s Roomba s9+ ($1,399.99 CAD) robot vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal is the world’s best robot vacuum. It empties on its own with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal that holds dirt, dust and hair, while the anti-allergen system with Allergen Lock Bags captures and traps 99% of pollen and mold allergens. Thanks to Imprint Link Technology, your Roomba s9+ can work in sequence with Braava jet m6 to map your home and clean your floors, vacuuming then automatically mopping, without any effort from you.
  • For the dad looking to take some of the work out of working from home: iRobot’s Roomba i7+ ($999.99 CAD) with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal takes convenience to a new level – automatically emptying its bin, so users don’t have to think about vacuuming for months at a time. The enclosed Allergen Lock bag holds 60 days of dirt and debris and traps 99 percent of pollen, mold and dust mites. Using Imprint Smart Mapping, the Roomba i7+ robot vacuum remembers multiple floor plans and room names so users can customize cleaning jobs, and direct the robot to clean specific rooms using your Alexa or the Google Voice Assistant, or via the iRobot HOME App. Additionally, Imprint Link Technology allows Roomba i7+ and Braava jet m6 robots to automatically clean in sequence – vacuuming and then mopping.
  • Let Dad know he’ll never have to mop the floor again: Braava jet m6 ($649.99 CAD) isideal for multiple rooms and large spaces, the Braava jet m6 helps tackle all of life’s messes on hard floors. Simply attach a mopping or sweeping pad and the robot automatically takes it from there to give you fresh, clean floors. 
  • For the dad looking to keep their floors sparkling clean: the Roomba e5 ($449.99 CAD) is your perfect low budget robot vacuum for a hands-free clean. The Roomba e5 robot vacuum uses dual multi-surface rubber brushes and power-lifting suction to remove everything from small dust to large debris. Responsive navigation and Dirt Detect technology provide intelligent guidance—for a clean home, every day.

UPDATE: I thought I’d share some deals with you from iRobot.

Save up to $150 on Select Robots:

Save up to $385 on bundles: