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10 ways to ruin the day for a cybercriminal

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As technology evolves our lives become easier. But it also means that cybercriminals can do that much more damage should they gain access to our personal information. CAREY VAN VLAANDEREN, CEO at ESET South Africa offers some tips on how to avoid being hacked.

1. Update your security solution, applications, and operating system

This is of vital importance, as software updates often include solutions to security defects that have been found.  This way, if your system or application has any flaws, they will be resolved by the updates, meaning an attacker will not be able to exploit any kind of known vulnerability in your system.

2. Install security solutions on your devices

Computers, smartphones, tablets and any other devices that allow security software to be installed should be protected. It is important not to use pirated software because, besides being illegal, it is unlikely to offer proper protection.

Tools like firewalls and antivirus software will defend you from various threats, including Trojans and other types of malware, as well through various detection technologies, which help prevent leaks or information threats.

3. Make backups

As well as making backup copies regularly, you should ensure that they are kept in a safe place: putting them on an external drive should be sufficient. Be sure not to leave them constantly connected, because if your computer becomes infected with any kind of ransomware, your backup files could become encrypted too, even if they are stored in the cloud.

If your computer becomes infected and you have kept your backup in a safe place, you will easily be able to restore your information after you disinfect your system.

4. Report phishing emails and websites

One of the most frequently used methods for carrying out fraud is the old trick of setting up fake websites. Receiving an email from a sender that looks familiar, with a link that directs you to a fake portal, is a technique often employed by cybercriminals.

To prevent this from happening, it is very important to report phishing websites from whichever browser you are using, and also report them to your antivirus provider if it does not already recognise the site as a malicious portal.

If the phishing website is a financial one, you could get in touch with the organisation affected so they can start the process of getting rid of it.  This way, you will be helping to protect the community by warning people about the dangers of visiting fake sites.  We do our bit at The ESET LATAM Research Lab by reporting the cases we receive.

5. Change your passwords

There are many ways in which your password can be compromised.  Make sure you have a strong password, change it regularly, and don’t use the same one for multiple accounts.

These three pillars will help keep they key to your digital identity secure.

6. Activate two-factor authentication

Even if you follow each of these recommended practices to protect your passwords, they could still become compromised. However, two-factor authentication, which is available on most social networks and online services, will significantly increase your levels of security.

If a cybercriminal manages to steal your password, they will not be able to do any significant damage, as they will still need to input a code generated by this additional layer of security.

7. Check the privacy of your social network

All too often we’ve seen users sharing an excessive amount of sensitive information on social networks.

This problem is exacerbated if their posts are public. Platforms like Facebook allow you to set up groups where you can share information and limit who views it.

It is also important not to grant access to users you don’t know and to review the permission that you have in place around your personal information.

8. Check the status of your bank accounts

You can never check your balance too often, as by doing so you may detect an irregularity or unknown transaction.  If your card has been cloned or you have fallen victim to banking malware, regularly checking your account tis the best way for you to keep tabs on any attacks that may have happened – and minimize the damage.

9. Make sure you aren’t subscribed to any premium SMS services

The number of hoaxes circulating on WhatsApp continues to increase, with one single campaign having the ability to yield more than 10 million victims.  This often ends up with users being caught off guard and subscribing to numbers that send SMS messages which change the recipient a fee to receive them.

To prevent this, many countries allow you to check whether you are subscribed to any such services on your phone provider’s website.

10. Be aware of your environment

Understanding how hoaxes work is the best way to avoid falling victim to one.  At the same time, sharing your knowledge will make you a friend of IT security, and by protecting the devices of other people who use the same network as you, you will also be taking care of your own property and the information stored on your computer.

Undoubtedly, if you follow these tips, you will be able to increase your security of your devices and create obstacles for cybercriminals, which in most cases will prevent attacks, as increasing the complexity of these operations will most likely put them off attempting them.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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