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How gadgets break sleep – and help to fix it

Technology use has a massively negative impact on sleep, but also holds the solution, writes sleep expert MIRA RAKICEVIC

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The modern way of living has given us a lot of positive things and improved our lives in numerous ways. However, the quality of our sleep has deteriorated substantially in recent years due to our new lifestyle. 

It’s no secret that technology is partly to blame. One of the reasons for that is that at least 95% of people use technology within one hour before going to bed. Consequently, it is estimated that around 1.2 billion people worldwide suffer for some kind of sleep disorder. 

The Negative Impact of Technology on Sleep

We know that technology can affect the quality of our sleep in a negative way, but how does it happen? The main culprit is the blue light emitted from smartphones, computers, and TV screens. 

Light from the blue light spectrum tells our brain to stay awake and exerts stress on it. We need red light to tell our brains that it should wind down and get ready to go to sleep. LED bulbs can also be to blame as some of them emit very intense white-blue light. 

During the day, the effects of blue light are not strong. However, problems begin when we start using technology at night. We should try to avoid looking at any screens and expose ourselves to any artificial light sources at least one hour before going to sleep. This will give our brain enough time to tell our bodies to start secreting melatonin and prepare to enter the world of dreams. 

Technology Can Also Help Us Sleep Better

We’ve mentioned all the negative effects technology can have on our sleep. However, not everything about technology and sleep is bad. Thanks to science and hard-working people with vision, technology can also help us sleep better and improve the quality of our lives. Here are some of the most common sleep disorders high-tech solutions can help us with.

Snoring

Everybody knows at least one person who snores. If you don’t, then we’re afraid that you’re that person. Snoring statistics say that around 40% of men and 20% of women snore, which makes snoring one of the most widespread sleep disorders. 

It happens when air cannot pass freely through the nose and the throat during sleep, so it makes a loud and annoying sound. Nudging the person who snores helps, but technology is a much better solution.

The three best devices to use include Hupnos Snoring Mask, Philips SmartSleep Snoring, and Urgonight EEG Headband. All three aim to detect snoring and remind the sleeper to change their position to allow a free flow of air.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea sounds more serious than snoring, but it is more common than you’d think. The problem is that a lot of people are not aware of suffering from sleep apnea, so it often goes undiagnosed. 

Around 20% of the world population suffers from this disorder, but 80% of cases go completely undetected. Due to the nature of this disorder, men are more at danger of developing it than women. 

Luckily, technology comes to rescue here as well. The best three devices you can use are called SlumberBUMP, BiPAP, and EPAP technology – Theravent. These devices use different methods to prevent breathing obstructions by training people to sleep on their sides or regulating their airflow mechanically. 

Insomnia

Insomnia is perhaps the most annoying sleep disorder after snoring. There’s nothing worse than being tired after a long day of dealing with daily obligations but not being able to fall asleep when finally in bed. 

Prolonged insomnia which can put one’s health and life in danger is rare. However, around 10% to 15% of people in the world have troubles falling and staying asleep. Insomnia is even more common with older generations, 30-60% of whom suffer from it. 

Most of the time, insomnia is short-term and lasts for a day or several days. But sometimes it might last for weeks or months, in which case it becomes a serious problem.

In any case, those who suffer from insomnia should try solving their problem with technology. The three best solutions are called Sleepio, Ebb Insomnia Therapy, Good Night Biological LED Bulb. These devices learn about your sleeping patterns, lower your core temperature, or use light therapy to help you fall asleep and are pretty efficient at doing it.

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Lenovo unveils world’s smallest desktop PC

ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is powered by 8th generation Intel processors and SSD storage, catering to flexible working

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Lenovo has introduced the world’s smallest desktop PC, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano, to the South African Market. It says it is designed to support diverse workplaces with the power of a full-size desktop and the space-saving convenience of a laptop.

“The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is further proof of Lenovo’s commitment to helping small businesses drive efficiency in their operations,” says Thibault Dousson, General Manager at Lenovo South Africa. “In South Africa, SMEs make up a third of the country’s GDP and play an integral part in boosting the economy and creating jobs. Lack of capital, investment, resources or support are among the major challenges faced by our country’s entrepreneurs. 

“Lenovo wants to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through giving them better access to critical tools and services, such as our financial services offering and leasing option. The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is ideal for small business owners as it is reliable and powerful yet compact and easily transportable.”

Delivering powerful performance in an ultra-portable size, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is the most compact commercial desktop series in the world. Compact models are one-third the size of the ground-breaking ThinkCentre Tiny, at just 0.35L in volume.

With fully functional USB Type-C Gen2 and USB 3.1 Gen2 ports located on the front and back of the device, multiple displays, docks and other hardware options can further boost productivity. The ability to be powered using just one cable to a USB Type-C monitor makes the M90n-1 Nano ideal for a clutter-free workspace, whether it be placed behind a screen or under a desk.

The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano is MIL-810G SPEC tested – built to withstand extreme conditions including shocks, drops, dust and humidity. The desktop’s HW TPM 2.0 chip encrypts data to keep sensitive data secure, while its Kensington lock slot enables users to physically secure the device to an immovable object, protecting it from theft.

With its Modern Standby feature, users can receive emails, VoIP calls and instant messages while remaining in standby mode. When ready to commence work, the M90n-1 Nano resumes full functionality in under one second.

These features make the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano an easy fit across all office environments, or wherever space is limited, and staff are mobile. The ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano also reduces energy consumption by as much as 30 percent annually over the ThinkCentre Tiny. 

Powered by the 8th generation Intel processors and backed by SSD (solid state drive) storage, the ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano offers diverse connectivity and multi-user options to keep users connected.

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Hackers target hotels

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Kaspersky’s research of the RevengeHotels campaign aimed at the hospitality sector, has confirmed over 20 hotels in Latin America, Europe and Asia have fallen victim to targeted malware attacks. Even more hotels are potentially affected across the globe. Travelers’ credit card data, which is stored in a hotel administration system, including those received from online travel agencies (OTAs), is at risk of being stolen and sold to criminals worldwide.

RevengeHotels is a campaign that includes different groups using traditional Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to infect businesses in the hospitality sector. The campaign has been active since 2015 but has gone on to increase its presence in 2019. At least two groups, RevengeHotels and ProCC, were identified to be part of the campaign, however more cybercriminal groups are potentially involved.

The main attack vector in this campaign is emails with crafted malicious Word, Excel or PDF documents attached. Some of them exploit CVE-2017-0199, loading it using VBS and PowerShell scripts and then installing customised versions of various RATs and other custom malware, such as ProCC, on the victim’s machine that could later execute commands and set up remote access to the infected systems.

Each spear-phishing email was crafted with special attention to detail and usually impersonating real people from legitimate organisations making a fake booking request for a large group of people. It is worth noting that even careful users could be tricked to open and download attachments from such emails as they include an abundance of details (for instance, copies of legal documents and reasons for booking at the hotel) and looked convincing. The only detail that would reveal the attacker would be a typosquatting domain of the organisation.

phishing email sent to a hotel impersonating a booking request from an attorney’s office

Once infected, the computer could be accessed remotely not just by the cybercriminal group itself — evidence collected by Kaspersky researchers shows that remote access to hospitality desks and the data they contain is sold on criminal forums on a subscription basis. Malware collected data from hospitality desk clipboards, printer spoolers and captured screenshots (this function was triggered using specific words in English or Portuguese). Because hotel personnel often copied clients’ credit card data from OTA’s in order to charge them, that data could also be compromised.

Kaspersky telemetry confirmed targets in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and Turkey. However, based on data extracted from Bit.ly, a popular link shortening service used by the attackers to spread malicious links, Kaspersky researchers assume that users from many other countries have at least accessed the malicious link – suggesting that the number of countries with potential victims could be higher.

“As users grow wary of how protected their data truly is, cybercriminals turn to small businesses, which are often not very well protected from cyberattacks and possess a concentration of personal data. Hoteliers and other small businesses dealing with customer data need to be more cautious and apply professional security solutions to avoid data leaks that could potentially not only affect customers, but also damage hotel reputations as well,” comments Dmitry Bestuzhev, Head of Global Research and Analysis Team, LatAm.

To stay safe, travelers are recommended to:

  • Use a virtual payment card for reservations made via OTAs, as these cards normally expire after a single charge
  • When paying for a reservation or checking out at hotel desks, use a virtual wallet, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, or a secondary credit card with a limited amount of debit available

Hotel owners and management are also advised to follow these steps to secure customer data:

  • Conduct risk assessments of the existing network and implement regulations regarding how customers data is handled
  • Use a reliable security solution with web protection and application control functionality, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business. Web protection helps to block access to phishing and malicious websites while application control (in white list mode) allows to make sure that no application except the white listed ones can run on hospitality desk computers.
  • Introduce staff security awareness training to teach employees how to spot spear-phishing attempts and show the importance of remaining vigilant when working with incoming emails.

Read the full report, RevengeHotels: cybercrime targeting hotel desks worldwide, on Securelist.

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