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CyberSecurity Hack Information and Communication Technology (ICT) News Security World News

The Proliferation of Chinese Apps as Tools of Surveillance

China may not be part of the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances, but it has one of the most advanced mass surveillance and censorship systems. Software and hardware developed in China often pose the threat of monitoring and recording the data of its users – that is why the US government is wary of Chinese apps data collection policy such as the case of Tiktok. Anyone found engaging in any activity the government does not endorse, undergoes huge trauma at the hands of the law.

One of the strongest hints comes from the head of research at the Dutch Institute of Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD), Victor Gever, who claims that billions of messages of Chinese app users like QQ and WeChat, were stored in a matter suggested they were a massive dragnet for censoring content. And obviously, there can’t be censoring without monitoring everything users do.

Why Do Chinese Apps Monitor User Data?

Why Do Chinese Apps Monitor User Data_
The Chinese government has been accused on many occasion over its roles in monitoring user’s activities through different chinese originated mobile apps. China has one of the most advanced mass surveillance and censorship systems. Most Chinese apps data are monitored against the user’s wish.

 “Every Chinese tech company has to comply with the Chinese cybersecurity law which allows the Chinese government to have access to the app’s data these companies collect – this is part of the nationwide mass surveillance systems that are in place in China,” said Victor Gevers. It is because of this reason most developers from China use a techno-surveillance approach for all their apps.

They believe all app data of users belong to their government. In their minds, it is okay to collect data in such a manner. And those who believe, the government doesn’t, we already know how they are dealt with. However, the implications of such a finding are insane. Smartphones, which are carried by most working-age people, are powerful tools if leveraged for monitoring and censoring.

Chinese Apps Data Used by Police?

Many Chinese apps data is used extensively by the police for monitoring people’s online behavior and movements. With COVID-19 taking over, the government has gained even more incentive to improve their surveillance activities. A “close-contact” app developed by the state-owned firm, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation is furthering China’s agendas.

Bear in mind this is the same company responsible for the surveillance technology deployed in Xinjiang. As a result, the app itself should be viewed with skepticism. It provides officials with data drawn from the China Railway and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Ministry of Transport, and the National Health Commission to track citizens’ contacts, health, and travel with infected people.

Can You Bypass Monitoring and Censorship?

It seems that China does not want to leave any stone unturned in keeping a strict eye on its citizens, and previously, they even took strict action against individuals trying to bypass imposed restrictions. VPN apps like Avast VPN were particularly banned in the country with the government even imposing legal fines. Later on, the Chinese Government approved the use of VPNs, as long as they provided backdoor access to these Chinese apps data.

Subsequently, there was an influx of free VPNs spreading in the marketplace, after which a study found that 59% of these apps had links to China, 86% of the apps had unacceptable privacy policies, 64% apps had no dedicated website, and 83% of app customer support email requests were ignored. Below are details on the numerous VPN apps with links to China:

Application NameOwnershipAndroid Downloads
SuperVPN Free VPN ClientChinese100 Million
VPN Super UnlimitedChinese1 Million
VPN Proxy MasterChinese10 Million
TurboVPNChinese100 Million
TouchVPNChinese10 Million
Snap VPNChinese10 Million
VPN 360Chinese1 Million
YogaVPNChinese10 Million
SkyVPNChinese10 Million
Thunder VPNHK Chinese1 Million
Free VPN by Freevpn.OrgChinese1 Million

At first, I thought this was a coincidence but upon digging further, I realized there’s more to the story. More or less, all these free VPNs have affiliations with companies located in China. And bear in mind, a lot of users online go for the “free” option, rather than paying for a premium VPN product. This can be verified by the number of downloads on the Google Play and Apple Store.

It is quite possible that these services may be indulging in session/connection logging to track the searches and activities of users online to enhance their solutions and spy on the people at the same time. As you can see, almost all VPNs have crossed an average of 10 million downloads (on the Google Play Store alone). And, if we talk about SnapVPN, VPN Master, and Turbo VPN, they even have an interconnected company structure.

The privacy policies of these three providers were incredibly similar (currently they have been removed or altered after people started noticing similarities). They openly stated that they do record a lot of user data, which includes everything that can reveal your identity, your location, and searches performed. Below is a snippet from one of the privacy policies:

The data we collect can include SDK/API/JS code version, browser, Internet service provider, IP address, platform, timestamp, application identifier, application version, application distribution channel, independent device identifier, iOS ad identifier (IDFA), Android ad master identifier, International Mobile Subscriber Identification Number(IMSI), iOS network card (MAC) address, and iOS international mobile device identification code (IMEI), the equipment model, email address, the terminal manufacturer, the terminal device operating system version, the session start/stop time, the location of the language, the time zone and the network state (WiFi and so on), the hard disk, the CPU, and the battery use, etc.

Wrapping Things Up

The information above only verifies repeatedly that China is a surveillance giant, which not only keeps an eye on its own citizens but even hijacks valuable tools like VPNs to gain access to the data of billions of users around the world, regardless of which country they are located in.

The citizens of the country don’t have any choice but to comply with the Chinese governments invasive laws and activities. However, if you reside in a different country, make sure to avoid downloading/installing any programs with ties to China.

It may not seem like a big thing to many. Most even say, “I’m not a terrorist, why do I have to be worried about my data being monitored?” Realize this issue is bigger than us all, and anyone who goes online deserves the right to enjoy privacy and anonymity!

Even the U.N. has declared that mass surveillance is a violation of human rights, as it increases the cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. Domestic safeguards need to be implemented in line with the international human rights law, but that can only happen when people take such things seriously.

What do you think about the proliferation of Chinese apps into the market as a secret tool for mass surveillance? What are the necessary steps you suggest to be taken in preventing incessant and illegal Chinese apps data collection around the world?

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Healthcare & Healthy Living Software

How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Clinic with a Medical Scheduling Software!

In the medical industry, speed and efficiency are essential goals that must be pursued by every clinic. Ensure that your patients don’t forget their appointments and arrive at the clinic on time by doing everything you can to reduce their waiting time. Therefore, you should invest in a CRM that has medical scheduling software that includes appointment reminders. However, implementing such strategies can be expensive, therefore a healthcare loan from Kapitus is a great option for you to finance your investment.

How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Clinic with a Medical Scheduling Software!
When it comes to keeping tabs of upcoming appointments in your clinic, the role of appointment reminder or medical scheduling software cannot be overemphasized. It is sine qua non of any functional medical setup.

Does Your CRM Include an Appointment Reminder Software?

There are 3 features that this type of software needs to have.

  • Advanced calling.
  • A reliable CRM will offer you the possibility to increase the productivity of your staff by reducing the time needed for calls. If you want to have this result, then you need to use and advanced calling system that will allow your staff to call the patients through a single click. Some software also has automated calls, recording options as well as dispersing inbound calls. These functions will increase the efficiency of the process.
  • E-mail integration.
  • E-mails can be used for multiple purposes. Not only can they be used for reminders or appointment making, but your clinic can also use them for marketing. Your patients can make an appointment by sending an e-mail, and they will also be reminded through the same method. Moreover, you can send offers or suggest a regular consultation. The help provided by software that makes use of this method is enormous.
  • SMS notifications.
  • The internet it’s still not the principal method of communication used by the majority of the population. Most people still use SMS communication more than e-mails. So, you should search for a medical CRM that provides tools that facilitate appointments through this method. Your patients can make, confirm, and reschedule their appointments through a simple SMS.

Benefits That You Can Get from an Appointment Reminder Software!

The difference between a clinic that uses the three methods mentioned above and one that does not use them is massive. Your clinic can benefit from an appointment reminder software in many ways. But there are three essential benefits that your clinic will want for sure.

Branding.

It does not matter the industry. Every business needs to strive to brand themselves. A reminder software can help you do exactly that. How so? Well, your patients will consider your clinic more trustworthy because you always remind them about their appointments. Moreover, you can even send them e-mails with reminders about regular checks that they should do. This will showcase to your patients the care that you have for them. So, you can increase your branding through these methods.

Efficiency.

The software will automate most of the appointment process. It will be easier for your staff to process the appointments digitally. Also, if your patients use the SMS method to confirm or reschedule their appointments, then the software can automate these steps. As a result, the efficiency of your clinic will rise. The software can also be used to convey delays to your patients. So, they will not need to come for a scheduled appointment and wait for one more hour due to the delays in the schedule.

Profits.

We live in a busy world. For this reason, many people forget about their appointments because of different urgencies. Without a reminder software, your clinic will lose a lot of revenue because the patients that forget about their appointments. On the other hand, if your clinic uses this type of software, then more patients will come on time for their appointments, and your clinic will make more money. So, this type of software can be considered an investment that will give you high returns in the future.

What Other Features Does a Top Medical Scheduling Software Needs?

Top medical scheduling software will not have only the features mentioned above. It must also have at least two more essential features that will ensure that the efficiency and productivity of your clinic increases. While searching for the perfect medical CRM for your clinic, you need to check if it includes all the features mentioned. If it does not, then you should look for another software that will give you more benefits.

  • Calendar integrations.
  • A reliable CRM will offer full solutions that will take care of all your problems at the same time. So, besides the features mentioned above, scheduling software must also have calendar integrations. Every appointment and change must be placed in the calendar of the right medic. It must also allow your staff to include relevant information in every appointment entry, that will help the doctor understand the situation of the patient. Not only will the efficiency increase even more through this feature. But the medics will also be able to perform their duties much better, resulting in services of a higher quality.
  • Internal Communication software.
  • To ensure that everyone understands everything about an appointment, you need a CRM that includes internal communication software. This will allow your staff to communicate much faster, allowing any misunderstanding to be cleared on the spot. Moreover, this software can also be used to transfer information. Different documents or images can be sent where they are needed. Through this software, the productivity of your staff will rise, and a lot of errors will be avoided.

There are many medical CRMs on the internet, and it can be hard to choose the best one for your clinic. Every clinic has its particularities. So, you need to search for the one that provides all the features that your clinic needs. To ensure that you made the best choice, you need to research the websites of every option that you find. You can also spend some time and test all the alternatives one by one. Most of the time, you will be able to test them for free because they provide a free trial or a demo. So, all you have to do is to search on the internet and start your research.

To maintain excellence, your clinic needs a CRM that has a medical scheduling software with an appointment reminder handling functionality in order to reduce overall customer’s experience in working with your clinic.

Categories
Web Development & Design Ideas Web Hosting

Web Design Contractual Agreement – Know Your Right As The Client of a Web Developer

Digitalization is a 21st Century trend that has come to stay. In today’s world, digitalization has taken over the traditional way of doing business. The truth is, by not having an online presence for your business, be it a startup, big conglomerates, or an already established SMEs, is as good as not having a business.

The disservice of not owning your website are numerous, you could firstly suffer significant economic loss, now imagine a situation where numerous clients are unable to access your website for several days because you did not own your website and you can’t lay legal claim to it. This can happen if you sign a dubious web development contract.

KNOWING YOUR RIGHT AS THE CLIENT OF A WEB DEVELOPER
KNOWING YOUR RIGHT:- In order to stay within the confinement of the law, there’s a need for an understanding of what the law says, covers, and what it doesn’t. The same measure applies to sign a web development contract. Most times, web design clients have cried foul of agreeing to web developer contracts that later came back to hurt and hunt them without knowing their roles and responsibilities. This is why this article is focused on guiding you on understanding your rights as the client of a web developer.

Also, as gaining SEO traction gets harder by the day when you lose your website, you lose its SEO rankings and authority with it. That way, you will struggle to get the attention of potential clients.

On a final note, (as one cannot exhaust the list of these numerous dangers) business without a web site will most definitely lose its analytical data, data gotten through analytics are of many benefits to the business. They help in directing the business path and evaluating goals. Without reference to the previously collated data, you will lose valuable insight needed to move forward.

Who owns what (read between the lines)

Meanwhile, for those trying to acquire a website as a business owner, you need to avoid contracting your web development project to just “anyhow” web developer to avoid an ambiguous clause on web development contract papers and even before you agree to a deal, you need to properly digest your contract papers and clear the air about who “owns” the website and content before agreeing to the deal.

But if the developer agrees to build your business website for free (please bear in mind that a free website also comes at a cost), the web development contract should be clear about the following:

  • The cost of the service: In truth, the cost of acquiring a website isn’t one time; there will always be a need to spend a few bucks every once in a while. However, your web developer should be able to say in clear terms, the cost of the service that will be offered, mode of payment, and if there will be additional payments for extra features in the future.
  • The domain name: What is a domain name? A Domain name can be simply defined as the address to your website (e.g. https://techatlast.com) this is what people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website. In whose name is the domain name registered? A domain name can be purchased with the developer’s account but the client’s email should be added as a secondary email address to enable access to the account at any point and other technical notifications that require immediate attention
  • The hosting package:  What is Domain hosting?  Domain Hosting can be seen as a bank were your website information and files are kept onlineWebsites must be hosted on a remote server before it can be accessed by users. You should know the hosting platform chosen by your developer and the cost. Be wary of free hosting plans because it’s almost impossible to move your data from a free hosting plan in one piece if you ever decide to leave the hosting company. It is important that the developer handles the hosting process to enable active actions during downtime and all other necessary updates (e.g. PHP upgrade etc) but let it be stated clearly in the agreement that all credentials are transferable to the client at any time as long as the client has paid fully for his services. The client should also ensure that his website is SSL enabled (secured socket layer)
  • The visuals and design: If your web development contract clause includes payment for custom interface design, this intellectual property should also be yours. However, you can’t claim ownership if your website design is modeled after a free template.
  • The Website content: Ownership must also be clear about the videos, images, text, infographics, and other types of content on your website.
  • The source code: Aside from the open-source software used in building your website, you should own and have the right to alter the codes (the front and back end codes) used in developing your website.
  • Read the web development contract: The key to not getting screwed by your developer greatly lies in your ability to read and understand the contract papers. If you aren’t a reader, hire a competent lawyer to go through the content for you.
  • Project duration: the duration of this project must be clearly stated and agreed on before the commencement of the project to avoid prolonged stay on the project.

After the web development contract expiration, it is expected of the web developer to prepare a proper handing over email with all necessary information that will help the client in taking possession of the website. Also, the developer is expected to instruct and orientate the client on how to effect the changes to the login credentials as soon as possible in order to prevent possible cybersecurity attacks.

Undoubtedly, websites have become the biggest assets for most businesses. They generate enough data to profile clients and personalize content for them.

Websites are:

  • The sales representatives that don’t go on break
  • The customer care representatives that are always polite
  • The store that never runs out of space
  • The flexible brand promoting tools
  • The cheap and highly-effective mechanism for advert
  • The medium to reach clients that are outside your geographical location.
  • A pack of many more benefits.

The dangers of losing a business website are as critical as losing the business. Hence, who owns what and what should be clear before pen is put to paper in a web development contract.

As an innovative website development agency with several years of experience in digital marketing, branding, guest blogging, and online reputation management and outreach, TechAtLast team is established to employ the best practices in the industry in providing high-quality digital-related services to its clients.