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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Security

4 Home Tech Innovations You Should Consider Getting Now

Your home is your castle, and naturally, you want your castle to be as convenient as possible. There are plenty of modern home tech innovations for your home that can turn your castle into an advanced fortress of security and convenience. Here are a few modern tech innovations you should consider for your own home.

Top 4 Home Tech Innovations For Your Home

4 Home Tech Innovations You Should Consider Getting Now

Heated Floors

Nobody likes getting up in the morning and walking onto the cold bathroom floor with bare feet—especially in the winter. With radiant heating installed on your floor, you’ll be able to step into the bathroom and be greeted with warm floors whenever you wake up or step out of the shower. Sure, they cost a bit more than standard flooring, but the benefits are extremely convenient, plus they will raise your home’s property value in the process.

Also, similar technology can also be used on your driveway to quickly and effortlessly melt any snow or ice away during the winter. This can come in handy if you don’t want to be burdened with the task of clearing the driveway or can’t due to age, a disability, or have recently been out of commission because of an injury or surgery, like the kind offered at Northwest Surgery Center.

Smart Doorbell Camera

Smart doorbell technology is definitely worth the cost. With the ability to know exactly who is at your door or who has been at your door, you’ll be able to stay safe and ensure that any packages you order are secure and accounted for. They’ve become much easier to install over the years, and if you live in the city or a spot where package theft is a problem, you definitely need to install a doorbell camera.

Smart Thermostat

If you’re tired of needing to adjust the thermostat during those in-between months where you’re not quite sure if you’re hot or cold or are just tired of wasting AC and heat, getting a smart thermostat might be a good option for you. These thermostats adjust to your specific needs depending on the time of day based on when parts of the house are actually occupied. This reduces the cost of using heating and cooling throughout the year and cuts your bill tremendously.

Home Security System

Want your home to be as safe as possible? Installing a home security system is the best defense against home invasions, robberies, and other unwanted intrusions. These systems can be controlled and monitored via your smartphone, and once they’ve been triggered you will get notified. If it triggers when you’re home, an alarm will immediately go off and hopefully scare away the intruder. This also sends out an automatic signal to the authorities if not deactivated within approximately thirty seconds to a minute. It’s the quickest way to ensure that you, your family, and your home are protected from break-ins.

The Best of Modern Homes

These innovative home technologies are each convenient in their own ways, whether it’s something as trivial as having warm floors for your bathroom or as vital as protecting your home from intruders. Interested? Consider getting these handy features for your home!

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) News Security

A Look Inside China’s AI-assisted Surveillance Empire Growth

Technology is advancing—generating employment, creating prospects never conceived of before, and ushering humanity into an era of a more connected, more secure world—yet the tale of the Uighur Muslim minority in China narrates an account of an ominous reign of mass surveillance, powered by AI (artificial intelligence). 

What happens when a tool designed to safeguard the society and aid law enforcement puts a crosshair on ethnic minorities? The Uighur Muslims of the Xinjiang region of China would know—unfortunately not many are around to make a statement. 

Life Under the Lens: A Look Inside China’s AI-assisted Surveillance Empire

Life Under the Lens: A Look Inside China’s AI-assisted Surveillance Empire
China’s resilient growth in the use of artificial intelligence cannot be underestimated. In this article, let’s explore the life under the lens of the Chinese government, considering the threats and opportunities as China continues to wax stronger in this chosen field of tech.

The People’s Republic of China has emerged as the world leader in facial and biometric recognition technology that promises a safer, faster, and healthier world tomorrow—but at what cost? 

In the December of 2020, the Guardian reported that e-commerce giant Alibaba Group ‘offered clients facial recognition’ to identify Uighur Muslims, an ethnic minority group in China. The Wall Street Journal reported the United States government has reason to believe that China is ‘committing genocide’ against Uighur Muslims. 

American video surveillance research firm IPVM’s report published in mid-December revealed that Alibaba’s proprietary Cloud Shield moderation service contains filters that “detects and recognizes text, pictures, videos, and voices containing pornography, politics, violent terrorism, advertisements, and spam, and provides verification” and is adept in performing tasks such as the determination of a subject’s ethnicity—including determining if the subject is of Uighur descent. 

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the State Department possessed ‘exhaustive documentation’ of China’s human rights violations against not only the Uighurs but also Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other minority ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region.    

In the hands of an authoritarian regime, artificial intelligence being used as a tool to subjugate humanity stands against the very principle of its conception—to aid humankind and build a better, more harmonious world. 

ALSO READ: When Trends and Technology Collide: A Definitive Guide For The Year

The AI equation is not as simple as it may seem. One might ask—how can a pile of data be a detriment to peace? The algorithm is not conscious, so how can it have malicious intent?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms are known to inherit biases that humans exhibit, and when left unchecked and abused, can exacerbate the state of society and the order of the world. 

A 2019 study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology underlined a key flaw in AI-powered facial recognition algorithms, concluding the systems involved in the study falsely identified Asian and African-American cases 10-100 times more when compared with Caucasian subjects, an alarmingly large number of erroneous deductions. 

The phenomenon, referred to as AI bias or algorithm bias is notoriously commonplace; occurring as the algorithm imbibes systemic prejudices made through erroneous assumptions that are fed to its database while training a machine-learning algorithm

A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it. 

When we hear of the way an international superpower is harnessing AI to develop a hyper-surveillance system to monitor and persecute some of its people and subject the rest to live a life under the lens, we are compelled to reconsider its place in the world. 

The Uighur detainment and mass subjugation in China has provided testimony to the fact that as long as technology exists, so will those who seek to weaponize it.  

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Business Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Security Startups

Embedding Analytics Is Crucial To Your Business Growth – Research-backed!

Organizations have some major incentives for using embedded analytics, as doing so can significantly boost operating efficiency. Moreover, embedding analytics can enable users to access data insights from anywhere, even without business intelligence tools at hand. If your app or service creates data, letting your users explore that data makes it more valuable and that’s what embedded analytics lets you achieve with ease.  

5 Key Features and Benefits of Embedding Analytics

Embedded Analytics - 5 Key Features and Benefits of Embedding Analytics
Embedding analytics and tracking tools into products and service of a business has a lot to offer business executives and owner in the long term. These are key features and benefits of embedding analytics and why you should care.

1. Better Business Decisions at All Levels

The underlying reason for data analytics is to improve business operations. When you have the information to make good choices, that power can make an entire enterprise more efficient.  Unlike many business intelligence tools that require training or deep knowledge of data, embedded analytics can be used and understood by most workers. Due to the universality of embedded analytics, it’s much easier to spread the power of data throughout an organization. This leads to better business decisions at all levels of the company.

2. More Streamlined Workflows

Workflows are an essential consideration when reviewing the overall operating efficiency of a business. If workers are spending time on unnecessary or redundant tasks, that’s money coming out of the bottom line. Furthermore, employees don’t want to feel bogged down at work, which can often be the case when they’re forced to function within a poorly designed workflow.

Embedded analytics is the perfect BI tool for improving the workflows of regular employees. This is because embedded analytics can take useful BI visualizations and put them right next to what you’re working on in other applications. With this flexibility, workers are freed of switching between different programs to do their jobs and can focus more intently on the task at hand.

3. Greater Data Democratization

People who have been in the business world for a few decades have seen data’s progression from being kept under wraps to being used by many people within an organization. This change can largely be attributed to data democratization. The idea here is data is actually far more useful to enterprises when it’s taken out of the dark and brought out to be used by everyone who has a need for it.

In the past, executives were worried about security and the accuracy of analysis when letting too many people interact with data. While these are still valid concerns, technological advancements — including embedded analytics — have made data democratization a far more appealing idea.

For starters, democratizing data through embedded analytics means more people within an organization are going to work with, and find value in, data. One of the great benefits of using embedded analytics is people don’t need specialized skills to extract value from information. When a wider variety of people can use data productively, organizations can grow faster and more effectively. The fact is, data is often more valuable than a service itself, hence the need to apportion more resources into analyzing data for timely business decisions. With embedded analytics, extracted and processed data can be monetized. 

Further Reading: Understanding Sentiment Analysis and Semantic Analysis 

4. Develop a Data Culture

When you get enough people within an enterprise working with data all the time, it’s going to start making a difference beyond individual decisions. This is often referred to as establishing a data culture. An organization that has a culture of data inherently looks to measurement-based approaches to problem-solving. In other words, people will more often use evidence over emotion when making business decisions, which is exactly what an enterprise should be striving for in this era.

5. Accelerate ROI

Because the return on investment (ROI) of business tools is directly related to the utilization, embedded analytics gives enterprises an opportunity to achieve positive ROI on data infrastructure investments much sooner.

Think of a company that uses embedded analytics versus one that decides against it. The business incorporating embedded analytics is setting up its employees to have infinitely more opportunities to use data for decisions. By simply putting embedded analytics into an employee’s toolbox, you’re fostering a situation where all team members provide frictionless ROI.

Conclusion

The benefits of embedding analytics outweigh any amount of investment in setting it up and it will be a colossal error for business executives to overlook the trends of embedded analytics in this digital era. Think of Fitbit’s business model of data capturing and interfacing with the audience. Capturing the data is excellent, but exposing it to users to be able to explore it makes it much more fun and valuable as part of the overall product experience – thereby having a positive impact on the company’s overall acceptance and income. This is a perfect example of creating an embedded user experience along with a business model.

Going forward, embedding analytics should be part of your 2021 business investment and execution goals.

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CyberSecurity Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Security

5 Best Ways To Secure Your Enterprise Mobile Applications

There are several effective ways to secure your enterprise smartphone app. Safeguarding mobile app assets needs to be a top priority for programming teams. In fact, one significant data breach or cyberattack could cost your enterprise app millions of dollars. Unfortunately, many popular custom applications do not currently have cybersecurity protocols in place.

If you are planning on launching your program this year, it is important to take some time to learn about the best online security strategies. To help you get started, read on to learn about the best ways to secure your enterprise mobile applications.

How To Secure Your Enterprise Mobile Applications

5 Best Ways To Secure Your Enterprise Mobile Applications
Security of smartphone app data should be a top priority for an organization with aim of becoming an industry leader. To help you get started as an entrepreneur with enterprise app security, read on to learn the rest of this article to learn the best five ways to secure your enterprise mobile applications.

1. Secure Your Source Code

Starting out, it is fundamental to secure your mobile application’s source code. To adequately protect your code, always protect your app with sophisticated encryption technology. Simultaneously, frequently scan your source code for vulnerabilities, and ensure that your program is easy to update or rebuild. Moreover, ensure that crucial members of your team are aware of your enterprise program’s running time, file size, and overall memory data. This way, you can redefine coding standards and quickly identify potential vulnerabilities. Of course, securing your source code empowers you to assess current security, change potential weak points, and continuously scan your code’s most important factors. Certainly, strong source code security is a key way to secure your enterprise mobile app.

2. Manage Access

Next, be sure to strategically manage access to your enterprise application. In order to control permissions, IT administrators must inventory your systems, analyze your developer workforce, and assign specific roles accordingly. With these new roles configured, you can allow each team member specific access rights. Following implementation, take the time to periodically examine your employee roles, as well as the developers assigned to them. This way, you can make strategic changes to the access permitted for each. Using these techniques, you can streamline ease of access, protect against unwanted users, and eliminate internal data breaches. Additionally, these techniques enable you to safeguard assets and keep a clear record of entry history. Surely, managing access control is the perfect strategy for online security protection.  

3. Automate Data Breach Detection

Automate Data Breach Detection and Secure Backend Network Connections

Of course, automating data breach detection is another excellent way to secure your custom app. While there are plenty of sophisticated ways to streamline digital attack detection, one of the best methods is to use an API. For example, Webhose’s Data Breach Detection API empowers you to prevent account takeover, impersonation, and fraud for your enterprise program. This way, you can boost overall brand protection and outsmart malicious hackers seeking access to your application. Of course, this allows you to significantly optimize time spent going through unstructured or lengtht data feeds. Absolutely, using an automated data breach protection API is an excellent way for digital app security.

4. Test Continuously

Moreover, testing needs to be a major consideration for your mobile application security strategy. At a minimum, you should regularly conduct documentation, functionality, and usability testing on your enterprise program. However, many successful programming teams additionally suggest conducting UI (user interface), configuration, and performance testing. In some cases, you may even want to conduct A/B testing to increase sales and gain more consumers. This way, you can ensure proper functioning and create a following of loyal users for your app. Surely, these techniques help you maximize QA and drive higher revenues for your enterprise application.

5. Secure Backend Network Connections

Furthermore, look for strategic ways to secure your backend network connections. To effectively safeguard your backend, utilize containerization, database encryption, and federation. In addition, you can use a VPN, SSL, or TLS security protocol for encrypted connections. In other cases, you may even want to consult an application security specialist to conduct vulnerability assessments and functionality tests on your program. This way, you can guarantee you have sufficient security measures to prevent unauthorized access. Naturally, these techniques empower you to prevent data leaks or eavesdropping on your application’s server. Indubitably, managing backend network connection security is a prominent way to safeguard your enterprise program. 

There are multiple best practices for enterprise mobile application security. First and foremost, it is fundamental to secure your mobile application’s source code. Next, be sure to strategically manage access to your enterprise application. Of course, automating data breach detection is another excellent way to secure your digital program. Moreover, testing needs to be a major consideration for your mobile application security strategy. Furthermore, look for strategic ways to secure your backend network connections. Follow the points highlighted above to learn about the best ways to secure your enterprise mobile applications.

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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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Computer Tips & Tutorials CyberSecurity Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Security

Quantum cryptography; an untangled guide to the future of cybersecurity

As our lives become increasingly more digital, new opportunities for hacking, impersonating, and thefts arise. Current encryption techniques are far from perfect and might soon prove obsolete at the hands of phenomena we do not fully understand.

Step into the unknown

From wristwatches to the supercomputers that run the Large Hadron Collider, all modern electronic devices use binary code, a two-symbol system consisting of 0s and 1s. The vision for new technology, however, is founded on quantum bits, widely known as qubits. Typically taking the form of photons and electrons, qubits are units of encoded quantum information. When harnessed, these subatomic particles will offer the raw processing power and security, the likes of which we’ve never experienced. But how? In order to dive deeper into the abstract, we must first take a look at the history of quantum physics.

A short history lesson on Quantum cryptography

Quantum cryptography; an untangled guide to the future of cybersecurity
Today’s available encryption techniques are still in working mode but might soon prove to be obsolete. Quantum cryptography offers an untangled guide to the future of cybersecurity and we might be living in heaven already with it!

The year was 1900, and physicist Max Planck had just presented his quantum theory to the German Physical Society. Planck proposed that energy, just like matter, was made up of individual units. 5 years later, Albert Einstein theorized that radiation could also be observed in a similar manner. This eventually led to the proposition in 1924 that particles can behave like waves and vice versa – known as Louis de Broglie’s principle of wave-particle duality.

No more than 3 years later, Werner Heisenberg came up with what became known as the uncertainty principle, where he proposed that a precise measurement of two complementary values was impossible, e.g. the position and momentum of a subatomic particle. Its notion defied the mathematical laws of nature, prompting one of Einstein’s most famous quotes,

God does not play dice with the universe”.

What do a cat and a physicist have in common?

Over the years, the most powerful theoretical minds have contributed to our understanding of quantum theory – a process that is still ongoing. To this day, however, one of the most commonly taught interpretations of quantum mechanics is that of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, devised from 1925 to 1927. Known as the Copenhagen interpretation, their work claimed that no object in the universe can be assumed to have specific properties until it is measured. This concept became known as superposition.

Superposition is best explained through the paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat, named after physicist Erwin Schrodinger. To visualize the concept, imagine a cat in a sealed box with a vial of poison inside. We cannot know whether the animal is dead or alive until we open the box, so during this period of uncertainty, it is both dead and alive. By the same token, a qubit can exist in all possible states until it is measured.

Brothers in arms

Described by Einstein as “spooky action at a distance’, entanglement is a key phenomenon in quantum physics that signifies a shared, quantum state between a pair or group of qubits that makes each member of the pair or group inherently dependent on the others. In entanglement, a change in the state of one qubit immediately affects the others in a predictable way, for instance, in a pair of qubits with a measured total spin of zero, when one is known to have a clockwise spin, the other qubit must then have a relative counter-clockwise spin. What is interesting about entanglement is that so far no one has been able to explain exactly how or why it occurs. Spooky.

Absolute power

The practical application of quantum theory is a tantalizing prospect for technological breakthroughs, particularly in computing. Thanks to superposition, quantum computers can perform calculations for multiple possibilities simultaneously, as opposed to the one-at-a-time nature of digital machines. Furthermore, while conventional computers require additional bits to increase their processing capabilities, quantum computers use entangled qubits to provide unparalleled efficiency and raw power. The implications are colossal, spanning across fields and industries. From molecular modeling to forecasting in weather and finance, from machine learning in the automotive and medicine to particle physics, the future does look bright.

What’s the catch?

China is one of the main players in quantum research, having recently used its Micius satellite to successfully beam entangled pairs of photons to three optical telescopes over a record 1,203 kilometers, besting the previous record by almost 1,100 kilometers. Unfortunately, only one pair of photons out of the 6 million beamed each second survived the journey through our atmosphere. This is because even the smallest change in the environment, like a loud noise, can destroy quantum properties and result in computational errors – an occurrence known as decoherence.

To maintain their unique properties, qubits should be kept inside vacuum chambers at all times, having limited to no interaction with outside stimuli, which isn’t always possible. Decoherence is one of the biggest challenges to unlocking the full potential of quantum mechanics, but the prize for overcoming it is everything. The global leader in quantum computing is going to have an unthinkable advantage over the rest of the world. It’s a sprint, not a marathon.

What if I told you…

The world’s most popular encryption technique has many flaws that make it prone to interception and decryption. The effectiveness of RSA encryption relies on the difficulty of solving multi-factor problems involving large prime numbers. RSA keys, needed to access the encrypted message, are constantly at risk of factoring attacks, making them an easy target for quantum computers thanks to their multi-problem solving properties. The solution? Quantum networks. When operational, these will most likely be a specialized branch of the world wide web, offering secure data transfer, and more, to future you.

The knight in shining armour

But we do not have to wait 10 years for our data to be secure. Quantum cryptography is already here in the form of Quantum Key Distribution or QKD for short. QKD uses the principles of superposition to create an encryption system based on physics rather than, traditionally, mathematics. In order to relay information securely, the sender creates an encryption key using qubits, which are sent to the recipient. The sender and recipient then use key sifting to determine whether the operation was successful. Had the encoded qubit been measured by a third-party, the sender and recipient of the data would both be alerted by the collapse of the entire operation due to decoherence. The security of this encryption technology combined with the ability to sound an alarm when jeopardized is revolutionary for cybersecurity.

TBC

In a perfect world, the new ceiling in cybersecurity would make our planet an objectively better place. Quantum communication would provide freedom and security for those under suppressive governments. The safety of financial transactions would be at an all-time high thanks to quantum cryptography. We would be able to get in touch with our friends and family in total privacy via quantum networks. The subsequent developments in artificial intelligence would bring us closer to technological singularity, where miraculous advances would happen on an almost daily basis. Our grandchildren might even call it the “quantum age”. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

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CyberSecurity Data Theft Disruption Gizmos Hack Information and Communication Technology (ICT) IoT (Internet of Things) Security

Is Facial Recognition Technology Ethical?

Facial recognition technology (FRT) continues to receive a tentative rollout. This is as different sectors continue to deploy facial scan devices in their different work stations. While some countries only use facial recognition technology as a security measure during high-profile events, others seem to have accepted its use across all sectors.

You will find that most of the airports and other public facilities that you visit have this facial recognition technology in place. This raises the question: isn’t this monitoring getting overboard?

This article discusses the important ethical issues surrounding facial recognition technology. We will also suggest effective ways of safeguarding your anonymity in a world that wants to spy on your every move.

Table of Contents

  1. What is facial recognition technology and what are the emerging trends?
  2. Definition of facial recognition technology and how it works
  3. Recent trends in facial recognition technology
  4. Is the use of facial recognition technology ethical?
  5. Advantages of facial recognition technology
  6. Disadvantages of facial recognition technology
  7. How you can protect yourself?

What is facial recognition technology and what are the emerging trends?

Is Facial Recognition Technology Ethical_
The rate at which the adoption of facial recognition technology (FRT) keeps increasing, it is becoming essential to review and do some facts checking in order to plan ahead for what the future holds.

Definition of facial recognition technology and how it works

Facial recognition can be simply defined as the use of cameras to identify a face from a photo or a video. Through an artificial intelligence system, a computer is able to mark the distinct features of a person’s face by taking note of key characteristics such as the actual measurements between the eyes and the ears, the structure of the jawbone, and other prominent facial features.

After gathering these features, the facial recognition device creates a face print or face map which is then stored in the system’s database. From this point, the face-scanning device can identify matching faces by simply comparing them to the face prints that are in their database.

Recent trends in facial recognition technology

Facial recognition technology is on the rise and the earlier we are aware of the trends, the better. Here are the recent trends that is shaping the path of this innovative and controversial technology;

1. Improvement in face-mapping innovations

There are more developments happening around this innovation. For instance, recent months have seen an improvement in this technology’s vision and capture ability. It’s now possible to take clearer captures that help depict the exact physical states of the individuals appearing on photos or on recorded videos.

2. Face recognition for internet banking

In a bid to enhance the security of their customers’ accounts, internet banking experts are now including facial recognition features as an additional security layer to the traditional verification methods such as passwords and email verification.

This technology is becoming more common as more online industries take it over as a fraud mitigation method.

3. More cameras at the airports

Various airlines from across the world have implemented a face scan technology at their airports. Many more airline companies have voiced their intentions to deploy the same across different airports all over the world.

This move continues to digitize check-ins and other travel clearances at the airports.

Is the use of facial recognition technology ethical?

Critics of the facial recognition technology say that it overrides on basic human rights. We’ll let you be the judge. Here is a look at the good and the bad about this technology.

Let’s explore them below.

Advantages of facial recognition technology

It is trendy! In fact, it is a state of the art and innovative technology! And it doesn’t end there, these are other advantages of facial identification;

1. Better security

With the use of surveillance cameras, facial recognition has made identification and tracking of criminals such as thieves and trespassers much easier. Government security agencies are also able to identify terror suspects with the help of this technology.

2. Streamlined identification process

Facial recognition technology has helped phase out the traditional identification processes that were not only time consuming but also suffered high inaccuracies. The facial recognition identification process provides an alternative that is not only fast but also secure. 

3. Fast and more secure processes

A face recognition process is fast and secure. It outdoes the other authentication processes that are always susceptible to attacks. It provides instant results which makes the identification process flow more smoothly.

Disadvantages of facial recognition technology

Although it might be changing the way many things are done, facial recognition has its dark side. For anything that is termed innovative and disruptive, there is always room for abuse/misuse and here are the disadvantages of using facial recognition in this modern-day era.

1. Possibility of recognition errors

Being a system that runs on artificial intelligence, a slight change in the positioning of a recognition camera can give an erroneous result.

If this happens in an identification or authentication process, a user may be denied access because of the slightest changes in appearance or the camera’s capture position. 

2. Data breaches

This is where the question on the ethical viability of facial recognition rises. While the collected data may be intended to track down the lawbreakers, it can also track everyone else down. Including you; anytime, anywhere.

3. Lack of regulation

Most countries do not have any regulations governing the use of facial recognition technology. As a result, different entities continue using it without a clear and consistent framework. Without a regulated guideline, data collected from these processes can be misused.

How you can protect yourself?

The thought of having your every move monitored can be overwhelming. However, it is difficult for you to stay away from all public places that have a surveillance system in place. Aware of the existing vulnerabilities in this technology, you can do a few things that will keep you protected. They include:

1. Wearing a mask

You can always prevent a facial scan device from capturing your face by wearing a mask. This will make it difficult for the device to scan the bottom area of your face. A mask will help hide the targeted areas such as the nose and jawbones.

2. Wearing a hat

Wearing a hat is another way to protect you from unwanted surveillance. Hats with brims help obscure the shape of your face protecting a shield from cameras especially those that are mounted on high walls.

3. Editing your photos before sharing them on social media

Memorable moments are marked by memorable photos and we all love sharing them online. It is, however, advisable to vary the original photos by modifying them. Go for modifications that make photos hard to scan using a facial recognition system.

4. Styling up wisely

Maintain a look that is difficult for the cameras to scan. Consider stylish looks that block sections of your face that are mostly targeted by facial scans. Areas to disguise in your looks include the eyes, nose, forehead, and jawbones.

5. Opting out of the Facebook recognition feature

Facebook uses a facial recognition feature that enables it to identify your face from photos in order to suggest a tag. Stay out of this recognition feature by turning it off. Once logged in, you can disable this feature from the settings and privacy tab.

6. Using VPN to safeguard your anonymity

The government and other spying agencies may go out of their way to spy on you. However, you can still safeguard your online activities by using a VPN to guarantee your anonymity.

VPNs encrypt online interactions making them invisible to any third party. This is to say, should any spy agency succeed in accessing your face print from some facial recognition database, they still will not be able to track you down based on your online activities.

VPN data encryption technology makes data invisible to spies and therefore inaccessible. It’s a sure way of keeping important information relating to your personal data private.

Conclusion

As different sectors of the world continue to deploy facial scan devices in their work stations, facial recognition technology (FRT) is on an upward curve, and it is not going to stop anytime soon – that is why exploring the dangers and the benefits look ideal today. Clearly, the rate at which facial recognition equipment has been embraced tells us that this technology is here to stay. This is despite the many ethical concerns that surround its use. Governments need to wake up and protect their people by coming up with legislative policies that take care of the privacy and data breach concerns.

As we wait for the much-needed actions to be taken, you can maximize the tricks discussed above. Practicing them can make your face difficult for the systems to identify and you might just be able to get away with some anonymity.

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News Security Software

5 Apps To Maximize Your Smartphone’s Performance

Brian and his squad made a sudden plan to go camping the next day. All his friends rushed to the mall to buy some clothes and other essentials. But Brian plopped on the couch with his laptop and smartphone. His phone was acting weird lately, and he wanted to fix all issues before they leave. After all, you can manage with old tees, but a poor performing phone is simply not an option. Brian is smart. Be like Brian.

It is inevitable that, over time, the performance of your smartphone will diminish. As you gather more files and the number of installed apps on your phone increases, the OS gets burdened and slows down.

According to mobile phone usage statistics, the average smartphone owner uses their phone for more than 3 hours a day. With such broad usage length, you cannot expect a device to maintain a similar performance level for its entire life.

There will be a point when it gives up. And when it does, consider using either (or combination) of the following apps for performance maximization:

How To Maximize Your Smartphone Performance With Performance Test Apps
To keep your smartphone performance under check, there are smartphone performance test apps that you can use to improve its health.

1. Antutu Benchmark

A meticulous inspection helps you make better decisions.

Antutu Benchmark is one of the leading benchmarking applications with more than 100 million users. It helps the user to check the performance of their device. It gives your device an overall numerical score and assigns a rating for every test it performs.

It comes in pretty handy when you plan on installing a new game or app with high-resolution graphics. There are three phases of Antutu Benchmark:

First – It checks the performance of RAM on your device using continuous data streams for testing device endurance

Second It simplifies how your phone terminal handles 2D graphics

Third It analyzes the endurance using 3D graphics, using a 3D sequence

Antutu recently claimed that their latest tests “better reflect real-world use cases.” With its precise scrutiny structure, the app focuses on providing detailed info about battery level and its internal temperature.

Antutu Benchmark is more or less similar to the Droid Optimizer, as it follows the same pattern of ranking system.

2. Battery Doctor

Get your phone a diagnostic run with this doc!

Battery Doctor is a comprehensive battery health app that will give you an idea of how you are using your phone and ways to extend its life. There are options to optimize performance where you can automatically adjust the settings to limit connectivity and data usage.

Over 100 million Android users are using it for its intelligent power prediction and professional charging capabilities. It shuts down the background apps, unused functions, and dims the screen. Plus, it keeps the phone battery healthy by notifying when to start and stop charging.

It shows a small battery percentage indicator on the taskbar, having a green ring when the charge is good enough. But when it reaches the mid-range, the ring goes yellow. These colors give you a quick assessment of the battery situation.

The combination of these features makes it a highly relevant app for those looking to prolong their battery life and boost their phone performance.

3. Clean Master

A complete package to beat the internal/external threats.

CleanMaster is one of the most popular junk cleaning apps in the virtual marketplace. Recent stats show that the app has 43 million reviews on the Google Play Store.

The app offers a bunch of tools like memory booster, app manager, junk cleaner, and file shredder. You can use it to check if your system contains malicious files that eat up resources or crash the device. Unlike an antivirus program, this app provides a detailed review of the data flagged for deletion.

Clean Master (Phone Master) Cleans junks, saves battery and extend data life
Clean Master, now known as Phone Master, is all-round smartphone performance enhancement suite that cleans junks, saves battery and extend data life, etc. It does more than we can detail here.

In addition to removing unwanted files, CleanMaster provides you an option of boosting the current operating state of the phone by terminating unnecessary procedures in the background.

As for the malware and bugs that creep into the system, CleanMaster deploys an algorithm similar to AirG spam-free apps that rids your phone off all harmful spam and bugs. Hence, not only internal, but it also minimizes external threats.

When you use this app, you will notice a clear difference in the phone’s performance and optimization.

4. DU Speed Booster

Striking out the straining elements is just one tap!

DU Speed Booster falls into the list of super cool optimizing apps. Currently, it is running on more than one million devices across the globe. With a single-tap optimizing feature, you can enhance the speed of your phone by 60%. It has a user-friendly interface, with clear calls-to-action (CTA).

DU Speed Booster serves multiple purpose of cleaning trash, saving battery, protecting your phone and enhancing your smartphone performance, all in one place. With its update layout and improved security features. Updated Device layout, you can speed up your phone performance with ease.

It has the following features for boosting the speed of your smartphone:

  • Clears up RAM space
  • Cleans out system trash, cache, and assorted downloaded files
  • Shuts down background apps
  • Checks for viruses and harmful files
  • Evaluates charging level and speed
  • Turns your phone silent as per your instructions

This app has an integrated active engine to monitor and release the resources when required. It seems to be the perfect choice when you have overloaded the device and need guidance on how to refresh it.

5. Advanced Mobile Care Security (AMC)

Perk up your phone with exceptional optimization!

Advanced Mobile Care Security by IObit has more than 20 million users worldwide. It is an all-in-one security and performance app that performs real-time virus scans and comes with multiple other optimization features.

Advanced Mobile Care Security (AMC Security) - Cleaner, Booster, Antivirus
To maximize your smartphone performance, Advanced Mobile Care Security (AMC Security) could be an ideal app to install. It works as a cleaner, booster, and at the same time, as an antivirus.

It helps to clean all kinds of junk files (residual files, privacy records, cache junks, etc.) to clean phone memory. Like other apps, this one also contains regular features of RAM boost, averting useless notifications, and deletion of unwanted files. Also, it has a Privacy Locker to protect your photos, videos, and all other private data from prying eyes.

AMC has three battery saving modes to extend battery life and inform users about apps consuming the most power. When you kill unnecessary tasks and make regular backups with this app, the performance of your phone will eventually improve.

Final Thoughts

A poorly performing smartphone is irritating and highly inconvenient. However, it’s a given that your phone will gradually slow after a few years. The best remedial action is to give it periodic fixes through optimization apps.

We hope you will get your phone running back at full speed through the apps listed above. If you think there is more to add, feel free to tell us in the comments.

When speed matters a lot, having some of these smartphone performance apps to improve the device health would be an ideal way to

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Business CyberSecurity Hack Healthcare & Healthy Living How to Guide Security Startups

5 Steps to Keep Home Network Safe for Remote Working

The current social distancing rules have forced many companies to make the switch to remote work whether they were ready or not. This unveiled just how unprepared and unsafe home networks are when it comes to standing up to a determined attacker. As such, we offer five tips to help regular people set up a more secure work environment from a distance.

How to Keep Your Home Network Safe for Work

The current world situation is difficult, to say the least. The healthcare and economic systems of almost every country on the globe are negatively impacted by the social distancing rules, and we don’t know yet when the situation will return to normal (if ever).

However, there are companies that managed to adapt to the situation by setting up their workers to work from home. Luckily, this is not a new situation as many people already work remotely in many parts of the world. Even more, this is an upwards trend that’s expected to take over most industries by 2028.

Still, remote workers can be a risk for the safety of the company if it’s not done correctly. When working from home, employees don’t follow the same rules imposed by the company when it comes to file sharing, IT security, or software used. Many home computers don’t use an up to date operating system and rely on free software tools that are easier to hack.

When we combine the idea of low-security remote workers with the recent surge in cyberattacks, the result is a bit chilling.

As such, a safe work environment (albeit a remote one) is a responsibility that both employers and employees share. Since we know cybersecurity and new technologies are not everyone’s cup of tea, we put together a few guidelines to help remote workers up the security of their home network.

So, make sure to read everything carefully, and apply the measures that fit your situation in keeping home network safe during and after the social distancing rules.

Keep Home Network Safe – 5 Tips to Stay Safe While Working from Home

How to Keep Your Home Network Safe for Remote Working
To work with peace of mind while maintaining the social distancing rules for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, here are steps to keep your home network safe. Make sure you follow these guidelines for staying safe while working from home.

#1: Update the Security of your WiFi

Home WiFi networks are rarely well-protected and many homeowners don’t even bother to change the default security settings on their routers. This makes the work of anyone who is trying to break your network so much easier!

So, to avoid getting a data breach via your WiFi, follow these basic steps:

  • Change the SSID (service set identifier or the name of the network). If you keep the default one (usually provided by the router or the company that offers the service), you tell an external actor that the password is also the default one or something extremely generic.
  • Change the Password of the router – If you don’t know how to go about this, you can ask your service provider. Also, make sure it is strong (at least 20 characters long with numbers, letters, and various symbols) and avoid using personal information (pets’ names, children’s names, dates of birth, and so on).
  • Enable network encryption – Most modern routers offer encryption possibilities, but they are turned off by default. Make sure to check the router’s settings and turn on encryption (the most effective is WPA2).

#2: Update your Software

If you’re that person who checks “Remind me later” when it comes to software updates, it’s time to stop!

Software updates are not there just to annoy you. This is a form of support provided by the producer to keep your device safe from various vulnerabilities and flaws that could become gateways for hackers.

As such, make sure that every software item you use (including the operating system and router firmware) has the latest updates installed and running.

#3: Use a Solid Security Solution

Stay away from public networks for as much as possible. And, if you do have to use them, take all the necessary precautions. This is the first rule of online safety!

The second rule is about using a reliable antivirus solution. Many people think that just because they have a free antivirus on their systems they are safe. This is completely false and this way of thinking can lure people into a false sense of security.

For an extra layer of protection, you can use a VPN solution. It may slow down your connection a bit, but it’s a price worth paying.

Lastly, you should consider taking an online course on cybersecurity. These courses are affordable, easy to understand, and flexible, but most importantly, they offer valuable information on IT security and protection against the most common threats.

#4: Separate Work from Personal

Working from home can get a bit messy if you don’t establish clear boundaries with the family, the clients and colleagues, and even yourself.

For instance, if possible, try to use a different computer for work and another device for personal activities. If not, make sure you have separate profiles for work and fun and that both profiles are users without administrative rights. Also, if more people use the same computer, make a separate profile for guests (again, no administrative rights).

#5: Change Passwords Frequently

Let’s be honest – the standard username/password system is flawed and, with that many data breaches, it’s no longer effective. Add to this the fact that many people don’t understand the purpose of a strong and unique password and you have the perfect recipe for hacking.

Right now, the most convenient way around this system is two-factor authentication, but it can be difficult to implement and not exactly cheap.

As such, to make sure your professional accounts remain safe, you should change the passwords every two or three months. Also, stay up to date with the latest data breaches, and if any of the platforms you’re currently using was attacked, change the password immediately.

Wrap Up

Yes, it can be a bit daunting to make sure your online presence is safe from prying eyes, but the alternative is much worse!

These measures should be applied by anyone who uses the Intenet to keep their home network safe, but if you work remotely, they are mandatory. Also, we strongly recommend doing more research on the topic of cybersecurity to find new ways of keeping your business safe while beyond the social distancing rules set by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Categories
CyberSecurity Data Theft Disruption Security Software

How biometric verification enables ultra-modern future

Biometric verification has added a security layer for businesses. Using facial recognition technology, online face verification can be performed within seconds.

Biometrics have been in use for quite a long time and are used across several industries. One of the primary reasons behind this fame is that it offers convenience for businesses and consumers both. One of the most common biometrics is facial recognition and it’s predicted that by 2024 facial recognition market will grow at CAGR 16.6% reaching a record-high value of USD 7.0 billion.

Biometric verification is changing the way identities will be adopted in the future, a person’s identity will be his face and not a piece of paper. Thanks to the advancements in technology private and public sectors are already using face recognition for several purposes.

Some major use cases of face verification are fraud prevention, customer onboarding, user security, data security, crime control, border controls, etc. Fraud and crime control are the primary use-cases.

Facial biometrics screens the face of a person and store the data in the form of algorithms based on machine learning. Later these algorithms are matched with the faces in the databases to find a match, or matched the face on the ID card of that person.

Let’s see how the private and public sector is using this awesome technology to enable a totally automated future.

How biometric verification enables ultra-modern future

How biometric verification enables ultra-modern future
Bio-metric verification adds extra security layer your business backbone, thanks to the facial recognition technology which can be performed within seconds.

Crime control

Crime control agencies are using face verification to identify criminals. FBI uses it to match the faces of suspects with the faces of people charged with some crime. If a match is found it could be used as a legal proof against a suspect.

Other than that the police departments in some states of the U.S.A and UK are also using facial recognition to find criminals. They use public surveillance cameras to find the suspects.

Unfortunately, the masses have not accepted this change. Some human rights activists and consumers consider this practice as a violation of human privacy rights. But many of them have accepted it given the security it provides. Research conducted recently found that 54.8% of Americans agree that facial recognition shouldn’t be limited if it adds to public safety.

Travel industry

Airports use facial recognition to perform border control and security protocols. Many airports use it to verify the identity of passengers and reduce crimes such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, smuggling, money laundering, etc.

The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta has completely automated the passenger screening process making travel document-free. The airport screens and verify the faces of passengers at different check-points. The passenger shows his face to the camera which is scanned and verified to allow access to the concerned terminals.

Businesses are using it for KYC screening of their customers

Identity verification businesses use biometric authentication in KYC screening solutions to verify the identity of a person. The end-user shows his face along with the identity document and the AI-based KYC Solutions verify both in real-time.

The face of the person is scanned and stored in the form of machine learning algorithms, which are then compared with the face on the identity document. These solutions enable businesses to onboard customers, perform customer due diligence, fraud prevention, etc. Facial biometrics are used for employee attendance and at data centers to allow limited access to only authorized people.

Other than those facial biometrics are also used by force for border control measures. Hence facial recognition has multiple use-cases for different industries to move towards total automation.

Identity theft and the use of fake identities have increased fraud and ID cards are no longer secure enough to verify the identity of a person. Also, everything is digitized from online shopping to payments and financial transactions, and it has increased the need for digital security measures. Facial biometrics provides the needed security with high accuracy that substitutes in-person identity verification.

Biometric verification adds extra layer of security for small businesses with facial recognition technology which can be performed within seconds, but it does have some of its shortcomings. We will talk about them in coming articles.

If you have questions, drop them below and let’s discuss them further.