Author Archives: Paul Hamilton‏

Global Payment Stats Every Business Should Be Aware of

It is important for businesses to be aware of what is happening in the industry as they impact companies on a micro level. You cannot reach a wider market without knowing what is happening around you.

The best way to be aware is to pay attention to the facts and figures. In this article, we will highlight some payment stats to help you understand the market landscape.

We have concentrated on global stats to explain the global landscape. Since ecommerce is ‘beyond borders’, it is important for businesses to know what the international audience wants so they can continue to serve them well.

#1 Cash Is On the Decline

Many countries around the world have gone cashless.

Only 77 percent of all transactions involve cash today. The figure was 89 percent about five years ago and is expected to fall even more due to the current situation that has forced buyers to use alternative methods including no contact payment solutions.

According to this report, e-wallets will have a 28 percent market share by 2022. However, cash isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the value of the euro in circulation has increased in the last few years.

Some countries are taking steps to remove cash, while some are still heavily dependent on paper money.

Cash is the second most widely used form of payment in the US after debit cards. Considering New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia recently passed laws banning merchants from not accepting cash payments, it’s safe to say that cash will continue to prevail in the US.

Still, businesses need to be proactive as users prefer merchants who offer a variety of payment options including digital coins.

#2 Electronic Payments Are Rising

The global use of debit and credit cards (combined) grew from 5 percent to 9 percent between 2012 and 2017.

In recent times, debit cards have declined in popularity but the demand for credit cards has only increased due to new entrants like Apple Pay entering the market.

Apple Pay was originally marketed as an e-payment solution but the company’s decision to issue physical cards changed the game.

Consumers have a lot of faith in credit cards as they are easy to use and come with some other benefits including rewards. However, their dominance is being challenged now thanks to electronic payment options.

The global digital payments market is growing at a rate of 12.8 percent and is expected to continue to grow at this rate for the next three years.

About 50 percent of all transactions in North America are conducted electronically making it a global leader. Europe isn’t far behind either. The use of electronic payments is very common in most European countries.

About 47 percent of all European card transactions involve NFC technology. Asian countries including China, India, and Pakistan are also making use of electronic payments.

The Chinese electronic payments market is among the fastest – it increased 10x between 2012 and 2017. The introduction of Alipay and WeChat payment options can be given credit for the huge growth in the Chinese market.

The scenario is similar in African countries as well, especially Nigeria, which is ahead in the technological race.

These figures show the importance of electronic payments. It can be hard for businesses to sustain if they do not offer e-payments. Look for a payment partner that offers third-party integrations so that you do not have to use multiple providers.

 #3 Mobile Payments For the Future

Before moving ahead, let’s be clear that there’s a difference between mobile payments and electronic payments.

Mobile payments involve the use of mobile apps, whereas electronic payments can be made via credit and debit cards without using digital wallets or apps.

The use of mobile devices is on the rise and mobile commerce accounts for about 48 percent of digital sales.

Since many people carry smartphones, they find it easier to use mobile devices to make payments.

The use of mobile devices for making payments at the point of sale is expected to increase to 28 percent by 2022.

This option is more popular among the newer generations (Gen-Z and millennials). About 28 percent of millennials have used a digital wallet at the point of sale, about 8 percent higher than the general population.

Younger people use digital wallets about five times a month, according to Billtrust. Due to an aging population, the gap is expected to increase in the future as the newer generation is used to mobile devices.

The scenario, however, is not the same all around the world as mobile payments are still not very popular in developing countries.

Only 37 percent of global merchants support mobile payments at the point of sale. On the positive side, about 31.4 percent intend to introduce this feature soon.

Businesses must provide consumers the facilities they need to prevent them from going to competitors.

Conclusion

These stats highlight the diversity in the global payments landscape. Retailers must take steps to know what their customers need so they can bring changes to the payment ecosystem.

A lack of payment options is one of the major reasons why the average cart abandonment rate is as high as 69.56 percent.

Remember that today’s customers are spoiled for choice. They will not think twice before moving to another seller if you do not have the payment option that they prefer.

Look for a payment partner who understands your requirements and can offer the services that you need.

Bio:

Lou Honick is the CEO of Host Merchant Services. Prior to founding Host Merchant Services in 2010, Lou was the founder of HostMySite.com and received numerous awards including SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine 30 under 30, and multiple listings on the Inc 500. As a serial entrepreneur, all of his companies have operated on a singular devotion to outstanding customer service and support. Lou is a respected expert on the topics of customer service, payments and fintech, Internet technology, and entrepreneurship.

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How To Set Your Phone for Better Privacy and Security?

The default factory settings on your phone are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they’re the best way to see what the creator recommends for you, and it makes it easy to get started. But sometimes, these features can have problems.

They can be reducing your battery life, or share things you don’t want them to. So no matter what phone you use, you should change a few options around if you want to have the most security. And this guide will help you to find those.

These settings alone will not protect you from persistent hackers or from complex phishing scams but they will be a great place to start you basic security review. Unfortunately cyber crime statistics are showing increasing threats year on year targeting individuals and business users.

Commercial spy apps are also on the rise and they make it very easy for unskilled hackers to target people if they can access your cell phone. Fortunately these spy apps do leave traces and you can find out if you have been hacked – if you know what to look for.

So let’s look at a few settings you should check when you first start that new phone.

For Any Device

We’ll get to the specifics in a minute, but first we should look at things that all devices have that you should turn on.

Lock Your Screen

Screen locking is the best way to protect your phone from nosy peers or people who may be able to access it if you lose your device. It may be a bit annoying to type those digits every time you use your phone, but if someone tries accessing, you’ll be glad you secured it.

While different devices have different locks, this guide will cover the PIN, which is the most secure and easy to recall.

Locking an Android

Go to Settings, Security, and then Screen Lock. This will allow you to choose your own PIN.

Locking an iOS

Just go to Settings and then Passcode.

Lock a Windows Phone

If you have a Windows phone, go to Settings and then Lock Screen. This will allow you to choose a password option.

Stopping Ad Tracking

We all know how intrusive online ads can be. They track and target you, especially via social media. While it’s par for the course in the world of the Internet, there are ways to make sure that less info is gathered to use against you.

Stop Ads With Windows Phone

Go to Settings and click on Advertising ID. After that, all you need to do is turn it off. Meanwhile, on iOS, you can go to Settings, Privacy, and then Advertising to reduce the amount of tracking you have. Just make sure to enable Limited Tracking afterwards.

For your Android, you need an app called Google Settings. This app can also be used to turn off services that may drain your battery, but it can be used to turn off your ad preference. Go to Ads and then Opt Out of Interest Based Ads. This will shut off a lot of data that Google collects about you.

Turning On Find Your Phone

Back in the day, if you lost your phone, you were out of luck, or you had to download a separate app. However, this is all changed. The smartphones today have their own methods to find your phone if you lost it. However, you have to turn them on, or you may have few options in finding your phone.

For iOS

Go to Settings, iCloud, and then Find My iPad/iPod/iPhone. And that’s that. To see where your device is, just install the Find My iPhone app on another device, or go to the web version that’s viewable with any desktop.

For Windows Phone

Go to Settings and then Find My Phone. You can then turn it on, and use a website to look at your phone’s location, as well as a few other features.

For Android

Go to Google Settings and head to Android Device Manager. The top box will allow you to find your phone, and the bottom is something you should enable as a last effort if you can’t find your device. You can either download an app or use a site to see where your phone is.

Do Not Allow Browsers to Save Your Password

Many browsers allow you to remember a password, which allows you to conveniently log in without having to input a password. However, if you have this on, anyone who finds your phone can use this to their advantage and see what site’s you’re visiting. So when it asks to remember your password, it would be wise to say no.

If you have already saved passwords, don’t worry. You can turn them off.

Turning Off iOS Passwords

Simply go to Settings, Safari, and then click on Passwords & AutoFill. Look at your saved passwords and remove them if you can, as well as other things that may intrude on your privacy.

Turning Off Windows Phone Passwords

Go to Settings, Applications, and then Internet Explorer. Afterwards, go to Advanced Settings. Select Don’t Remember under Website Passwords. Go to IE’s settings and choose Delete History if you have passwords that are already saved.

Turning Off Android Passwords

Open up Chrome and select the menu bar on the top right, which should have three dots. Click on Settings and then Save Passwords. You can turn off passwords it’s saved, as well as turning off the feature altogether.

So what if you want the convenience of stored passwords without having to risk security? Try checking out the app LastPass, which you can get for twelve bucks a year. This encrypts your passwords behind a master one instead of all being stored on your phone.

Always Back Up

Backing up your phone is a great idea, and each phone has their own little way of doing a backup. However, they will not back up everything on your phone, so it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to backing up properly.

Backing Up Android

Go to Settings and Backup &Reset. Go through the boxes and check them, and when you turn on your new phone, you’ll have all your app data and Wi-Fi passwords.

Backing Up iOS

Go to Settings and then iCloud. You can select what data it backs up. It’s a good idea to choose as much as possible unless you are out of space. Regardless, make sure the option is enabled.

Backing Up Windows

Go to Settings and Backup, and then make sure that you select it. You can click on it for more options as to what you can backup as well.

Individual Privacy Settings

iOS

Many apps you download will ask you for permissions, such as accessing your photos. Sometimes, you need this on if you want the app to work properly, but many apps, such as Facebook Messenger, you might need to be wary of. So go to Settings and then Privacy to view what apps you granted permission to. If it needs to have permission to work, turn it on. If not, maybe you’re best to turn it off.

If you want to adjust your location sharing, go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and then scroll down to System Services. You turn off location-based ads and sharing if you don’t feel like it’s necessary. However, your location for such things as changing time zones and finding your devices is ideal.

Android

Android is more prone to viruses, so you need to make sure to be educated and try to take preventative measures if you want your phone to be safe. You should first disallow your phone to install apps that aren’t from Google Play. While there are good apps from other sources, you should keep it off until you’re ready to install those apps.

Go to Settings, Security, and Unknown Sources. Uncheck the box and then make sure that Verify Apps is enabled. This will look at apps that are installed and see if there are any legitimate concerns.

In the Security menu is also the Device Administration. These contain apps that require a great amount of permission to use. Look and see if any of those apps you use or if they’re enabled. Research to see if the app is good.

If you don’t know too much about permissions, you should. They work differently than iOS, so be sure to look up on them.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone surprisingly doesn’t have many settings that need to be tweaked, but you should look at the Kid’s Corner. The Kid’s Corner will allow you to put apps on your kids to use and nothing else. To do this, go to Settings and then Kid’s Corner. Enable a PIN so that your kids will not be able to see everything on your phone.

And with that, your device should be secured and good to go. While it’s no fun tweaking all these settings, it will pay off. While default settings can be good, sometimes the manufacturer will consider convenience over your own personal privacy. So feel free to tweak the settings to your preferred privacy level.

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Cybersecurity Best Practices for SMB IT

It’s time to recalibrate your thinking if you believe your enterprise is safe from hackers because your business is considered small. Yes, system incursions upon the likes of Microsoft, Estee Lauder and T-Mobile get the lion’s share of media attention, however cybercriminals hungrily eye higher-volume smaller targets as well. Making them all the more appetizing is the complacency many small business owners have when it comes to network security.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some cybersecurity best practices for SMB IT.

  1. Take It Seriously

Sure, this might sound like something that doesn’t need to be said, but a surprising number of data breaches occur because people neglect to treat security as a priority. Employees get lazy about scrutinizing emails and text messages carefully before opening links and attachments. Passwords go unchanged for years because they’re easy to remember. Access codes are shared among “trusted” employees. First and foremost, cybersecurity should be afforded the respect it deserves because ignoring it can shut a company down altogether.

  1. Carry Cyber Insurance

It’s important to operate from the mindset of what will happen when your system is attacked, as opposed to if. This makes carrying a cyber insurance policy with a reputable carrier a good idea. In addition to providing vital financial assistance in the wake of a data breach, cyber insurers scrutinize your security arrangements before agreeing to issue a policy. In other words, they look for ways to infiltrate your network and show you how to plug those gaps before they cover you.

  1. Employ Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

This one goes somewhat hand in hand with number one above. Prioritizing convenience over security can leave your system open to infiltrators. While requiring multi-factor authentication before permitting access to your network does mean users must take additional steps, it also introduces another hurdle of protection over which interlopers must leap. Compromised, reused and weak passwords are responsible for 81 percent of hacking related breaches. MFA is one of the easiest and most effective measures you can take to ramp up enterprise cybersecurity.

  1. Implement and Enforce a Bring Your Own Device Policy

The Internet of Things has given rise to a plethora of endpoint devices, many of which represent a potential point of entry to your network. This must be addressed head-on. Forbid — and take steps to prevent — the storage of sensitive data on personal devices. Permit access to sensitive information only through an encrypted VPN. Employee owned devices should be granted guest access only over the internet. And, devise and implement an emergency response plan of the steps to take when an employee loses a device. The more endpoints are accessing your network, the more important it is to take cloud and on-premises network security seriously.

  1. ABU — Always Be Updating

Next to weak passwords, old software is another leading cause of data breaches. We know you’ve heard it hundreds of times before, but that should render it all the more important in your mind. Install software updates the moment they become available. This is especially critical for security, web server, and operating system software. Each new version of these contains updated anti-virus and anti-malware coding, typically in response to the latest breach. In other words, hackers find ways in and programmers lock those doors as soon as they become aware of them. Ignoring updates leaves your system vulnerable to people who are aware of those portals.

Always be updating.

These are five of the simplest ways to protect your network. Even better, they can be implemented at minimal cost. Being small is no guarantee criminals will overlook your business. Implementing these cyber security best practices for SMB IT helps prevent your company from being viewed as low hanging fruit, encouraging hackers to look for an easier target.

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Keeping Consumer Data Safe

Every day on popular eCommerce sites, millions upon millions of people are entering valuable information. Their names, their credit card information, their addresses, and more all being uploaded in rapid quantities. All this sensitive info, especially in regards to payment profiles, has since become the target for malicious cyber attacks and hacking schemes. For businesses implementing their online payment systems, how can they ensure that consumer data is kept safe?

What does Cyber Attacks Look Like

Hackers typically target valuable data in order to steal money and are usually able to do it before the customers even realize that something is amiss. There are all sorts of ways hackers can access information, like sending malicious code to websites that intercept payments or using bots to guess millions of combinations of letters and numbers to access user accounts. Some hackers won’t even stop at individual users but target a website’s entire back-end database. While these attacks are relentless, there are thankfully several things most businesses do in order to keep sensitive information out of criminal hands.

Ways to Keep Data Secure

There are a lot of methods employed by businesses that keep personal data protected. With these methods, even the most persistent hackers find it impossible to break through and steal data. Data encryption is one leading method. Here data is encoded in such a way that it’s incomprehensible to anyone besides the holder of the key to decrypt it. Encryption uses algorithms to scramble data and obscure it from any prying eyes. Many organizations also make use of SSL certificates to encrypt payment information while it’s in transit.

Frequent updates and use of antivirus or anti-malware software are common practices among businesses. With viruses getting more advanced and hackers finding new methods to work their way into systems, most companies apply frequent updates and patches to all their software offerings and services. These updates not only provide increased stability, new features, and faster operation but offer an increase in security as well. Some businesses even hire ethical hackers to try and break into their own systems so that solutions can be uncovered.

There are also many legal guidelines for businesses to follow that work in tandem with keeping consumer data safe. For example, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits the gathering of data for kids under 13, keeping their sensitive information offline entirely. For other types of data, The California Consumer Privacy Act, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set guidelines for the collection and management of personal information. Depending on local laws, there are several regulations just like these that work to keep data in good hands. Some online services like Magento 2 GDPR Extension will even allow online stores to change their processing methods to stay GDPR and CCPA compliant.

While it’s a sad fact online cyber-attacks may never truly go away, we can rest assured that businesses have a wide variety of tools at their disposal to make the internet and their marketplaces safe for all users.

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How Do Random Number Generators Work?

In a real-world casino, random chance plays a huge part in ensuring that games are fair. If neither the player nor the house can predict which card will be drawn next, or where the ball will stop on a roulette wheel, then the games are unpredictable, and therefore fair. Whilst relying on the laws of physics, or the near-infinite number of combinations that a deck of cards can be arranged into is easy in real life, when it comes to online casinos, things aren’t so simple.

The problem is that making something truly random is really quite difficult. Humans are very bad at creating random combinations, and computer programs need to base any number that they generate on an already existing set of data and human input, so how does the casino industry do it?

Random Number Generators

Random number generators (RNGs) are the subject of many essays and scientific papers, but to put it simply, they work by starting with a number, known as a seed number, and perform a different mathematical problem on that number every time a new random number needs to be generated. Simple, right? Not quite. The seed number can often be over 200,000 digits long, and can change every second, making hacking extremely difficult, if not impossible. The original seed number and the algorithm used to generate the math problem are kept top secret, so whilst there is technically a pattern, without both of those pieces of information, the system is as good as totally random.

The Real World Applications of RNGs

Ok, so now we have a very long string of digits that after having a math problem applied to them, become another number, how does this affect what happens when you play any of the variety of betting games at Paddy Power? Each outcome in each game, whether you’re rolling a virtual dice, or pulling the lever on any one of the many virtual slot machines, is assigned a number from the RNG. So maybe a pair of sixes in a dice game corresponds to 673,467,527,656,14 or 8 Black on a roulette wheel to 574,862,745,879. The mathematical algorithm is different for every game and ensures that the numerical outcome always lines up with a possible outcome in the game.

Who Keeps Everything in Check?

In principle, RNGs sound great so far, but to ensure that the programs and algorithms are fair and legitimate, third-party organisations have to inspect and approve RNGs in order to keep players safe. In the EU, this is the Gambling Commission, whilst in the US, the authority varies by state, but in all cases, they ensure that RNGs meet a variety of criteria to be ‘acceptably random’. Indeed, there are organisations that constantly review systems to ensure that they are operating to the best of their ability. Regardless, legitimate gambling websites will display the contact details of these authorities and make their certificates available to be publicly viewed.

So next time you take part in an online casino game, you’ll have a better understanding of how these games work and know that you’re in the safe, fair hands of a randomly-generated string of digits!

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How Internet Security Evolved in Tandem with iGaming

For a non-biological entity, the internet is an area filled with constant and unstoppable evolution. From the hardware which backs it to the software systems it carries, nothing in this arena stays the same for long. One of the most major forms these changes take is seen in the world of security.

While there are many fields in which this battle is fought, by focusing on just one it can be possible to track greater trends in the online security environment. For the sake of this article, we want to use online bingo as an example. A simple game to play on the surface, it’s a world in which the real developments run surprisingly deep. Staying steady over the years, the invisible parts of such games are top of the class. But how did we get here?

A Change in Browsers

As this article by Popular Mechanics on Netscape Navigator can tell you, the earliest web browsers were incredibly simple. In some cases, the first browsers even had the option to disable all images from loading, to save on data costs. The problem with these browsers was that patches were few and far between, and limited expertise in developer security meant that malware was a constant concern.

my old naigator
My Old Navigator” (CC BY 2.0) by OiMax

This could have been problematic for the first browser bingo games, which appeared as early as 1996. To combat this issue, very specific locks were put into which browsers could access the first bingo offerings. Simply put, if a browser didn’t have the latest security tech, it wasn’t supported.

Over time, this security concern aided in the rise of online bingo which moved away from direct browser integration. Instead, many bingo games relied on downloadable clients from online casinos, which were much more tightly controlled, doing things many websites at the time couldn’t. These remained a standard for ages, only seeing significant abandonment recently.

The Modern Age

In the last few years, arguable the biggest change in online bingo gaming has come from improvements in HTML and related web technologies. HTML5, as a much more flexible system than its predecessors, has paved the way for bingo games to head back to browsers en force.

Take, for example, the games on Bingo Betfair online in UK areas. Thanks to modern tech, games like Housey Bingo and House of Mirrors are not just entirely safe on major websites, but they also run far faster and look far better than any old bingo games could. Not simply due to convenience, this change was also a matter of necessity.

Most online games used to operate within the system of Adobe Flash, which was the standard for many years. Yet Flash’s inbuilt limitations, including a growing potential for security flaws, put it on a road to obsolescence, as Time explains. This proved to major hurdle for some forms of entertainment, acting as a danger to online software without a proactive approach. Like most online casino games, bingo abandoned this system some time ago, but many still haven’t.

museum computer
Museum Computer” (CC BY 2.0) by Rd. Vortex

While just illustrating one small slice of the greater internet security landscape, online bingo points out some of the most major issues which occurred, and how they have been combatted. Sometimes, better security meant being demanding of browser standards, where other times it meant abandoning these systems entirely. Today, however, with systems as strict and advanced as they are, security and flexibility within browsers are the best they’ve ever been. Whatever might come next, if the past is any indication, bingo will reflect the best the web has to offer.

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How To Protect Your Love Relationships From Phone Hacking?

Want to learn how to protect your smartphone? The time of college is the time when you are exploring yourself and the people around you.

Want to know what to do if the phone is hacked? It is very hard to keep your personal information safe and hidden. There are intruders around you that can use this information for malicious purposes.

They can leak your pictures, personal documents, and other important stuff online. The worse situation will be blackmailing. In college, you meet new people and start new love relationships. So, it is very important to keep your phone safe from hacking.

You must learn how to protect your smartphone from hackers. Many software and apps can protect your data and alert you if someone tries to break into your smartphone.

You must always be alert. Having the smartphone hacked is a huge invasion of privacy and your personal space. You need to check if phone is hacked.

Being a student, it is very easy for you to stay updated with technologies. Many apps and software available that can protect your smartphone. You have the advantage over several others in the knowledge base. These software/apps will guide you on what to do if the phone is hacked.

We always have this fear that can my phone be hacked. Leaking personal details about romantic relationships might be a good one of the topics on love essays, but it’s better to look at the free sample essays then become a victim of hackers. There is a wealth of information on the topic of love in the public domain, including essays, research paper samples, and examples, etc. All of the data is free of cost.

Here are a few things when it comes to what to do if the phone is hacked.

a)    Lock your Smartphone

The first thing to do when learning how to secure a smartphone is to keep your smartphone locked. Most mobile devices are now providing more that one smartphone lock authentications. Make sure that your password is longer than 8-digits. It can be a mix of letters, numbers, alphabets, and special characters.

Such as a password is harder to break for a hacker. If you are not good at remembering pass codes, then you can always go for face lock, finger scanner, pattern locks as some of the fastest and easiest alternatives.

b)    Steer Clear of Public Wi-Fi

It is better to use mobile data rather than using the public internet. There is so much danger in using free internet provided in shopping malls, cafes, or other public places.

If you use public Wi-Fi, you are always going to be afraid that can your phone be hacked. Keep your Wi-Fi off at public places. If not, then use a VPN app that hides your IP address and keeps your data safe.

c)     Look out for Spam Emails

Sending spam emails with viruses is one of the easiest ways to hack into your smartphone or social media accounts. Do not click any email you found odd. False emails are designed for the sole purpose to trick you. Spam emails are one way of phone number hacks.

Once you click that email, you will give the hackers easy access to your data. So, the best thing is to avoid clicking on any promotional, odd emails with attachments.

d)    Don’t Leave Phone Unattended

You must never leave your smartphone out of your sight. There are advanced built-in security systems that can keep your mobile safe. You must keep the screen timing less. So, that if you ever leave your smartphone unattended, it gets locked. In this way, all of your data will be secure and safe.

e)    Keep Your Software Updated

Smartphone companies are always updating the software. They help in updating your smartphone security system and fixing all the bugs. Intruders will find it hard to break into an updated smartphone.

Security Apps

a)    Comodo Antivirus

It is a well-known security app for your smartphone. It helps in making you learn how to secure a smartphone. Both iOS and Android support it.

The app is rated 100% in protection and is better than other similar apps. There is a free version available, but it has limited features. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android.

With this app, you can check if phone is hacked.

Pros

  • Easy interface
  • Web filter keep browsing safe
  • App lock keeps sensitive data safe
  • Can locate the stolen phone

Cons

  • No background virus scanner
  • No camera trap and VPN features

b)    Norton Mobile Security

It is one of the best apps in smartphone security. The app is equipped with great features that detect bugs and show 100% success results. It is very easy to learn how to protect your smartphone. It is better than other average security apps available.

Pros

  • Block unknown calls
  • Safe browsing
  • Anti-theft
  • Malware scanning
  • Camera trap
  • Inspect apps

Cons

  • It drains the battery fast
  • The free version has few features

c)     Malwarebytes Security

The app comes with fewer features, but it always prioritizes doing one job at its best. It is an ad-free application which makes it exceptional. With this app, you don’t have to worry; can my phone be hacked.

Both iOS and Android support the app. It has a premium version that has a set of high-end features that helps a user in how to secure a smartphone.

Pros

  • Malware detection
  • Privacy survey
  • Scan apps
  • Check odd app activities
  • Safe browsing
  • Prevent false emails

Cons

  • Anti-virus engine has a 98.4% bug detection rate
  • It has no call block or app lock tools

Conclusion

The phone number of hacks are very common. It is essential to consider your smartphone security because most of our daily life depends on it. Suppose you do not want any intruder to disturb your personal space. With the help of those mentioned above, how to protect your smartphone has become an easy question.

Make sure to have one of the security apps mentioned apps in your device to check if phone is hacked.

Hopefully, we have answered your question of what to do if phone is hacked. Use the apps mentioned above and stay safe from phone number hacks!

Take all the safety precautions and be prepared before time!

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The Problem With Mobile Redirects

A mobile redirect is a code that causes a mobile visitor to be redirected to a page that is different in content from the page that is shown to users of desktop PCs and laptops.

Google’s view

Google several times noted that it will take serious action against webmasters who intentionally or accidentally put mobile redirects on their sites.

Google first explained its position on malicious redirects on mobile devices back in 2014, but now it announced even closer attention to this problem. Webmasters should be aware that the search engine is noticing more and more unwanted and misleading redirects.

Google’s Search Quality Improvement Team noted:

“Redirecting mobile users to improve their perception of information (for example, a redirect from site.com/link1 to the mobile version of m.site.com/link1) is most often useful for them. But the fraudulent substitution of one page for another with a completely different content negatively affects the quality of web surfing and goes against the principles of Google. ”

The situation is extremely unpleasant for the user. For example, when the same URL is found on mobile and desktop website versions, and it shows different content on a portable device and a PC (completely different, and often irrelevant content), a frustrated person leaves the page. In this situation, search quality drops, which is why Google struggles with such redirects quite hard.

Malicious redirects

Google knows and emphasizes that sometimes the redirect occurs against the will of the webmaster. Most often, this happens due to the presence of bad ads or a hacker attack.

Some advertising schemes that involve placing ad code on a website to monetize it, may contain redirects to completely different Internet resources. At the same time, the webmaster may not even know about it since he was not warned beforehand.

The site can also be attacked by hackers. In this case, mobile visitors are redirected to spam or phishing sites with domains created specifically for “mobile” traffic.

Here are several guidelines for detecting such cases of redirection:

  • At least several times a week, check that your site is displayed correctly on the screen of portable devices.
  • Pay attention to the comments of your site visitors.
  • Monitor statistics of user behavior, notice any changes.

Here’s one more note from Google about this issue:

“Redirecting a user to a page other than the one available to the crawler is a violation of the Webmaster Guidelines. To ensure the quality of its search results, the Google team takes action against violators, including excluding URLs with a mobile redirect from the search results.

When we notice a violation, we send a message to the site owner through the Search Console. Therefore, make sure your site is added to this service.

Be sure to choose legit and “transparent” ad networks for posting ads on your site. This will help you avoid redirecting smartphone users to other sites without your knowledge.”

True, “doorway” pages do not bring any value to the user, and therefore should not appear in the search results. Antivirus programs can easily detect malicious code, just like browsers with the Safe Browsing API. As a result, the flow of visitors to an infected website sometimes decreases several times.

It is strongly advised to abandon dubious mobile redirects and not participate in affiliate networks that offer monetization of mobile users this way.

The danger of a mobile redirect

For a webmaster, late detection of a malicious code becomes a big problem as a significant part of the traffic is wasted, a negative attitude of visitors grows, potential customers are often redirected to a competitor’s website. In big cities with a population of over one million, up to 80% of people cannot get to an infected site. In medium and small towns, the site loses up to 60% of potential customers. In addition, a malicious redirect causes bad indexing.

A lot of analysts note that in a year, 9 out of 10 of all devices connected to the Internet will be telephones. This means that the problem of mobile redirects will become colossal.

Unfortunately, the recommendations given by the employees of Google to the webmasters do not always help to solve the problem. Modern viruses use the IP addresses, screen resolution, and OS versions of smartphones to identify new website visitors. They react to repeated visits by launching the redirect. The user thinks that some kind of error has occurred and leaves the website.

The tricks used in the malicious code can also bypass the antivirus protection and hide the presence of the virus from the site owner for a long time.

In one of the studies, it was noted that Google detects malware only in 20% of the analyzed sites.

Meanwhile, viruses with redirects steal personal data of smartphone users, withdraw money from bank accounts, offer to download dubious applications, and redirect them to websites with obscene content. This can damage the reputation of the site owner, especially if the site belongs to a large company.

How to identify and eliminate a mobile redirect

Thorough monitoring and antivirus software do not always work effectively, so it is advisable to think about subscribing to specialized online services that check sites for various redirects around the clock.

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4 Best Places To Study Technology in America

Technology education has become extremely popular lately. Students choose IT because it is the earnings of the future. Students of prestigious US universities who graduated from programs in computer science, regardless of nationality, origin, whether they are citizens of the United States or foreigners, have long been working in large IT corporations such as Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and many other companies around the world. These people do not just keep up with the times, they are ahead of it, creating our future. If you are an IT-savvy person, you definitely don’t have to worry about your career. Thus, Computer Science or IT is one of the most extensive areas that can help a person realize their dreams. If you do not know where to go to study and which university is better to choose, this article will help you, in which we have made for you a selection of the best universities specializing in IT in the USA

How Is it to Study IT in the US?

Prestigious universities in the United States have high requirements for applicants, so you need to prepare for admission in advance, especially for foreign students. As a rule, after receiving a high school diploma, students spend one year on courses and tutors to prepare for admission to a foreign university. However, if you are not confident in your abilities, then you can turn to the WriteMyEssayOnline for help.

American universities provide an opportunity not to waste this year: foreign students undergo a specialized preparation for admission program, which is conducted on the basis of the university and lasts 2-3 semesters. As part of this course, students undergo academic training and improve their English. Training can be conducted either in an international group or with American students. They help students to integrate, provide moral support, and offer cultural and entertainment activities to get to know the university and the country. After that, you can continue your studies immediately in the second year of the bachelor’s degree in the chosen specialty

  1. University of Illinois at Chicago

The largest university in Chicago, the University of Illinois has graduated hundreds of thousands of graduates over the years, and many of them got jobs in corporations such as Boeing, Google, Caterpillar, and many others. At the moment, more than 30 thousand people study at the university, more than two thousand of them are foreigners. The strongest areas of the university are computer science and medicine. For students, an important plus will also be the fact that Chicago is one of the most developed cities in the United States, where a large number of different companies are located, so it will not be difficult to find a job in the city. It is also worth noting that the Univesity Of Illinois is engaged in education at all levels: from preparation for admission to a university to the presentation of a doctoral degree.

  1. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is located in Pennsylvania and is renowned for its extensive research in science, technology, innovation, IT, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Based on the College of Engineering and the Faculty of Electronics and Computer Engineering, the following study programs are offered here: IT and Mobile Systems (MSIT-MOB), IT and Information Security (MSIT-IS), IT, and Software Management (MSIT-SM). These programs are available at the master’s level and include an in-depth study of all aspects of the industry, graduating IT specialists fully prepared to work for the world’s best employers.

The educational process includes mastering theory on the main campus of the university and acquiring a unique professional experience at the Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley. MSIT-MOB students study the technical and business aspects of innovative mobile systems, applications, services, and devices.

The MSIT-IS program prepares students for work in the IT industry by combining IT education with education in effective information security development and management. MSIT-SM students are preparing for jobs in software engineering and project management. Thus, the university’s training courses cover the entire spectrum of disciplines related to IT and produce students fully prepared for professional activities.

  1. University of California (USA)

The UC Berkeley campus, opened in 1868, is renowned for its excellent faculty of technology. First-class laboratories and libraries have always been and are here. In 2013, the most popular areas for students were electronic engineering and computer science. The largest divisions of the faculty are mechanical, nuclear, and bioengineering. Berkeley is proud of its history – plutonium was discovered here in 1941, and the main development of the atomic bomb took place here.

  1. Florida International University

This state university offers almost 200 academic programs to 57 thousand of its students, of which 2 and a half thousand are foreign students, who are treated here with special attention. The university administration treats each area with due attention, and each student receives all the necessary knowledge. The university is relatively young, therefore, as befits young people, it spends all its strength, enthusiasm and freshness of views on providing the best education in many modern areas, including information technology and computer science.

Summing up

As already mentioned, IT technologies and computer technology are not the future, but the present. Education in this field, received in the United States, will allow the graduate to find a high-paying job in America or abroad and realize his potential. Therefore, do not waste time and apply to one of the universities on our list.

 

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Top Seven Skills Required For A Career In Cybersecurity

Advancement in technology has transformed the world on a massive scale, and the majority of the developed nations have become dependent on it. On the other hand, the extreme use of technology has created loopholes, and the security of your data or any organization’s information is prone to breach.

Technology is vulnerable, and electronic information is prone to hacks. It becomes essential for corporations and enterprises to keep their data secure and have a robust defense system against cybercrimes. Cybersecurity is the discipline that deals in protecting data on networks, computers, servers, and other electronic devices.

Governments, military services, and other enterprises keep the public’s information and other sensitive data on electronic devices. More often than not, they transfer these bits of information to other servers for different purposes, and the transmission of data often exposes it. Organizations with harmful intentions can access these pieces of data and use it to their benefit while harming people and companies.

Companies understand the importance of cybersecurity and are always on the lookout of competent employees having a degree and experience in this technological field. Today, cybersecurity has become one of the booming fields, and students are keen on learning skills required for it. The area is not all roses, but it certainly is a thrilling one. The prospect of safeguarding the organization’s digital information is exciting, but it needs some strong skillsets.

The following are a few skills that are a must for a career in cybersecurity: 

  1. Meticulousness

In simple words, you need to be extra vigilant to keep an eye on everything. Cybersecurity officers understand that nothing is insignificant, and even minute things need attention. You may need to learn more about security breaches to monitor cyber networks closely and pinpoint the loopholes at the initial stage. The ability to care for detail requires high concentration and a strong presence of mind. As a cyber-security officer, you might have to work under pressure while showing the utmost diligence. Cybersecurity officers cannot afford to be sloppy as their slight negligence can lead to severe consequences.

  1. Technical Skills

Cybersecurity is a technical field, and having a robust specialized skill set is crucial to serving in this department. Technicality is a vast subject and encompasses many subfields in it. For starters, you need to know about the administration and management of operating systems, visualization of software, applications, and networks. Moreover, programming languages, such as Java, scripting languages, and others, are essential. To survive in the technology-focused field of cybersecurity, you must be tech-savvy and know how to navigate digital channels.

  1. Ability To Do Extensive Research

As a cyber-security officer, you should have a sense of yearning for diving into researches. It would help if you were on board with the thought to continuous learning as technology continues to advance and bring about discoveries in the arena of technology. Some people have regarded curiosity as a sign of intelligence, and in the field of cyber-security, it could not be more authentic.

  1. Analytical Skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are crucial for a career in cyber-security. Diagnosing problems, pointing out the weak source, and devising out strategies to eliminate them is a critical part of the cybersecurity officer’s job. Issues in the technologically focused field require grit, forward-thinking, and creativity in an individual. Analytical skills help cybersecurity officers to identify complex affairs and equip them with the ability to write custom scripts covering a range of security alerts.

  1. Communication Skills

Experts have already predicted that communication skills are vital for progress in professional fields in today’s competitive world. Most cybersecurity officers do not work in groups and have to work independently, which requires them to communicate eloquently as slight miscommunication can drive an organization to severe losses. Besides verbal communication, they should know how to write precise information as an excess of data is also futile. Cybersecurity officers should have adequate technical knowledge so that they can comprehend and convey technological messages easily.

  1. Track Hacking Source

As a cyber-security officer, your first job is to safeguard the organization’s prestigious information, and efficient security officers consider these pieces of data as the holy grail. To protect the networks’ infrastructure, you should know how an enemy can exploit your information. You can give full-proof security by having comprehensive know-how of hacking, and thus, you can create a more reliable defense system.

  1. Administrative Skills

Cybersecurity professionals examine a company’s security setup from a universal view. They manage, organize, and coordinate technical assessments, including network vulnerability, web application, and wireless security assessments. Cybersecurity officers ensure the integrity of the security system and accomplish the task from beginning to end. In worst-case scenarios, if and when someone breaches the security, they need to explain the loopholes and suggest alternative solutions.

Conclusion

A cybersecurity system is like a fence, which is invisible and intangible. With advancements in technology, hackers are coming up with a unique and innovative way for hacking, which is why it has become crucial to have a reliable cybersecurity system. Cybersecurity officials need many skills, and while some abilities are natural, some you can learn through obtaining a degree in cybersecurity. Since cybersecurity is the fastest-growing field, and experts have predicted that it will see exponential growth in the future, it’s better to opt for it as a career.

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How to Prevent Hackers from Using Bad Bots To Exploit Your Website?

What Are Bad Bots?

A Bot, or internet bot, web bot, and www bot, among other similar terms, is technically a program or software that is designed to perform relatively simple tasks in an automated, repetitive way. A bot is initially designed to replace humans when performing an otherwise time-consuming or boring task.

For example, web scraping, the act of copy-pasting and saving various data and files on a website, obviously can be done by a human operator, but by using a web scraper bot, we achieve the same result in a much faster way. 

However, although bots can perform beneficial tasks, there are also bad bots that are designed to perform malicious tasks like illegally scraping unauthorized content, data thievery, and even launching a full-scale DDoS attack. 

Bad bots typically come as malware, and there are now billions of bad bots available on the internet. According to the latest data, bot activities drove almost 40% of the total internet traffic in 2018, and a lot of them are bad bots. 

Bad bot activities, at best, might slow down your website speed or launch relatively harmless spam attacks in your comment section. However, bad bots can also cause more severe cybersecurity threats like a full-scale DDoS attack or data breach.

Identifying and Monitoring Bad Bot Activities

The first and most important thing you can do about bad bot activities is to keep an eye on your website’s traffic and check whether there are any bot activities on your site. By properly identifying bot activities, we can devise a better plan to block their activities. 

Here are some basic but important ways you can identify the existence of bots on your site: 

 

  • Sign Up Authentication

 

If your website involves user accounts, a sign-up authentication via phone/SMS verification or email verification can prevent bots from registering accounts on your site, while at the same time allowing legitimate traffic to easily create an account and access your site.

 

  • Hide your site’s email address

 

Sophisticated spambots might exploit a tag that allows the bot to spam your site’s inbox, and typically this is due to a tag existing in your site’s contact form (or any other submission form on your website.) 

First, change your email address to something like “x[at]y[dot]z” instead of the usual x@y.z format. This is to prevent a spam bot from scanning your site for address. Also, choose a contact form that hides the email address that the submission goes to. If you are using a form builder, make sure the target email address is hidden in an external script. 

Implementing CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA is your site’s first layer of actual defense against bot activities, but it’s very important to note that CAPTCHAs alone are not enough to defend against today’s more sophisticated bots that can accurately mimic human behaviors. 

Nowadays, cybercriminals can also employ CAPTCHA farm services—a company/person who solves CAPTCHAs by distributing them to a pool of human workers—in combination with bot attacks. This practice will render CAPTCHAs practically useless. 

So, think of CAPTCHAs as a prerequisite defense measure rather than a one-size-fits-all answer. 

CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, and is a simple test to differentiate between humans and bots. Implementing CAPTCHAs is now easier than ever, and we can easily use Google’s reCAPTCHA (which is free and pretty reliable) for our site’s CAPTCHA’s needs. 

Also, although CAPTCHAs are designed to be easily solved by human users, it will still slow down your actual users’ activity and might hurt their experience. So, use them sparingly. A good practice is to only use CAPTCHAs when the user performed suspicious activities like failing logins a specific number of times. 

Another simple but effective practice is to implement CAPTCHA (or completely block) outdated browsers or user agent strings. In general, you should block browsers that are more than 3 years old and CAPTCHA those that are 2 years old or above. 

Other Protective Measures

Here are other cybersecurity measures that can be effective in preventing bad bots on your website:

 

  • Using robots. Txt. Configuring your robots.txt file in the website’s index can be effective in blocking bots. The robots.txt file essentially tells bots which pages that are allowed to be crawled by bots. However, robots.txt might not be enough to block sophisticated and aggressive bots but can be a decent safety measure for basic bots and overly-aggressive crawlers. 
  • Multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (or more commonly two-factor authentication) requires users to provide additional information besides their passwords, for example, a fingerprint/iris scan or a verification PIN. This can help in events when a bot cracks the actual credentials. 
  • WAF: Web-application Firewalls (WAFs) can now employ advanced methods to stop bot traffic even before any interaction with the site.

 

Advanced Bot Detection Measures

With how bad bots are becoming much more sophisticated and advanced at mimicking human behaviors, advanced detection are necessary mainly via A.I.-driven technologies which can perform the following advanced detection techniques: 

 

  • Behavioral detection

 

As the name suggests, this detection focuses on detecting and analyzing traffic behaviors to differentiate between human behaviors and bot behaviors. This includes detecting aspects like linear/non-linear mouse movements, typing habits, form submission speed, and so on. 

Today’s fourth-generation bots are really good at mimicking human behaviors, but advanced behavioral detection technology can detect the difference.

 

  • Fingerprinting

 

In fingerprinting-based detection, we aim to obtain as much information on the incoming traffic from basic information like IP address (although not very effective nowadays), devices used, browsers used, and so on. 

The common approach here is to check the presence of browser attributes added by modified browsers (headless browsers) like Nightmare, PhantomJS, Puppeteer, Selenium, and other headless browsers. 

Another approach is to check for consistency for repeated logins like browser consistency and OS consistency. 

End Words

Ideally, preventing the activities of bad bots should be automated as possible to ensure the earliest possible detection and avoiding false positives (mistakenly blocking legitimate human users as bots). 

With how there are so many bad bot activities and how bots have evolved to be much more sophisticated than ever, an advanced bot detection and protection software by DataDome is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to prevent various cybersecurity threats from data scraping to DDoS to full-blown data breaches. 

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