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Tips for Cell Phone Security When Traveling

06 Feb

When I’m travelling I am always looking at ways to improve my experience. Because I work online quite a bit I need to make sure I have a few systems in place to allow for any eventualities. I need to be able to work, at least a little, whenever I’m travelling.

It may be just to be able to check e-mails but sometimes I need to be able to access different accounts and even my websites. Experience has taught me that things can and often do go wrong and I need to have the tools to be able to react.

When I travel I rely heavily on my cellphone. Unless it is a long journey, I don’t bring a laptop and my phone becomes my workstation – and mini computer. I have web access with my phone enabling me to access bank accounts, websites, e-mails – everything I need to work in an emergency. My phone contains everything, not just contact numbers but all of my work-related passwords and login details.spy phone spy software

The thought of losing my phone is bad enough but with so much information stored on it, the thought of it falling into the wrong hands is even worse. So many of us have banking access and other personal stuff stored on cellphones that if a clever thief gets hold of this it could be devastating.

Over the years I have used different ways to increase my cellphone security and followed most of the common advice such as using password locks, strong secure passwords and even tried a few password lock apps. All can help a little.

I also make sure that important files are backed up to the cloud but I felt I needed more in terms of security. Then I read about some software programs which allow me to take things a step further.

Using Spy Phone Software for Security?

Bear with me a moment as these benefits are not immediately obvious. I started researching about some of the features of cell phone spy software and found a great resource at SpyzRus.com. Spy software can have many different uses and this website gives some great independent advice as well as some very interesting reviews of the top software products. They also have a full phone spy software guide with a section dedicated to cellphone security features.

These spy programs are normally used to monitor other peoples cellphones – mainly aimed at kids phones and employee monitoring. These are the legal uses at least! They have loads of different features aimed at monitoring all aspects of phone use including texts, call logs, e-mail, browsing history and much more. They also have some really interesting security features which caught my attention.

With the software installed on my own phone there are a few security functions which will work for my needs and can be controlled remotely by accessing an online dashboard. This allows me to control certain things if the phone is lost or stolen – and I don’t need access to the phone. By sending a message from the online control panel I can:

  • Lock the phone – and stop anyone using it
  • Wipe the phone data – all of it, keeping it safe from prying eyes!
  • Track the phone – GPRS tracking features allow me to see a map of where the phone is – very accurately.

As I said the monitoring features are not really for me. These security features are all I’m interested in.

Now with the software installed on my phone I know that all of my data is secure and I know that I can delete all of the sensitive data remotely. If my phone is lost or stolen, at least I know I can stop anyone from accessing my important information.

I hope I never need it but we all know how much pain is caused by losing your phone. It provides some great peace of mind to know that the worst-case scenario I am protected more than most. It is definitely an alternative way to use cell phone monitoring software but one which many others should be considering.

If like me, you have some really sensitive data stored on your phone, security needs to be a high priority.

Using Multiple Antivirus Programs Can Harm Your Computer

13 Nov

Running one antivirus program at a time is important, as running them all simultaneously can cause problems. However, you should have more than one program at your disposal. Some programs can catch stuff that others will not. So how can you use more than one?

Using multiple programs is easy. Just have one antivirus as your main protection and scan with another program on occasion to see if they spot anything. A suspicious file can be scanned with multiple programs via a website, so that’s a plus.

With that said, how come you can’t run multiple programs at once?

Why You Shouldn’t Run Multiple Antiviruses

The design of an antivirus tends to be for an all-in-one security measure for your computer. They’ll run in the background an always be on the lookout for anything suspicious to make sure a threat doesn’t enter your computer.

But multiple programs aren’t meant to be running together. They go deep into your OS, and could cause slowdown at best, crashing at worst. So never run multiple programs at the same time, as that will cause some damage to your performance to say the least.multiple antivirus security

So How Do You Scan it?

As we said before, no antivirus is infallible. One program may miss something, while another can catch it. To get the best protection on your computer, you need to scan your computer every now and then with another antivirus while leaving your main one running in the background.

The secondary program won’t run in the background, but instead scan your PC once and give you another opinion. Scanning your computer with secondary programs weekly is a good idea, and when you scan them, disable real-time protection to avoid slowdown.

Also, don’t leave it running in the background. An antivirus will call this feature by many names, such as background protection, resident shield, on-access scanning, and more.

So what secondary programs should you choose?

A Few Good Secondary Antiviruses

ESET Online Scanner: This is an online scanner that’s fast and one-time. Most online scanners don’t give you the option to remove malware, but this one does, making it perfect.

Malwarebytes (Free): The paid version allows it to run in the background, but the free version is a manual scan, which is what you need the program for. MWB is  a great malware detector, so check it out.

Also, your secondary program shouldn’t be that minimalistic. Bitdefender QuickScan gives you a scan that’s a bit too fast, and won’t find all the malware. These programs also don’t remove the malware. They’re usually cash grabs, telling you that you must pay to delete the malware.

Just remember that these programs are not foolproof – other threats can still harm you. The rise of cell phone and computer monitoring software is a classic example – they are not usually picked up by virus software and can lead to data breaches. Know your enemy and learn about these programs.

Scanning a Suspicious File

So you have a file that your main antivirus says is suspicious, but the person who gave you the file says it’s safe. False positives do happen with antiviruses, so you should scan the file with multiple programs in order to get more opinions.

Of course, downloading a bunch of programs takes a lot of time and processing power. When you do need to scan multiple files, go to VirusTotal, a site that’s owned by Google itself. They’ll allow you to upload files and websites up to 32MB, and a whopping 46 programs will all scan it. Finally, you’ll see a report and determine once and for all if the file is malicious.

VirusTotal is the best way to determine if a file is malicious or not, but it’s not perfect. Some files can be cleaned by multiple programs but still be malicious, and vice versa. However, these are rare cases, and VirusTotal is still necessary if you’re not sure if a file is clean or not.

Overall, it’s important to have more than one virus scanner at your disposal. By doing this, you’ll be ensuring that your computer is protected to the max.

Maximize Your Public Computer Security in Five Easy Steps!

05 May

A computer is no longer a luxury. Odds are, you have your own personal computer, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or a good old desktop. Even then, from time to time you may have to use computers that are public. Whether it’s for work or school, you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you and as such the risks multiply.

We all know the dangers of public Wi-Fi, but computers may be even more dangerous. If you have to use a system that the public can see, you need to take some precautions in order to get the most security.

Do Not Save Login Information

We all know that browsers and websites allow you to stay signed in even after you close your browser. It public computer safetymakes it easy, and if you have a personal computer, it’s okay to use. But if you’re on someone else’s computer, it’s common sense that you should make sure you’re logged out of everything before you stop using it.

If you’re logged into a site, manually log out. Do not think that the browser will do it for you. Do not keep your email and password saved, either. Even if it’s not for long, it can cause some woes if someone manages to find it.

If you accidentally do save your information, clear it as soon as you can. This brings us to the next step:

Clean Your History

We all know that your browsing history can reveal a lot about you, so obviously you don’t want that lying around when you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you. Clear all your browsing history when you’re finished, and do not leave any traces behind. Kill the cache, filled forms, and cookies. This will restart it all, and no one will be able to find your email or passwords.

A better way to browse that doesn’t require all this deleting is to simply use incognito mode. Your browser should have one, and it allows you to browser privately and log in a site using multiple accounts.

It does not save anything, and it allows you to be safe.

Others Can Spy on Your Actions

Here’s a common sense rule that you need to apply. If you’re using a computer that hasn’t been customized by you, you need to assume that someone’s always watching. Don’t use PayPal or your bank accounts, and try avoiding passwords.

The public computer may have a Keylogger on it, which is a malicious program that records all your keystrokes and then sends them to a third party.

Is the device being monitored by spy software apps? Check out Reflex Software Guides here to find out just how intrusive apps such as FlexiSpy and mSpy are – and how easy they are to download and install.

They can be avoided, but on a public computer this is a fruitless effort. Instead, you need to make sure that you don’t post anything too personal. Things can wait until you’re on a private computer.

Look at Other Ways to Boot

The public computer you use probably runs Windows, so unless their BIOS is locked down, you can boot another OS on the computer, such as Linux. Carrying around your own OS to use on any computer is great, not only for familiarity, but for security, and you can bypass malware designed for Windows. Of course, the Internet may not be secure, so it isn’t foolproof. Just make sure that your USB is good to boot from.

Remember That Others Are Watching

If you’re using a public computer, you need to use your noggin. Odds are, there are lots of people around you, and it’s not smart to leave your computer open and walk away, since someone can grab it when you’re not looking.

In addition, you should make sure you know what you’re opening beforehand. If you open up an important document, make sure no one’s looking. And it would be embarrassing to open up an X-rated website in a public library. Using tools such as VariablySFW can help you look at websites before you open them to make sure that they’re appropriate for your setting.

Overall

Just remember, you cannot tell how safe a computer that’s not yours is. Most likely, it’s safe, but there’s always that chance that it has a horrifying virus that can steal all your personal info. But if you take these precautions before you use them, you’ll probably be fine. Also, make sure that your own computer is secure. Private computers can be tampered too!

3 Awesome Time-Saving Tips for Windows

23 Apr

Given the popularity of Windows, in all of its incarnations, there is a reasonable number of people who consider themselves experts on the OS. While that may be true, there are always some hidden features, small tweaks, tips and tricks that slip through the cracks. I’ll do my best to avoid the most obvious ones, and present some which you might not have been aware of, even if you consider yourself a Windows experts. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Windows Mobility Center

When I found about this little gem, I was over the moon. If you prefer laptops over desktops, this shortcut is the best thing since sliced bread. The combination of Windows and X buttons opens up the Windows Mobility Center. The window wasn’t something I have seen before, but it combined so many familiar and useful features into a single window for easy access. The features you will find there include your battery status, and choice of battery profile, your wireless connection status, which you can turn on and off, the brightness of the screen, and volume. If you use an external display, or hold presentations, you can access those settings, too.windows_tips_98

Windows Mobility Center doesn’t offer much else, but it doesn’t need too, because it does what it needs to do, and that’s to provide you with lightning-quick access to some of the basic settings with the use of a single shortcut. Otherwise, you would have to rummage through several different menus in order access each of them. Short and sweet, Windows Mobility Center is one of my favorite hidden Windows features. I have to point out that this only works on Windows Vista and 7. On Windows 8, Win-X combo gives a list of shortcut which you can use to access similar Windows features.

Capturing and Managing Screenshots

Capturing a screenshot on your Windows PC has always been a pain in the butt in my opinion. You would have to press the PrtScr button on your keyboard, and then go and paste the image for the clipboard into Photoshop, or Paint, and then save it. There has been some improvement, with the appearance of Snipping Tool on Windows 7, and starting with Windows 8, you can even do a little bit more. Instead of pressing PrtSc like you usually would, press Win-PrtSc. Not only will it take a screenshot, but it will save the captured image to your Pictures folder.

Right-click the File to Send It Anywhere

For those of you who still choose to stick with an offline email client, you can easily send your files to someone else, without having to scavenge for the exact folder they’re located in through your email client. Right-click on the file, then go to Send to, after which you will be presented with a number of options, like emailing the file, sending it to your USB drive, or to a different directory on your computer. In case you want more options, hold down the Shift key while you right-click the file. You can send the file to Dropbox, Skype, and even more directories on your computer.

I have an article about using Antivirus software – think about the time and anguish you’ll save yourself if you take my advice. That’s another time saver for you!

Top 3 Photoshop Alternatives

23 Apr

Adobe Photoshop has become synonymous with image editing so much, it has become a verb. Honestly, how many times a day do you hear the words that something has been photoshopped? In an era of selfies and celebrities which are only known for being celebrities, a few times too many. But, regardless of that, Photoshop is the premiere tool if you are a photographer, illustrator, or if you simply like to manipulate digital images. The list of things it can do is extremely impressive, but we’ve decided to take a look at some of its alternatives, and see what they have to offer.

GIMP

The most well-known alternative to Photoshop is GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The best thing about it is that it comes as freeware, but with some Photoshop-grade editing capabilities. Of course, Photoshop still has the edge, but GIMP is not far behind in terms of what it can do. It may have a feature or two less than PS, but it’s far from being a speck in its rearview mirror.photoshop_alternative_11

For those who are considering using GIMP for website photos, but are somewhat concerned if they are going to be able to wrap their heads around, don’t worry, because GIMP is not that difficult. Most of the things you do in PS, like filtering, masking, image stitching, using various brushes, you will be able to do here, as well. GIMP is available on all three major OS platforms: OS X, Windows and Linux distributions.

Pixlr

Pixlr is an image-editing software that is perfect for this day and age where everything that used to be on your desktop is migrating online. People rely more and more on cloud storage, instead of buying hard drives, or optical discs. Pixlr adopts the same approach, offering considerable image-editing power, without the need to install it. You just access it via your browser for free.

Photoshop users will feel right at home with it, because its interface borrows a lot from it. You can either point to the image on your computer, or online, and apply some of the most common tools, like dodging, burning, clone stamping, as well as various brushes and effects. As far as online-based image editors go, this one is the best.

Paint.NET

For those who prefer the familiarity of Paint, but would like more features and tools, Paint.NET is a dream come true. In terms of features, it is not up there with GIMP or Photoshop, but it doesn’t need to be, since its purpose is different. Still, it does let you work with some advanced stuff, like layers, and you can expand its functionality with plug-ins, and support for more file types. On top of it all, it is probably the most user-friendly image-editing application you can come across.

Try some of these out yourself and have some fun.

Useful Skype Tips and Tricks

23 Apr

While Skype may seem dead-simple to use, which it is, if you bother to take a look underneath its hood, you will find that it can do some advanced stuff you might not have expected from it. The thing about Skype is that these extra features are usually very well hidden and it takes some digging if you want to be able to use them. In order to save you hours of research on the subject, we have compiled a short list of hidden Skype features which allow you to make the most out of this powerful piece of software.

Use Text-Based Commands in Skype

Long before the days of Skype, IRC was the bomb, and the number one option for people to chat with one another. If you were an IRC user, you may remember that a lot of the actions had to be carried out via text commands. You can also do this on Skype, in a very similar way.skype_hints_33 For example, if you would like to add another one of your contacts to the chat, type in /add to invite them. You can also type in /topic to set up a topic, /set password to set up a password-protected chat room, /setrole to assign permissions to chatters, /kick to kick a user from the chat room, and /kickban to ban them from joining the chat again.

Send Files to Multiple Users

If you are chatting with two or more people at the same time, and you want to send a file to each of them, you don’t have to send it to each user individually. Instead, simply drag the file in the chat room window, and each contact present in the chat room will receive a copy of the file. This will save you a lot time, plus you don’t have to rely of email, Dropbox or other means of file sharing. Another way of going about it would be creating a group which has those selected contacts in it, and sending the file to that particular group of contacts.

Customize Notifications

Skype allows for some flexibility when it comes to notifications you receive. If you don’t like receiving a notification for pretty much anything, or if you would like to choose which notifications you would like to receive, you can do that by customizing your notifications. Simply go to Tools > Options > Notifications and click on Notification settings, and check the notifications you would like to receive.

Call Recording

Although Skype doesn’t have the ability to record calls, you can use a third-party program to do that for you. This can come in handy when discussing a business deal to make sure that all sides adhere to the agreement. You can record for personal reasons, as well, but we are not going to get into that one. MP3 Skype Recorder would be our recorder of choice for recording Skype calls.