Instagram is Testing New Feature That Can Help Users Combat Hackers Stealing Accounts

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Instagram is working on putting user account security at a high priority by making it more difficult for hackers to steal accounts to hold them hostage for ransom or sell for high profit.  

Hackers are after big influencer accounts in a scheme reported by Motherboard which involves cybercriminals targeting big name Instagrammers. The attack works through an email link that – once clicked – directs users towards a fake Instagram login page. Once a hacker steals the login credentials and has access to the account, victims are unable to sign-back in or regain access to their own profiles, as hackers change both the recovery email address and phone numbers associated with the account.

Instagram had previously acknowledged the problem of users having difficulty in accessing their accounts, to which the company had advised in setting up two-factor authentication as well as implementation of stronger passwords, but adding these extra steps of security doesn’t exactly help when a cybercriminal has already accessed an account. Phishing links have been used as a primary means of tricking influencers into signing into bogus login pages made to look authentic. Furthermore, if an influencer has used the same account credentials that were previously involved in a data breach elsewhere, cybercriminals can use this information to their advantage to gain access to an account

After users have long complained about Instagram’s lack of responsibility and initiative in taking care of the hacker issue, the company recently announced new ways of combating this ransom tactic.

If a user can’t log in to his/her page, Instagram gives one the option of sending a six-digit authentication code to the account’s original phone number or email address that was used when the account was first created. Any other devices used by hackers that are logged in will be logged out, allowing a user to recover their page by resetting their email and password. This feature is currently under testing. 

Image Source: Instagram

 

Instagram has also promised to bring another feature – one already available for Android users – to iOS. The feature allows a user to change their Instagram handle while also allowing one to maintain their previous handle for 14 days. This upcoming update is meant to deter any hackers from taking popular usernames to sell for profit. After the 14 day period is over, the username becomes available for anyone to use.

Overnight Phone Charges Could Be Harmful for Your Device’s Longevity

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Charging our phones overnight is a lot more harmful than we thought. It could actually shorten the lifespan of your phone instead of extending it or helping it. Most phones nowadays have a system in place that stops your phone from overcharging. Many smartphones do not stay at one hundred percent for too long.

Leaving your phone charging after it has hit 100% could impact your phone negatively. Business Insider’s Antonio Villas-Boas stated, “As a lithium-ion battery ages, the chemistry within changes and becomes less efficient at storing and delivering power to your device.” As batteries age and since we use our phones daily, their batteries begin to decay due to these reasons.

Phone companies don’t see overcharging your phone as an issue. Apple talks about their lithium-ion batteries in their iPhones, but has never really mentioned overcharging effects on its devices. Google claimed that overcharging is a dated issue. Since technologies are constantly updated, overcharging should not be an issue since their phone’s battery stops charging when it hits 100%.

Phone makers claim that phone’s battery should not be at 100% when you plan on not using them and store them away. If you plan on not using your phone for a while, it is recommended to store your phone away at 30% to 50% because that is when it ages the slowest. Samsung and Apple both stated to keep your phone around 50% for such purposes.

If you’ve been noticing your phone’s battery life deteriorating much quicker than its aging, it’s a good idea to set aside those overnight charges. Accumulated damage from such charges may cause shorter battery life span on a phone you plan to keep for a while. However, it does not matter how careful you are with your phone charger, it will deteriorate overtime regardless. Many phone makers now give you the option to replace your battery for a small price.

Father’s Day Tech Gift Guide 2019

Finding the perfect gift for Dad this Father’s Day doesn’t have to be a challenge. Our 2019 Father’s Day Tech Gift Guide can help you make the right gift choice he’ll surely appreciate! We’ve compiled a list of tech tools from headphones to smart gadgets Dad will love to use at home or on-the-go!

Check out these cool tech products below! Each product has been linked to make ordering Dad’s gift a breeze. 

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ANKER PowerWave Wireless Charger

Price: $22.79

Does Dad need a power up for his phone? Why not get him the ANKER Wireless Charger stand? With this gift, he can recharge his phone while making sure his phone screen is in clear sight so he’s not missing a message from you.

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DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone

Price: $335.00

Who wouldn’t want to fly a drone? This cool DJI Spark Portable mini drone will allow Dad to take aerial photos and videos and get creative using the products app!

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Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Price: $498.00

Want to help Dad capture memorable moments? Get him the Sony Alpha Mirrorless Digital Camera to take photos in high resolution and full HD quality.

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Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

Price: $298.00

Set aside the Beats and get Dad these Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones to make sure he doesn’t miss one one beat of his favorite music. These headphones are said to have a “virtually soundproof experience”.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Price: $299.94

Want to get Dad something smaller but just as powerful for listening quality? Check out these Sennheiser Wireless earbuds that promise exceptional clarity in music sound.

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VANKYO Leisure 3 Mini Projector

Price: $89.99

If Dad loves to watch is movies, this Vankyo Mini Projector is the right gift for him. This Father’s Day relax with Dad outdoors or indoors by easily connecting your device to this projector to play all his favorite films.

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Fitbit Ionic Watch

Price: $199.95

If Dad loves to get fit and keep track of it, get him the Fitbit Ionic Watch! The Fitbit Ionic can track your heart rate, activity, and sleep patterns.

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Pocketalk Language Translator Device

Price: $299.00

Does Dad do a lot of travelling? The Pocketalk can help him break down the language barrier. This onscreen device can translate up to 74 languages and offers real-time translation.

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Logitech Keys-to-Go Ultra-Portable, Stand-Alone Keyboard

Price: $45.99

This keyboard is perfect if Dad needs to do a quick type-up with any of his iOS devices. This Bluetooth keyboard is both dirt resistant and portable.

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Echo Show 5 – Compact Smart Display with Alexa

Price: $89.99

If Dad needs a screen assistant, why not get him the Echo Show 5? This device comes with smart home controls, can help Dad stay updated on the latest weather, news, and game reports, and video call you when he can.

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Eufy Smart Scale

Price: $44.99

This scale does more than just measure weight – it can give Dad a full insight on his BMI, Muscle Mass, Bone Mass, and more! He can even keep track of things using Apple Health, Google Fit, or his Fitbit.

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Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, 64GB)

Price: $749

Help Dad get creative with the latest iPad Pro from Apple. With complete Liquid Retina display and a device that allows for multitasking, Dad can get all his work done and still have time to catch the game with you.

5 Ways to Help Improve Your Mac’s Performance

 

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Overtime, the chances your Apple Mac computer is running slow is very high. This tends to happen overtime with Mac computers due to multiple reasons, one of which could be information overload. Here are five possible reasons and ways you can improve your computer’s speed.

  • Not updating often

If you don’t update your computer for a long period of time, then your computer might get slower. By clicking on the App Store application and checking for updates once or twice a week, you can help improve your computer’s speed.

  • Full hard-drive

Another reason your computer could be running slow is if your hard-drive is nearly full. Using too much storage slows down a Mac computer and could also cause other issues as well. To help prevent this, you could click on the About the Mac that is an option when clicking on the Apple icon on the top left corner. Then, click on Storage. If you notice your hard-drive is nearly full, then click on Manage and it will help you clear out space by giving you the tools and information on you which applications take up the most room on your disk. Another solution would be using an external hard drive.

  • Mac has not been restarted in a while

We tend to leave our Macs on with multiple tabs open and we don’t turn them off for a long time. Restarting your computer will help with this, but don’t forget to save everything. You can give your computer restart by clicking the Restart under the Apple icon on the top left corner.

  • Multiple apps open at once

Having too many apps open and using them all at once could be one of the reasons your computer is slowing down. To close unnecessary apps, just right click on the icon on the bottom of the screen and click Quit. You could also use your Mac’s Activity Monitor, which will let you know what’s using the most memory. However, if you are unsure of what some of the tools/applications in there are, then you should probably leave it alone.

  • Overloaded cache

Having your cache pile up could also slow down your Mac. Even if it gives you faster internet, it begins to gather files and slows down your computer completely. To help clear your cache, here is an article on it.

If none of these work for you, then you might need to take it to Apple’s Genius Bar or have a professional look at it. There are many reasons as to why your Mac will slow down. It could even be just from age.

iOS 13 Features iPhone Users Can Look Forward To

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This year’s WWDC Conference showcased Apple’s newest features for the upcoming iOS 13 update set for release this Fall. A bunch of new tools are on the way, including a dark mode, swipe-able keyboard for easy texting, photos application redesign and plenty more.

Here are some updates all iPhone users can look forward to with the new iOS 13 software:

DARK MODE

One exciting feature – dark mode for iPhone – will allow users to switch to a visually appealing dark aesthetic that’ll be great for using your phone during nighttime. Dark mode appears to be implemented across the entire iOS system as demonstrated in apps such as music, photos, maps, and calendar.

Image Source: Apple.com

SWIPE-TO-TEXT KEYBOARD

iPhone users are well aware that swiping for text writing was essentially nonexistent…until now. Apple unveiled the swipe-able keyboard, calling it “QuickPath Typing”, which is said to work just as well as regular keyboard tapping. The QuickPath typing feature also comes with spelling suggestions as well.

Image Source: Apple.com

PHOTOS AND CAMERA APPLICATIONS

Apple’s iOS update also brings new features of photo editing to its photos application, allowing iPhone users to change light intensity in portrait lighting, for example. Other editing features include vignette, vibrance, and noise reduction. Users can also change video orientation if a video was shot incorrectly.

Photos will also organize your images in a more easy-to-find design: by sorting photos by year, month, and date. As you scroll through your photos, live photo captures and videos also play.

FIND MY

Apple has combined two of its applications – Find My Friends and Find My Phone – into its new application named Find My. If a user loses his/her offline device, a secure Bluetooth beacon may be used to locate a missing or stolen phone.

SIGN IN WITH APPLE

Apple is adding a privacy feature – Sign-in with Apple – for apps that ask you to log in using an account. The purpose of this feature is to block any third party applications from accessing or tracking user data. Authentication of user credentials during app logins will be done through Face ID check through using Sign-in with Apple. Users also have the option of hiding their email address and instead using Apple’s randomly generated email that will forward information to your actual email address, thereby limiting any application’s access to your real email.

Apple also added a feature to block location tracking via WiFi and Bluetooth.

SIRI VOICE UPDATE

The newest iOS promises a more natural sounding Siri voice assistant, as Apple has used AI to smooth out Siri’s voice responses with less speech gaps.

To view more iOS 13 features, check out Apple’s iOS 13 preview page here.

Google has Come Out with a New Site Feature that Makes Traveling Easier

Google has come out with a new landing page called “Trips”, which has all of the necessities to help you plan your next getaway. It consists of the app, Google Trips, as well as Google Flights, Google Hotels, and a few more. This makes it easier for the user to plan one trip using all of Google’s provided travel-related products starting from finding a destination to vacation packages and travel guides.

Even if you don’t use the tools Google provides, you can still sketch out your itinerary, see the weather reports, confirmation codes, and so much more for your trip on the “Trips” site. “Trips” has been spread out within Google’s products (i.e. Maps, Flights, Hotels, etc.). For instance, when you make reservations, the reservation will pop up on Google Maps, showing your reservation confirmation on the page.

When planning your vacation using the “Trips” site, you also get access to Google Maps’ Explore tool, allowing you to track flight prices by using Google search. According to Google, this will soon apply to hotels as well.

Google stated that the “Trips” site will be available to use through Google Maps soon. “Trips” is now live, but Google has not stated how it will impact the mobile app and their TripIt competitor for showing itineraries.  

Amazon’s New Drone Delivery Service is Currently in Progress

Amazon’s dream of having a “high-speed drone delivery” is finally happening thanks to the UK government aviation administration, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA announced they will launch an “Innovation Sandbox”, which is where a number of companies will talk amongst themselves to test out concepts, and Amazon just happens to be a participant.

The testing will soon be done in a physical space. However, they will first start in a virtual space. The CAA is taking leadership of this project in testing the products to make sure the drones are safe. This delivery service would give customers their packages in at least 30 minutes.

Back in 2013, Jeff Bezos – Amazon’s CEO – stated in an interview conducted by “60 Minutes” that by 2018, there will be fully functional drones. While late in the expected release time, the drone delivery testing is currently in progress.

Mary Hanbury from Business Insider stated how, “It has been discreetly testing in UK sites since 2016, and in July 2017, it filed a patent that showed it was working on a way for drones to capture data by scanning people’s homes. Meanwhile, one Amazon’s main tech rivals, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), recently secured approval to roll out one of the world’s first drone delivery services in Australia.

Boost Mobile Customer Accounts Breached by Hackers

Sprint’s mobile network Boost Mobile recently admitted to hackers having breached their customers’ accounts through their main website. The data breach originally occurred back in March and was only recently announced.

A website notification was posted to which the company stated that their site “experienced unauthorized online account activity [and that] an unauthorized person accessed [user] account[s] through [their] Boost phone number and Boost.com PIN code.” The company’s fraud team noted how the incident was quickly taken care of through “a permanent solution [that was used] to prevent similar unauthorized account activity.”

According to TechCrunch’s communication with a Sprint spokesperson, Boost Mobile had encrypted any social security or credit card information, leaving such sensitive data uncompromised in the data breach.

Due to the breach affecting a large consumer base of over 500 people, the company had to notify the California attorney general through written notice.

Through access to Boost Mobile’s user account names and PINs, hackers can utilize a type of cyberattack known as credential stuffing to automate and send login requests on the Boost Mobile site to access consumer accounts. The company has already sent a text with a new temporary PIN to those affected by the breach. Users can log into their accounts with the link provided in the text message in order to set a new PIN code. Boost Mobile recommends users reset their PINs if they have not done so already.

In the meantime, the company has also recommended that customers regularly check their Boost Mobile accounts for any fraudulent activity and to report any identity theft or fraud to consumer credit reporting companies.

FBI Takes Down Dark Web Site Deep Dot Web

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The FBI has recently seized a dark web site and marketplace, Deep Dot Web, and has arrested several suspects thought to have connections to the site’s marketplace. The agency posted their notice on the website, revealing their warrant for the domain seizure.

Authorities arrested two individuals in Israel as well as others in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The administrator of the site was taken into custody in Brazil. Those arrested in Israel were accused of helping facilitate weapon purchases and drug distributions via Deepdotweb dark site referrals as reported by The Times of Israel.

Admins of the website made millions from referring other users to purchasing illegal items on other sites.

This website take down comes after the Wall Street Market – another large scale dark web marketplace – was shut down by authorities in the U.S. and Germany. The marketplace was said to harbor illegal drugs and weapons as well as stolen user credentials.

New and Exciting Updates to Google Lens That Will Help on Your Next Outing

On Tuesday, May 7th, during a Google I/O event, Google revealed that they will be updating their Lens technology. This new update to the Lens technology will use artificial intelligence, which would give you the ability to actually “see” what you see when looking through the app on your phone.

One such update that Google revealed was adapted towards people who enjoy the experience of eating at restaurants. Users will have the ability to point their phone’s camera at the bill in a restaurant, and the update will be able to determine how much to split with friends and how much to leave as a tip. This update was said to be released later this month and would help out with any difficulties that might come along with a dining experience.

Some other updates that the Lens will have are:

  • People will be able to point their phones at a text in foreign language and the Lens will be able to translate it and read it out loud in whichever language they choose.
  • Users will be able to point their phone camera at a restaurant menu and the update will let the user know which dishes are popular. In addition, if you tap on the highlighted dish, it will show pictures of that particular dish that others have tried.
  • People will have the ability to learn how to prepare a dish. If you were to point the camera at a recipe, it will show a video of how the food is prepared.