Ransomware Attacks Increase Even in the Time of Corona

Just when everybody thinks that the cases of online fraud and people being victimized of scams will be decreasing because people would have empathy towards each other amidst this global pandemic, we have been proved wrong. In the area of ransomware attacks, not only have the incidences increased even if everybody is encouraged to stay indoors, the average size of ransomware payments has been on the uptrend. The increase of ransomware payments is not only just incremental but quite significant. The average payment to ransomware attackers in the 2nd quarter of 2020 according to a report by Coveware, has increased by 60% from the first quarter of this year, which is now at US$170,000.  The trend, which has leaned towards increases, may be attributed to the various new options in tactics and the rise of new software. Ransomware attacks have become tailored to the targets, which thus have made them all the more dangerous and damaging.

Moreover, according to the Coveware report, a recent development in the second quarter of 2020 is the emergence of attackers who do not …

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How to Deal With Data Loss

When we talk about loss these days, we bet everybody has something to say. Some of us would volunteer that they have lost a lot of joy because they miss going out and seeing friends and family. Some would claim they miss the outdoors as they are just cooped up in their houses, not being allowed to explore anything beyond their doorstep and smell the fresh air and flowers.  Unfortunately, some of us would say they have lost acquaintances, friends, and family to COVID-19. And then, for some of us working at home, losing important data because of missing files and documents is one thing they have experienced and are now suffering from. Oh, what a tragedy! Losing important files could get anyone in trouble and for some of us, may cost us our jobs, which at this time is something nobody can afford to lose.

Losing files and documents can happen to even the best of us because of two reasons. One of the reasons important files may suddenly disappear is because our devices, whether a laptop or desktop, …

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Postpone, Cancel, Goodbye?

We are living in uncertain times, indeed. The coronavirus has put our lives on an indefinite pause as the plans that we have zealously tried to plot and implement at the start of the year has been out in the backburner or worse, turned into pipe dreams because the timing has suddenly become askew or finances have suddenly become scarce. It is not actually because people have become more fickle-minded, but even if we have the tools to execute a project, there is somewhat a more enticing proposition: To just curl in bed all day, Netflix and chill. There is just a compulsion in these uncertain times to also be uncertain and just let go – let the law of que sera, sera unfurl in your life. Is it really the best thing to be committed to something nowadays? The thing is, things are so uncertain that if we commit ourselves to something, there is a chance that the thing we have committed to will eventually not materialize because of circumstances beyond our control. So, we end up having this …

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Knowing Google Drive Inside Out

In our current situation, one of the most important things to master is putting files online. When most of us, if not everyone, is working from home and only armed with an Internet connection, it is inevitable that sharing of important files and documents is one skill that everybody should already be a master of. After all, hasn’t it been more than five months and running since the world started this anxiety-driven quarantine where everybody needs to practice a safe distance from everyone else? So by now, we would have already developed a deep appreciation towards devices and apps that allow working from home to be that easy and convenient. Who knew that such things like uploading, sharing, and downloading files would become second nature to us, as essential as knowing how to participate in a videoconference (something which we should be skilled with even outside work because Facetime-ing, Skype-ing, or Zoom-ing relatives from across the country and the world is such a welcome relief) or wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing when outdoors.

One of the most …

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Welcome Your Home Videos To The Digital Age

Now that most of us are still encouraged to stay home and not venture too much into the outside, disease-infested world, it is for sure that a lot of us have already rediscovered family memorabilia. If there is something that this pandemic has taught us, it is that family memories are truly invaluable. Births, family vacations, school programs, graduations, weddings, Thanksgivings, and Christmas can only be truly appreciated if they were captured in old photo albums and VHS tapes. And knowing how precious yet delicate they are, the thought of converting these photos and videos into digital formats has surely been considered. The good news is, for photos, the process of digitizing them is quite easy and straightforward. Turning old videos that have been stored in VHS tapes to digital may be a bit more challenging, although there are a number of ways to do it.

If you have old family videos in VHS, take note that the VHS format is temporary and has a tendency to degrade. After all, we may have experienced some videos getting erased as we …

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How to Maintain Your Sanity in Relation to the News

Because most of us have been stuck at home, we can’t help (or rather we don’t mind anymore) but be overly informed of everything. By the time we wake up, among the first things we do would be to grab our phones. Once we have successfully unlocked the screen, it is 100% sure that you get drowned with all the information you will encounter. You get updates on how many people in the US and every single country in the world have become positive of the COVID-19 virus, how many have recovered, and how many have perished. You then get told of what your friends are up to, how many plants they have decided to grow, how many of them have signed up for Black Lives Matter initiatives, and how many vacations and nights out have been hidden from you as people are finally posting throwback pictures in abandon.

So, while you read your news alerts and social media feeds, you get lost and fall into a rabbit hole of news and information and before you know it when you …

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What to Do With Google Play Music’s Departure

Not exactly sure if this is COVID19 related or not, but Google in the first week of August announced that it is in the process of closing its music platform, Google Play Music. Currently, Google Play Music users can stream music, as well as purchase full albums or single music files from the platform. Unfortunately, this will not be the case anyway as Google has rolled out a schedule for the impending closure of its music platform. In the last weeks of August, the Music Manager function of Google Play Music will not allow users to buy, pre-order, upload, or download music from Google Play Music anymore.  Then, by October, the Google Play Music app will be rendered useless already as users cannot stream music from the app anymore. By the end of that month, Google will cancel subscriptions at the end of their subscribers’ billing cycles, so they should have already migrated their Google Play Music library to a YouTube Music account or use a Google Takeout account to successfully migrate files. What will only be allowed until December …

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Be a Netflix Master!

If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has made us do, that is it has further indulged us in our obsession with that one app that has helped us in maintaining our sanity in these troubled times – the all-powerful and absolutely entertaining… Netflix! The pandemic may have shrunk our world as most of us experienced being on lockdown at any point in the past three months, but thanks to Netflix, it didn’t feel like we’ve not “seen” the outside world as the streaming app exposed us to so many TV shows and movies not only from Hollywood but from all corners of the world. Admit it, you grieved as Nairobi met her untimely death in her team’s second grand robbery outing in Money Heist. Of course, who wouldn’t want to consider staying in the spectacular Hotel del Luna even if we are pretty much alive? Moreover, what made Netflix tick to most users is that when a Netflix Original program premieres, all the episodes are already available on the same day. Honestly, who can say no to a Netflix marathon? …

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The Search for the Best Earbuds

The earbuds market somehow exponentially boomed at around 2019. While it used to be a joke when earbuds were introduced (remember the Saturday Night Live sketch about earbuds getting lost every time iPhone users dances, requiring them to keep on buying new pairs), but now it seems that those fears of earbuds popping out of restless users have been assuaged because the devices have been more popular than ever. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, which only helped in making earbuds more of a need than just a marketing ploy of some gadget manufacturers. Without cords and wires to disinfect every time you use them outdoors, the convenience and practicality these earbuds provide have indeed become more pronounced.

As the quality of these earbuds, particularly in relaying sound, improve through time, we consumers are spoiled for choices on what to buy. That being said, there is currently not one single set of earbuds that is perfect for all types of users. Those with iPhones and other Apple devices may of course prefer AirProds, while proud Samsung or other Android phone owners …

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What a Waste – Our World’s Problem With Electronic Waste

We are living in a materialistic world. We consume so much tech so it’s only natural for companies to produce much as well to keep up with the demand. Thus, it is no wonder that laptops, air conditioners, television sets, headphones, microwaves, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets have ended up as electronic waste, which the world has also been producing at astounding levels. In fact, a 2019 report states that humanity has generated record numbers of e-waste, and as with its non-electronic counterparts, increased wastes will always present a new challenge.  have been

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor, a United Nations University, International Telecommunication Union, and International Solid Waste Association effort, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was produced in 2019, which is higher compared to 2014 levels (when the first report was published) by 9.2 million metric tons. Out of this, only 17% of the total has been recycled.

Things have gone better, but still not good enough

Actually, things have improved with the world’s increased efforts in recycling. Whereas during the 1990s and early 200s, people were …

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We Got It on Tape – Tape Drives Plod Ahead

Millennials may relate to this piece of news as the nostalgia of their childhood, and Generation Z’s may not relate at all, but tape storage is set to come in capacities of 400 TB. Yes, dear Gen X and baby boomer reader, I am talking about similar technology that brought us such technological advancements as the cassette tape (Remember where we used to listen to our jams to? Mixed tapes for road trips and the format for our boomboxes and Walkmans before the CD rendered them obsolete?) and the VHS (home videos galore before they became “digital”). Apparently, data storage geeks have not given up on that technology and have continuously developed them throughout the years and now, it seems that it will outpace the progress done on the “traditional” hard drives we currently enjoy. How’s that for a “revenge of the throwback nerds”?

But before you, movie pirate, data fiend, or storage junkie, rejoice, hold your horses for a bit. The current batch of tape drives, the ones that have the capacity to contain mind-boggling amounts of data is …

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Is Social Media a Boon or Bane in This Woke World?

Perhaps the biggest contribution of Generation Z in the world of technology is social media. From the current landscape of social networking, it seems that millennials have passed the throne of power, influence, and sheer number of users among all social media platforms to the younger generation. So much so that when the older generations, particularly the Baby Boomers dare ask the young set what their contributions to society are, the young ones would just reply, “OK Boomer” and employer their arsenal of hashtags and followers to prove that what they are busy on the World Wide Web with is providing a huge contribution to contemporary society.

But has social media, used by Gen Z’s and run by Gen Xers and millennials, really made a remarkable difference in the way we live today? With so many movements and happenings in the world right now, can the younger generations rightfully claim that social media platforms have brought in more good in the world by shining a light on these various issues and challenges? Has social media itself been behaving properly?

Is

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Is It China Versus the World?

This article is in no way trying to promote hate or xenophobia, but when we are to ask which country the world hates on so much the most these days, it has got to be China. For one, the country is believed to be the birthplace of the Wuhan virus, which has since the start of the year infected thousands (if not millions already) of people throughout the world, brought the world economy to a freefall, and is set to change the way everyone in the world lives day to day. The pandemic happened in the middle of a trade war between the United States and China, which has since then been aggravated with the turn of events. Finally, if all of those things are not enough, China has not stopped in pursuing some aggressive actions in its territories and borders, with military clashes between the Chinese and Indian militaries in their shared borders in late June, as well as the Chinese government taking on a firmer stance in Hong Kong.

In the world of technology where China has become …

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Hooray to The New PlayStation and News That’s Not COVID-19 Related

Everything from March up to now in the world of news is about COVID. Yes, even in our world of technology and how-tos, everything is still connected to this virus that has dramatically changed our lives.  It is for sure that people have already been suffering from COVID-19 news fatigue that we long for any news item that does not involve getting sick, viruses, hospital, hand washing, and face masks. Seriously, as much as we all want to be free from this, just thinking about it day in day out and not seeing anything but news about COVID-19 has surely taken a toll on our mental health. Surely, there must be something that we can all look forward to aside from assurances that things will be getting better because that is still connected to the pandemic.

The people at Sony have read our minds and delivered us from the coronavirus insanity.

How, of course, by giving us what we badly need and deserve – news about PlayStation 5. The most well-loved product from the Japanese manufacturer since the Walkman and …

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Where Do Broken iDevices (and Their Owners) Go?

As someone who owns gadgets, this COVID-19 pandemic sure is a pain in the neck. While you can still get updates on software in the comforts of your home, everything else makes you want to return to the time before March when life was simpler, you can go out of your house, and have gadget stores take your money without you thinking twice. Now, you are left with online shopping to satiate your gadget desires. What if you want to feel the latest gadget in your hands, caress through its curves and know how light it is on the top of your palm? Worse, what will you do when, after turning on your MacBook, you are faced with the blue screen of death? Grab your face mask and drive to the nearest Apple Store? Right, chances are the nearest Apple Store is closed, and you are left with your scary laptop, waxing nostalgic about how everyone had it good just months ago, and singing Madonna’s This Used to Be My Playground (or Closing Time by Semisonic for millennials).

So, how …

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Siri, Help Me!

For a while, voice assistants (not virtual assistants, or actual human beings who are based somewhere in the world and do secretarial jobs) are the toast of the town, romanticized, and a sign of promising times ahead. With movies like Spike Jonze’s Her (remember the movie where Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with Scarlett Johansson’s voice), people were getting so excited about making this technology a part of their everyday lives (perhaps some of us also thought we could be experience love with a voice assistant as well?). But then, there was the backlash of these assistants being dumb as rocks, when all it came down was the technology hasn’t advanced that much to the point that it can decipher requests from all accents.

But that didn’t deter all gadget firms from developing voice technology and integrating them into their gadgets. Fast forward to 2020, we have Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and other voice assistants experiencing a new wave of popularity. Then, COVID-19 happened. Just when we thought that voice assistants have finally arrived, now they are proving to be indispensable.  …

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Lessons From Celebrating a Holiday in a Lockdown

So, how was your 4th of July? Did you celebrate our nation’s independence day with such fun and revelry as you used to. I bet $100 you did not. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. July 4, 2020 will be marked in history as an Independence Day that Americans celebrated indoors. Did that sound sad? Yes, it is. For sure, so many of us had to content themselves with scaled-down celebrations that pale in comparison with past celebrations. Well, July 4th came and went and I am sure so many of us have regrets on how we celebrated Independence Day.

But then, there might still be some more holidays to come with everyone still in the comforts of their home while the threat of coronavirus still rages outdoors. Let’s not hope for that to happen, but if projections are correct, we will still have the pandemic until the vaccines go into production until September, which means we will most certainly spend Labor Day in the pandemic period.  So, with that in mind, let us remember the lessons we learned …

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Sharing Documents in the Time of Remote Working

As every working person has been adjusting to the new reality of everyone in quarantine due to the COVID19 virus, working from home has changed from being an exception to becoming the norm.  There are those of us who have done years in the office, reporting five to six days a week, who are so used to printing documents or manage important data through filing cabinets and in and out trays and thus will have to struggle a bit with dealing with data and information. With this new norm, we may need to embrace email and messaging document hacks.  Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too long ago when you had to adjust to document and email management hacks in the office, so you should also be on your way to adapting to your own best practices in managing documents. Who knows, you’ll get your own system up and running efficiently soon, if you haven’t already.

Adapting to email and IM attachments

Since you are now working remotely, you do not have the luxury of printing important documents or storing them …

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A Changed World After the COVID19 Crisis

The entire world is currently in the throes of the COVID19 pandemic, affecting all facets of our lives. Governments of various countries have imposed lockdowns that have affected companies and office workers, making them miss their offices more. Financial institutions have concluded that the world economy will be on its worst depression since the Second World War. So many people are still being tested positive of the virus, and there seems to be no end in sight as the possibilities for a cure and a vaccine are still months, if not years away.

But then, the government can only hold their lockdowns as long as they can. China has already lifted its lockdown on Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter and origin of the virus, while reporting that its national economy will be contracting for the first time since the 1980s. Other “early adapter” countries like Japan and South Korea still demand their people to maintaining social distancing and prohibit public assemblies but have already allowed people to go back to work. This the question among people is, what will …

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Want to Be Effective While Working Remotely?

Working With the world population at an estimated 7.9 billion, close to 5 billion people have to work or study from home. With these figures, you would think that the world economy, as a result, would collapse, and rightfully so. Numerous economic analysts are in fact in agreement that we are heading into one of the worst economic contractions in human history, only comparable to the Great Depression in the 1920s and the aftermath of World War II – unless we adapt to this situation.

And adapt most of us have, as working from home has been the saving grace of so many businesses, not to mention entire economies from a total shutdown. Moreover, if done right, working from home cannot just save companies, but allow them to profit. With operating expenses lessened because offices and shops are closed, companies can actually make themselves fiscally strong. Thus, with remote work looking like it’s going to be the norm, how can we maximize it to make it work for our companies? What are the best practices in remote work that will …

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Is Zoom Helping or Destroying Your Remote Work Efforts?

With most of the employed world currently now working at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, apps and programs that make remote work easier have become household names. One such program is Zoom, a platform that facilitates video conferencing. However, with the rise of its popularity, many concerns about its security have also emerged. In just the past month since state and national governments started imposing lockdowns, the number of Zoom downloads has increased by more than 500%. High-profile personalities such as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been known to use the platform as they are on quarantine to attend video conferences.

However, many sectors have also expressed concern regarding its use, with online security experts questioning its security features and doubting the safety of users’ data in the platform. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, has already demanded the company to inform the public of measures it had taken for security concerns to be addressed and whether the sudden ballooning of its users is something the company can cope with. Zoom announced then that all its …

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Working From Home Done Right

Right now, it is estimated that four billion people are working from home because of the lockdowns governments all over the world have imposed on their citizens in reaction to the accelerated spread of the COVID19 virus. Since we’re all already reporting to work from the comforts of our homes and trying our best (hopefully) to be our most productive, we may need all the help we can get to do it right. We are in this together and we are not sure of when this lockdown will be over, so might as well make sure our remote work experience is maximized.

So, how do we make the most of remote work to improve our experience, let our companies enjoy the fruits of our efforts, and make the world economy suffer a little less? Here are some ways to make remote work a win-win situation for everyone.

 

Out with voice, in with video

If there’s anything that remote work has removed, the first thing that would come to mind would be face-to-face meetings among colleagues and clients. With the …

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Handle Your Documents Like a Pro While Working at Home

So, weeks into your lockdowns wherever you are in the world, (1) you must already have gotten in the grove of remote working and effectively working at home and (2) you miss working from the office, with all its perks and quirks such as nosy and noisy officemates, free instant coffee, and your important printed documents so much. To have the best of both worlds in terms of having an easy time with work, you need to accept the advantages that remote working presents through technology, where document management and workflow implements may be made available. Here are some great practices that will allow you and your team to develop systems to process your documents over email and messaging. Don’t worry, these are easy and quick to implement, so you shouldn’t have such a hard time.

 

Do other things with documents

A key to seamless and more effective management of documents when everyone is doing remote work is allowing people not just to have copies of their documents but also to do other things. One, there should be an …

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Are You Ready for a Post-COVID19 World?

As in the course of human history, the COVID19 pandemic is bound to end. Some scientists and mathematicians opine that things will return to normal after six months, while some analysts have adapted a more pessimistic view, saying things will not normalize until a cure or a vaccine for the virus is discovered and made public.  Thus, when this turmoil will end, we do not yet know. But as an adage goes, nothing lasts forever and thus, the pandemic will end.

So, while we know that currently, what we will have to do is to stay at home, not get sick and flatten the curve, what do you think the world will be like once the crisis is over? The events as they unfold currently have already changed the way we live, so the post-COVID19 world should be very interesting. What could possibly change and what never be the same again because of this virus that people easily dismissed as just another passing disease months ago?

 

Automation and remote will be the norms

Businesses will be under pressure to …

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Welcome to the Era of Video Conferencing

Most, if not all of us are confined at home, no thanks to this coronavirus crisis we are facing. But then, even if we are undergoing this extremely traumatic experience in fighting an unseen enemy, there’s still work to be done. While it used to be that we need to schedule conference rooms and book restaurants to meet with our teammates and clients, we now need to make sure we have somewhere to accept meetings from our “home offices” – whether it be in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, or for those with foresight, their home offices. Attending meetings is such a big part of working and whether you are working in the office or in the comforts of home, you need to know how to successfully hold them. With your laptop, videoconferencing platform, and agenda in tow, what else do you prepare as you embark on your journey to becoming a remote working video conferencing pro?

 

Look the part

The way you look in your videoconference doesn’t just matter to the attendees of your meeting, but …

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