By Bradley Coulter / Cyber Security / 0 Comments

What will life after passwords look like? For many companies, the goal is for the authentication of customer and employee identities to be nearly invisible, taking only a second as a shopper logs into the website, or running in the background as office staff do their work. To achieve that, and be able to accurately verify that employees and customers are who they say they are, companies are embracing …
The Wall Street Journal

By Bradley Coulter / Android TV Box / 0 Comments
end of kodi

The more people that join the Kodi third party add-ons chat on social media the more things get blown out of proportion. Member numbers on some of the social media groups are at an all time high which leads to the panic and fear that the days of Kodi and getting all your TV and movies for free is over, but what did you expect from people that have never seen this happen before? For those like myself that have been engaged in the Kodi platform and all that, it can do will know that this is not new territory, that we have been here before and that eventually, the storm passes. There is no need for panic, these things do and will continue to happen just like they have in the past.

What has happened?

Dish TV is attempting to sue TVAddons and Zem TV for using/reproducing their content. The fallout of this lawsuit is that a number of the Kodi Addon creators have hung up their keyboards only this time...they mean it. Or do they? Of course, they don't mean it. These people are normal people and the only thing they have in their lives to make them feel significant or important is add-on development. They aren't walking away from that. What you will find happening is they will take a short break and return under a new identity ready to push out a new product. Even if they don't there are new developers ready to fill the voids. This is the cat and mouse game of piracy that has been running for years. It's like whack a mole, they hit one mole and another one pops up somewhere else.

So here is where we are!

Covenant = Exodus  

The Exodus add-on is no longer being maintained by the developers. The developers of Exodus have just released the Covenant add-on. It looks and functions exactly like Exodus.

We highly recommend opening BUILDS AND UPDATES and doing a Fresh Install (Fresh Install will delete all of your favorites, Addons you have added, Real Debrid and BoomBoom TV username and password. This will remove the Exodus add-on and replace it with the Covenant add-on.

You are free to not install this update and to continue to use Exodus. However, over the next few weeks, it will get less and less sources and will eventually die. We highly recommend jumping on board with Covenant instead of sticking to a dying add-on.

IMPORTANT - Covenant was released less than 12 hours ago. It has a minor bug where it will crash Kodi the first time it is searching for sources for links. After this initial crash, it will work perfectly fine. The developers are aware of this and are going to push an update to fix this issue.

You are able to install Real Debrid exactly the same way you did in Exodus.

 

 

kd player

The end of Kodi the start of KDPlayer v5

While everyone is running around flapping about the end of Kodi we are quietly getting on with Version 5 of our KDPlayer.

This upgrade of our software is the biggest project we will have undertaken to date. The main objective is as always to provide the user with all the streaming content and android goodies all in one easy to navigate place but the backend support system will also be massively improved with added options and features that will allow us to react quicker to changes in the market.

We won't be going in to too much detail in this post about the interface and everything that it can do but what we will be giving away some of the secrets we have been keeping from you.

The end of Kodi

I just want to quickly touch in this subject before we dive in with the KDPlayer v5 news.
This is not the end of Kodi and third party addons. Sure, a few have hung up their developers hats but make no mistake this is not the end. New addons are born, they age and then they disappear. That is the nature of Kodi and third party addons. It happens all the time.

Dish TV network has flexed their muscles and some developers have run for the hills. I promise you this, once the developer gets to hills he will assume a new identity and jump in the first taxi back to where they came from. All this will do is strengthen the Kodi addon developers. They take the lessons and they learn from them. They will come back stronger and better than ever because nothing unites people better than a common enemy. At the moment the end of Kodi is nothing more than click bait to get you to visit some google advert and some poor content.

Just in case there are any uncertain times within the Kodi community in v5 we have removed the need to rely on Kodi for streaming services. There is always more than one way to skin a cat.

What's new in v5 for the users?

Pretty much everything. The user interface, or UI, has been totally re designed and has been ascetically enhanced. We have followed the lead of 2 of the most popular launchers in regards to layout and delivering the content.

The same options will be available, apps, Kodi Builds, gaming, BoomBoom TV but the content will be displayed better and there will be way more of it. The gaming section has been totally redesigned and will be almost complete with thousands of ROM's to load for your favorite consoles from yesteryear. 

 What's new in v5 

This is where the work is really going in to the software. A whole new interface with way more features.

I know what you're thinking, "Something new to have to learn" yes, but it will be worth while. 

Push notifications not just to all users but individual devices too. Need to get in touch with us? you can message us directly and we can message you back.

Universal RSS feeds for the builds. We will be able to have custom messages and have it passed in to any build that the user downloads. 

Better settings options, rather than just linking to the Android Settings, which universally was very good, we will be linking to sections of the settings in Androids. Direct links to connection settings, display settings, app settings and all the common items that a user would need to access.

That's everything we can tell you so far....

There is so much more we could tell you now but we don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. We have always kept the bulk of our work secret up until the time of release. At this stage we are on target for a beta release towards the end of the month, final release early August.

Thanks for reading, next time we post we will be including some screen shots for you to consume.

PS - it's not the end of Kodi 🙂

Stay Calm and Stream On!

Upgrade your Android TV Box

In the beginning, most guys that were selling boxes would use an install wizard to install add ons directly on your box. The problem is that each box had to be serviced individually ever time an add-on closed it's doors which happens often. 

 

Our new software KDPLAYER v4

Last year we developed our own software that allows us to push updates to all of our boxes across the internet. That in conjunction with your ability to reinstall your builds from our new interface solve 99% of our support issues. If your home screen does not look like the home screen to the left then you need to bring your box into one of our stores to be upgraded. If you are a current customer the upgrade is $25. If you have a box or a firestick that needs to be upgraded and you did not buy it from us the cost of the software update is $75.

By Bradley Coulter / Android TV Box / 0 Comments

Covenant = Exodus

The Exodus add-on is no longer being maintained by the developers. The developers of Exodus have just released the Covenant add-on. It looks and functions exactly like Exodus.

We highly recommend opening the BUILDS and UPDATES app and doing the update (Update will delete all of your favorites, Add-ons you have added, Real Debrid and BOOMBOOM TV login information.) This will remove the Exodus add-on and replace it on your home screen with the Covenant add-on.

You are free to not install this update and to continue to use Exodus. However over the next few weeks it will get less and less sources and will eventually die. We highly recommend jumping on board with Covenant instead of sticking to a dying add-on.

IMPORTANT – Covenant was released less than 24 hours ago. It has a minor bug where it will crash Kodi the first time it is searching for sources for links. After this initial crash it will work perfectly fine. The developers are aware of this and are going to push an update to fix this issue.

You are able to install Real Debrid exactly the same way you did in Exodus.

By Bradley Coulter / Cyber Security / 0 Comments

WannaCry Ransomware hits 99 Countries exploiting leaked NSA Tool

It has been an unanticipated day for millions of users across the globe as a massive ransomware targeted 99 countries, small and large companies including healthcare hospitals and telecom companies.

A relatively unusual kind of ransomware cyber-attack has taken the world by storm, causing calamities in National Health Service hospitals and businesses around the UK, and advancing to telecommunications in Spain, where it shambled the largest telecom company Telefonica, along with Telenor in Hungary.

What is WannaCry Ransomware?

It's a dangerous ransomware which encrypts each and every file and folder on your computer and makes them inaccessible to you. To decrypt the files and folders, WannaCry Hackers are demanding $300 worth of Bitcoins.

It's a ransomware which completely encrypts your data. To decrypt the data encrypted, WannaCry Hackers are demanding $300 value of Bitcoin.

Wanna Cryptor, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry or Wcry has infected thousands of computers worldwide, causing millions of dollars of damage. Kaspersky Lab said more than 90 countries had been affected so far and there seems to be no stop to the ransomware.

The enormous malware that engulfed Europe, Asia and other parts of the world appears to be spreading at a faster rate than anticipated by security experts. Cyber security experts have long warned regarding a ransomware attack, and it appears that their worst fears have now taken full effect.

“The spread is immense,” says Adam Kujawa, the director of malware intelligence at Malwarebytes, which discovered the original version of WannaCry. “I’ve never seen anything before like this. This is nuts.”

Ransomware cyber-attacks dominated the cyber threat landscape in 2016, costing businesses more than $1 Billion worldwide. The ones most affected by this crime are small and medium sized businesses who pay the highest price as they don’t possess the means to obscure themselves against such a massive ransomware cyber-attack.

Should I be concerned if I am a victim?

There’s nothing you can do once you’re infected by the ransomware as it encrypts any and all files on your computer completely unless you meet the demands upon which the hackers will decrypt the data once they receive funds from you. But, if you have a backup of the files you should be able to restore them after cleaning the computer.

Related Read: How to Protect Yourself from Wanna Cry Ransomware?

What should you do if you're a business:

Businesses suffer a lot due to a ransomware attack. Your data such as financial reports, cash flows, user base, client details amongst numerous others gets lost. That very data can be sold to your competitors so they get an upper edge over you.

What should you do if you're an individual:

If you're an individual and your data in the folders has been encrypted, there's a high chance that your information such as pictures, videos, documents, financial statements, bank details, social account passwords amongst others are completely lost.

That very information can be used to blackmail you or be sold to the highest bidder. One should always be careful of the intricate details they save on their devices as you never know when they might get used against you.

Should I give money to Wana Decrypt0r 2.0 to decrypt my file?

Undeniably, the most simple, fast and reliable method to recover any files that have been encrypted by the Wana decrypt0r 2.0 ransomware is to restore them from any possible backup taken before the ransomware took place.

To answer the question whether you should pay, let’s be clear first: WannaCry hackers are criminals that you’re coming to face with, so there’s no guarantee as to what might fall through when you do make any payment. It just might be equal to simply throwing your hard-earned money away. Or it might work out in your favor where you do recover your files.

Only you can decide whether or not to pay criminals the ransom. We recommend, Don’t Do It. Making any payments to WannaCry ransomware only reassures their criminal enterprise’ agenda, and puts millions of people and businesses at risk of finding their files encrypted by the ransomware as WannaCry certainly won’t be catering to each payment received.

As an alternative, pick up from the harsh experience. Most importantly, start off by backing up your data so that this never has to happen to you ever again!

How Does WanaCrypt0r 2.0 work?

What’s sad is that the ransomware did not spread due to people clicking on bad links. Nonetheless, the only way to prevent this attack was to have your system updated with the latest update.

With the help of EternalBlue exploit, the malware installed the NSA backdoor payload called DoublePulsar, and through it went WannaCry, dispersing swiftly and automatically to other computers on the same network – hundreds at one single time.

The infectious WanaCrypt0r 2.0 malware is notable for multi-lingual ransom demands which support more than two-dozen languages. That begs the question, how does one protect themselves against this ransomware?

What actually went down?

Here’s what happened: Attackers installed a virus targeting Microsoft servers running the file sharing protocol Server Message Block (SMB). Only servers that weren’t updated after March 14th, 2017 with the MS17-010 patch were affected; this patch resolved an exploit known as EternalBlue, once a closely guarded secret of the National Security Agent, which was leaked last month by Shadow Brokers.

Is NSA tied into this attack?

The incredibly dangerous new kind of self-replicating ransomware is known to be a National Security Agency exploit that was publicly released last month by the shadowy group calling themselves Shadow Brokers.

Analysis of the WannaCry Ransomware attack

Currently, at least 50,000 attacks of the WannaCry ransomware have taken in 90+ countries around the world, especially in Russia, Spain, and the UK.

WannaCry Ransomware

The following is the message that appears when your files have been encrypted by Wana Decrypt0r 2.0.

WannaCry Ransomware

In terms of targeted files, the ransomware encrypts files with the following extensions:

.der, .pfx, .key, .crt, .csr, .p12, .pem, .odt, .ott, .sxw, .stw, .uot, .3ds, .max, .3dm, .ods, .ots, .sxc, .stc, .dif, .slk, .wb2, .odp, .otp, .sxd, .std, .uop, .odg, .otg, .sxm, .mml, .lay, .lay6, .asc, .sqlite3, .sqlitedb, .sql, .accdb, .mdb, .dbf, .odb, .frm, .myd, .myi, .ibd, .mdf, .ldf, .sln, .suo, .cpp, .pas, .asm, .cmd, .bat, .ps1, .vbs, .dip, .dch, .sch, .brd, .jsp, .php, .asp, .java, .jar, .class, .mp3, .wav, .swf, .fla, .wmv, .mpg, .vob, .mpeg, .asf, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .3gp, .mkv, .3g2, .flv, .wma, .mid, .m3u, .m4u, .djvu, .svg, .psd, .nef, .tiff, .tif, .cgm, .raw, .gif, .png, .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .vcd, .iso, .backup, .zip, .rar, .tgz, .tar, .bak, .tbk, .bz2, .PAQ, .ARC, .aes, .gpg, .vmx, .vmdk, .vdi, .sldm, .sldx, .sti, .sxi, .602, .hwp, .snt, .onetoc2, .dwg, .pdf, .wk1, .wks, .123, .rtf, .csv, .txt, .vsdx, .vsd, .edb, .eml, .msg, .ost, .pst, .potm, .potx, .ppam, .ppsx, .ppsm, .pps, .pot, .pptm, .pptx, .ppt, .xltm, .xltx, .xlc, .xlm, .xlt, .xlw, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xls, .dotx, .dotm, .dot, .docm, .docb, .docx, .doc

The file extensions that the malware is targeting contain certain clusters of formats including:

  1. Commonly used office file extensions (.ppt, .doc, .docx, .xlsx, .sxi).
  2. Less common and nation-specific office formats (.sxw, .odt, .hwp).
  3. Archives, media files (.zip, .rar, .tar, .bz2, .mp4, .mkv)
  4. Emails and email databases (.eml, .msg, .ost, .pst, .edb).
  5. Database files (.sql, .accdb, .mdb, .dbf, .odb, .myd).
  6. Developers’ sourcecode and project files (.php, .java, .cpp, .pas, .asm).
  7. Encryption keys and certificates (.key, .pfx, .pem, .p12, .csr, .gpg, .aes).
  8. Graphic designers, artists and photographers files (.vsd, .odg, .raw, .nef, .svg, .psd).
  9. Virtual machine files (.vmx, .vmdk, .vdi).

How long will WannaCry attack last?

Typically, ransomware often has a short life. However, in the case of WannaCry ransomware, nothing can be certain as it keeps on spreading unless you update your system. Moreover, as anti-viruses and VPN understand new versions of the malware, they can prevent infections from initiating and dispersing to various parts of the world.

By Bradley Coulter / Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Fraudulent callers are posing as Microsoft, HP, Windows, IRS, xfinity, Verizon representatives and asking customers for personally identifiable information. In some cases, originating phone numbers appear to be from genuine vendor contact numbers.

These scam callers might request the following:

  • Your personal information
  • A return call
  • A fee for technical support services
  • Remote access to your computer or device, so they can install malware or viruses in order to charge you a removal fee

To protect yourself if you receive one of these scam calls, hang up and do not provide any personally identifiable information.

  • Do not provide any confidential information, such as customer IDs, passwords, contact information, social security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, PINs, or account information.
  • Do not provide remote access to your computer or device.
  • Do not transfer funds.
  • Do not rely on caller ID to authenticate the caller, as criminals can change how caller IDs display.
  • Do not install any software suggested by the caller.

The security of UR Gadget Doctors customers’ devices and personal information is a top priority for us. The above listed companies do not contact customers to provide unsolicited technical support. If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer and are concerned about your personal information, run a virus scan on your computer or device, or contact UR Gadget Doctors for assistance.

Scams
By Bradley Coulter / Cyber Security / 0 Comments
the twelve scams of christmas

Cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to scam or infect new users. When most of us are busy finishing off our last minute Christmas shopping and planning how to get from one dinner to the next, malware developers and scammers are taking advantage of our distracted minds. The holiday season offers many ways to package classic scam techniques with pretty bows so appealing that we can’t help but open that email, click that deal or purchase discounted vouchers for the relatives who seem to already have everything.

Don’t worry. UR Gadget Doctors has your back. Here are the 12 scams to look out for this Christmas:

scam1Romance brings vulnerable hearts to scammers

Feeling isolated this Christmas? For many people Christmas is not about family and love, but a lonely night without company. Scammers count on this. Online romance scams happen all year round but are particularly popular around Christmas when lonely hearts are at their most vulnerable.  Amy* saw the holidays ahead and after two lonely years since the death of her husband, signed up for an online dating service. Her contact with Duane was intense and constant, exchanging calls and texts all day every day until he was due to arrive at her home. His money was tied up, he said, and needed to borrow some money to release some parts he needed to finish the project he was working on in Malaysia. Amy sent him $8,000. He was due to fly home, having even sent her a copy of his itinerary but he was held up at customs, he told her, and would need to borrow some money to bribe the guards. She sent a further $10,000.  Long term relationships are cultivated online by scammers who, once they have gained the trust and love of a victim, will begin to slowly ask for money in smaller amounts until, such as in Amy’s case, sums can run up to $100,000 or more before scammers disappear.  Actual figures are hard to find but the 1,165 members on romancescams.org who were willing to disclose the amount of money they had lost reported a total combined loss of $14.1 million – more than $12,000 apiece, on average.

scam2Dodgy travel deals steal credit card information

Planning a vacation this holiday season? There is no getting around the fact that Christmas travel is expensive. If you find a deal that seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Be mindful of travel deals that pop-up through advertising. NEVER purchase travel from an email leading you to a third party site. Beware of fake travel websites that imply relationships with major airlines that do not actually exist. Stop and think before entering credit card details. Use Google Earth and Street View to check on the location of hotels to ensure they actually exist and TripAdvisor to check reviews of airlines, travel websites and hotels before booking. 

scam3Gift cards offer fake cashback rewards

Looking for freebies online? Who doesn’t love a bargain! But, beware of emails offering free Christmas gift cards. scam-detector.com reports:

“Scammers send mass-emails, request recipients to participate in a survey, and promise a gift card in return. The crooks pose as retail chains or fast food restaurants and use the real logos to make it seem legitimate. The latest names used are Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s, Kohl’s, Costco, McDonald’s and Amazon.”

Once you have completed the survey you will see a list of what you have won. All you need to do is enter your credit card details to pay the $1 processing fee and your prizes are yours. Instead, your credit card is emptied while you wait.

Image: scam-detector.com

Image: scam-detector.com

Also on Facebook, fake pages pretending to be affiliated with major brands ask you to like their page and complete surveys to receive cash or free gift cards. As soon as they have your details, your inbox will be flooded with marketing materials, junk and who knows what else.

scam4Gooligan spreads through new Androids

Kids getting a new phone for Christmas? As new phones are unwrapped around the world, app downloads skyrocket offering ideal conditions for malware injection through third-party app sites. Gooligan reached epidemic levels recently, downloading malware to increase advertising revenue for hackers. Always download apps through Google Play or the Apple App Store as they have built-in measures for weeding out malware. 

scam5Fake shopping sites inject malware

Looking for cheap gift ideas online? Malware injecting sites disguised as discounted designer wear and fragrance sales regularly snag shoppers and as the Christmas gift-buying frenzy forces us to rush, it is easy to become complacent online. Beware of any sites that lead you to third party sites for purchases. Do not buy from ad pop-ups.  

scam6Charity phishing scams ask for donations

Want to give something back this year? Every year, reputable charities make calls for their annual Christmas appeals. But beware of calls from fake charities or people pretending to be from legitimate charities. Much like the tech support scam going around, a person calls your phone pretending to be from Red Cross or Save the Children and asks for donations for their Annual Christmas Appeal. If you are unsure if this is a legitimate call, simply hang up and call the Red Cross directly, make your contribution in person or on your chosen charity’s website. 

scam7Bogus delivery failed emails contain malicious links

Expecting a package? Fake emails saying that your package was unable to be delivered will direct you to fake links that once open inject malware. These emails may pretend to be from FedEx, UPS or any other legitimate courier service, or, may list no business. This is one of the most common ways of spreading malware currently. If you are expecting a parcel, contact the sender directly with questions. Do not open these emails. 

scam8Fake eCards spread malware

Spreading a little Christmas cheer this year? What easier way to spread the holiday spirit than with a funny eCard by email to all of your contacts? eCards are a cheap and entertaining way to stay in touch, but be careful if you receive one. Fake eCards ask you to open a link to see your eCard on a separate page and can lead you to malware-injecting sites. If an eCard is legitimate it will say the name and email address of the sender. Use caution before opening. 

scam9Fake bank emails ask for sensitive information

Did you receive an email from your bank offering you Christmas rewards with a link to follow? Please note: Your bank will never email you asking you for your internet banking password, credit card details or lead you to another site to login to internet banking.

I repeat.

Your bank will never email you asking you for your internet banking password, credit card details or lead you to another site to login to internet banking. If you have received an email such as this, contact your bank immediately who will alert their fraud team and check your cards for unusual activity.

scam10Fake friends spread malware on social media

Are you receiving unexpected messages on Facebook? Beware of any new friend requests from people you don’t know or who may have duplicated other friend’s profiles. Beyond spreading malware, these friends phish for private information to exploit further. If in doubt, block and report the profile to Facebook.

scam11Christmas lotteries offer scam winnings

Who doesn’t want a little extra cash to play with at this time of year? But, beware of the lottery scam. It always starts the same way. An email alerts you that you have won an impossible amount of money, all you have to do to claim your prize is pay the small processing fee. It is always tempting but never worth it. Once you have handed your scammer your credit card details the only limit for them is the spending limit on your card.

scam12Christmas screensavers bundle malware

We all love a bit of Christmas cheer on our desktops, but holiday search terms are loaded with additional downloads such as PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) that continually flood your computer with pop-ups and more malicious types of malware such as ransomware which takes all personal data hostage until a user agrees to pay.

Here’s how to stay safe online this Christmas

As is the case all year round, the key to staying safe online is using common sense and reading things thoroughly. Here are UR Gadget Doctors top tips:

  • Always read who an email is from before opening it. If you don’t recognize the sender, delete it.
  • If you wish to make charitable donations for Christmas, visit the charity’s website directly
  • Don’t follow any external links from emails if you are unsure of the contents
  • Shop on reputable websites, don’t click on pop-ups with sales that seem too good to be true
  • Be mindful of downloads, unusual friend requests and fake bank emails

Keep in mind that all of these types of scams occur every day of the year, not just at Christmas. It’s just that, like all things at this time of the year, they simply come with better wrapping.

Have a Merry (malware-free) Christmas!

virtual private networking
By Bradley Coulter / Android TV Box / 0 Comments

What is a VPN?

So what is a VPN? That’s a question that people are asking more and more lately. And with good reason.

I’m not going to get into the technical details. If you’re interested in that, I’m sure there are lots of sites where you can get your nerd on.

Think of a VPN like a direct link to get from your device (computer, smartphone, TV box, etc.) to another server anywhere in the world. Many people use them professionally for logging in to their work network when working from home. VPN’s are, by definition, private which makes them popular for the professional road-warrior and remote worker.

Even if you’re not using it for work, VPN’s are still popular because they provide a greater level of anonymity than local connections. Think of a “local connection” as plugging your computer directly in to your router or cable modem. Basically, there’s nothing between you and your Internet provider.

The trouble with most local connections is that they essentially provide a big, flashing red beacon to your location to anyone who wants to know.

Don’t believe me? Check out IP-Tracker.org, which is one of many free sites which provide geo-tracking services based solely on your IP address.

What is a VPN? Imagine a tunnel....
Image credit: NYC.gov

What is a VPN?: An llustration

The best way I can think of to conceptually explain a VPN is to think of a huge underground tunnel, like this one in New York City. It’s so big, you can stand up in it and still feel small. That’s the Internet. That tunnel carries lots of “water”, but it’s not secure at all. The water, i.e. your data, can seep through the cracks or get contaminated from other things.

See those pipes on the left hand side? Those pipes go directly to one destination, and it’s very difficult for anything to get in or out of those pipes that doesn’t belong there. They’re used for things that are more important than the dirty water that’s running down the center of the tunnel. The stuff in those pipes (whatever it is), can’t risk being polluted by outside contaminants. In our example, those pipes are a VPN.

Both a VPN and your local Internet connection will get you to where you want to go. But a VPN makes sure that your data doesn’t get intercepted or polluted along the way.

Why use a VPN for Android TV boxes?

There are a couple of important reasons to use a VPN. At a high-level, you’re either looking to protect yourself or get around restrictions that someone else has put on your Internet activity. Even though we only use our TV boxes for streaming and maybe downloading torrents, you should still consider getting an Android VPN for your TV box.

Why us a VPN? AnonymityPrivacy

It’s hard to think back to a time when we didn’t have to worry about privacy. Long before “Big Data” was a household phrase, our right to privacy was being assaulted on a daily basis. From traffic cameras to browser cookies, it seems we are giving up more and more of our personal information every day. Many people start thinking about using a VPN in the hopes of keeping some of that private information to themselves.

Anonymity

Anonymity goes hand-in-hand with privacy, but there are some important distinctions. You can think of Privacy as keeping control over your personal information. Anonymity is deliberately hiding, or obscuring, who you are. We can all take simple steps to anonymity, and most of us do. For example, I have a separate junk email address with a fake name and information. Parents with small children will sometimes create fake personas for their online or gaming activity. Why do we do this? Because marketers are getting more and more savvy, and learning more about us as consumers every day.

Nothing can make us truly anonymous on the Internet. But a good, secure VPN can go a long way to help.

VPN for Android: SecuritySecurity

VPN’s were originally designed to provide a secure connection to another network. As I said before, I use one when I’m working from home. My hardware VPN connects to my wireless router. When my work PC is within range, it automatically connects to the hardware VPN device and accesses my network at the office. To me, it’s just like I’m sitting at my desk.

You’re probably thinking: “Great…but this doesn’t affect me at all.”

Well, when’s the last time you connected to a public Wi-Fi?

Public Wi-Fi connections are hotspots (pun intended) for hackers and digital thieves. Using an Android VPN whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi is a great way to protect yourself.

Android VPN to defeat geo-blockingGeo-Blocking

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but big media companies have put limits on what we can watch based on where we live.

Some of the more common reasons they do this is to control access to certain shows so that some countries get it sooner than others. The BBC was one of the bigger culprits of this in recent years. Some series would air in the UK a full season before they aired in the US.

If you’re more of a sports fan, then geo-blocking has probably already affected you.

Think of the last time you wanted to watch your favorite team but couldn’t because the game was blacked out. Personally, this is my biggest reason for getting a VPN. If the game I want is blacked out in my local area (or country), I can hop on a different server and bypass those restrictions. Game on!

Android VPN for KodiLegality

Let me be blunt: If you’re using one of the unofficial (and probably illegal) Kodi addons to stream your movies, and you’re not already using a VPN, you’re a fool.

I’m not here to judge your streaming habits – I don’t care. Right now, it seems that streaming is OK, but downloading is not. But that can change at any time. Personally I wouldn’t put much faith in the loophole that streaming movies is legal, as long as the files aren’t downloaded to your system.

Besides, there have been judgments that could change the streaming landscape significantly. Cox Cable, an ISP (Internet Service Providers) in the US was recently held liable for the copyright infringements of its subscribers. In the UK, they just instituted a 10-year prison sentence for online pirates – longer than some sentences for rape or murder.

The odds may be in your favor right now, but is that a chance you really want to take?

Important things to consider

Now that you’ve got a little bit of background on virtual private networks, I want to get some caveats out of the way. I think it’s important to understand my perspective so you can decide for yourself whether you want to take my advice. If you agree with how I’m looking at things, then keep reading. If not, you’re free to say that “this guy is nuts” and stop reading. My feelings won’t be hurt.

I’m Not a “Privacy Guy”

As strange as it might be for some people to believe, I’m not using a VPN because I’m concerned about privacy.

I’ve never cared to read George Orwell’s Ninteen-Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. I don’t look at all of the dystopian movies like Hunger Games or Minority Report and immediately get up in arms about a “Big Brother” style of government that is watching my every move. Personally, I’ve got more important things to worry about.

In the most recent study I could find, Americans use 18MB of data every single minute of the day. In my day job, I’m an analyst for a Fortune-100 company. I see the benefits of using data to make people’s lives easier, more relevant and more connected – not just to their devices, but to each other.

You may take your privacy very, very seriously. That’s OK, and I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t. But, please understand going forward, that’s not how I’m going to look at things.

Geo-Blocking and Freedom of Information

I may not care too much about privacy, but I believe very strongly in freedom of information.

The Internet was founded to share ideas across the world. But today, information is kept locked away behind man-made walls – only accessible to certain people.

To be clear, I’m not saying that everything should be “free” on the Internet. This is not an excuse for piracy. But, I believe that information that is available in one place in the world should be available in every place in the world.

It doesn’t matter if it is a political paper speaking out about an oppressive government, or a television show that can only be accessed in one particular country. Information should be accessible to everyone.

VPN Affiliates

I want to say a couple quick words about affiliates, because you’ll see it a lot with VPN’s.

Most sites will use affiliate links, including mine. This can be OK or it can be a huge conflict of interests. It all depends on how the site handles it. Affiliate links are a way for website owners to actually cover the costs of operating a site. Affiliate sales don’t cost you anything extra as the consumer, but the owner of the site gets a small commission based on any sales that they refer.

In theory, you only put affiliate links for things that you’ve actually used and are honestly recommending. Sites that want to be honest with their readers will disclose that up front. That’s why on this site, there is a full disclosure page, as well as a brief affiliate disclosure at the bottom of every single page on the site. Go ahead. Scroll all the way down. I’ll wait.

Where this can go bad is if sites recommend things based on how much it will pay out and then call it a “review”. If you Google “VPN” you’ll see that the search results are littered with fake review sites that are nothing more than sales pages.

Use caution when you’re looking at these so-called VPN reviews. Look at the article and make sure that it reads like a review, not like a sleazy sales page.

So what Android VPN do I recommend?

This is the point in most of the articles that you’ll come across where the author will give his or her recommendations. “Here is the VPN that will solve all your problems”….blah blah blah.

All I can tell you is that I have tried 1/2 a dozen different VPN’s and Pure VPN is the one that I settled on. It has a great price, easy interface and good speed. The most important item is that it is not based in the US.

Apple iPhone 7 Waterproffing
By Bradley Coulter / iPhone News / 0 Comments

Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus on Wednesday, the first of its waterproof devices . Equipped with IP67 waterproofing, which means the device could survive up to one meter (a little over three feet) under water for a duration of up to haft an hour.

Samsung's S7, on the other hand, comes with the higher IP68 certification, suggesting the device can withstand prolonged submersion in depths of up to 1.5 meters (about five feet).

 

What does 'IP67' actually mean?

International Protection Marking, or IP Code, consists of two numbers. The first marks how resistant to dust getting it into the inner workings of the device, the second how resistant to water ingress it is.

For dust:

  • 4 = particles great than 1 mm in width
  • 5 = prevention of dust interfering with satisfactory operation
  • 6 = no ingress of dust at all for at least eight hours

For water:

  • 4 = splashing water won't nann the device
  • 5= protecnon from water jets from a 6_3mm nozzle
  • 6 = protecnon from more powerful water jets from a 12.5mm nozzle (6K is higher pressure rated)
  • 7 = protection from immersion in up to 1m of fresh water (typically for 30 minutes)
  • 8 = protection from immersion in at least trn fresh water (typicaHy 1.5m for 30 minutes)
  • 9K = protection from close-range high pressure water jets

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are rated to IP67 standards, marked at 1m of fresh water for 30 minutes. Samsung's latest top-end smartphones the Galaxy S7,  Edgeand the troubled Note 7 are rated to IP68 standards, and so are technically more protected against water ingress.

So, there is not a big difference on waterproof features between iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 could survive in O.5m depths more than iPhone 7, but Apple has warned officially that the waterproofing will be degrading with the equipment aging. Keep the phone away from water, and don't charge it when the phone is wet

By Bradley Coulter / Mac & PC repair / / 0 Comments

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Read more “Damaged ports and slots in laptops”