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Stay Secure in iCloud In A Way Most People Don’t Know

Stay Secure in iCloud In A Way Most People Don’t Know

There appears to have been a large number of

mobile phones in the news recently, thanks primarily to the rising trend for cheap handsets and the highly anticipated launch of the iPhone 6. The technology that underpins mobile media has also hit the headlines in the last month, however, this was all for more sinister reasons. More specifically, August 31st saw a number of supposedly nude celebrity photographs published to sites including 4chan, Imgur and Reddit. Referred to as ‘The Frappening’, this series of images quickly became one of the fastest growing threads in Reddit history before being deleted. The pictures were in fact fabricated, and had been created using readily available hacking technology that reportedly has the capacity to infiltrate iCloud’s popular Photo Stream feature. ICloud_in_Safari_4_on_Tiger

    The Importance of Safeguarding yourself in the iCloud

    This serious security breach underlines the vulnerability of iCloud and this type of technology. While it is extremely useful and enables individuals to store images, contact details and MP3 files in a single online space, it’s also susceptible to sophisticated cyber hackers. For anyone with an iPhone and access to iCloud, there is a pressing need to operate securely and in a way that does not compromise their most sensitive data. Consider the following steps towards achieving this: –

    1. Understand the Importance of Physical Security

    As a general rule, it can be easy to become preoccupied with creating strong passwords for devices and individual iCloud accounts. While this is important, however, it is also crucial that you safeguard the physical security of your hardware and ensure that each individual device is tracked at all times. If your iPhone or tablet is set to remember your iCloud password, for example, anyone who comes into contact with the device can easily access any data or image that have stored in iCloud. So even if you have a strong, uniform password for every account, you will need to deny others access to your devices where possible and keep track of their location at all times.

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    2. Change your Approach to Creating Passwords

    Historically, online service providers have advised users to create strong and unique passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. This is not enough to safeguard your iCloud against the threat of cyber thieves however, simply because hacking software is designed to successfully bypass single words and alpha-numeric terms. Instead, you should consider using phrases to protect the integrity of your account, which are easy for you to remember as an individual but extremely difficult for existing software to translate. This will add an additional layer of security to your iCloud data, while also making it easier for you to remember your password and access images, files and sensitive information.

    3. Use Only Secure Wireless Networks to Transfer Data

    As a basic security measure, Apple encrypts all files that are sent to iCloud and stores them in this format. This type of rudimentary measure can be successfully negated by sophisticated hackers, so it’s important that you take additional steps when transferring data to iCloud. It is imperative that you use only secure wireless networks to connect with iCloud, for example, such as those that you control through an alpha-numerical password. Public networks such as wireless hotspots or those accessible through coffee shops should be avoided at all times, as these are far more vulnerable to security breaches.

    4. Protect the Files on your Device as well as those in iCloud

    While Apple may encrypt files sent from synchronised devices once they have been stored in iCloud, they do not extend this courtesy to those on the handset itself. So if your device is connected to iCloud but not protected with a passcode, or by the option of requiring the user to approve access each time that the USB is plugged in to a new machine, it is possible for hackers to utilize a number of third-party programs and copy files directly from the handset. With this in mind, be sure to create a simple four-digit passcode that enables you to lock your phone, as this will encrypt all files and make them inaccessible even if they are transferred over. This is a viable option with iOS 7 on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and all subsequently released devices.

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    HowToPasscode-4

      5. Encrypt all Sensitive Documents and Images to your Hard Drive

      On a similar note, it is worth encrypting all synced and sensitive data that exists on your hard drive. While the encrypted files in iCloud may be relatively secure, this means little if they are openly accessible through your hard drive, smartphone handset or tablet device. In addition to this, Apple may be required to turn over even sensitive and personal user data if they are compelled to through a court subpoena. Although this represents a minimal risk, it is crucial that you save files such as health care records or financial information in an encrypted format in their original location. This is an additional security measure that safeguards the integrity of the data stored in iCloud.

      6. Be Wary of Siri

      As a conscientious iPhone and iCloud user, you will need to be aware of all potential security gaps when active online. Even when your device is locked with a four-digit passcode, for example, it’s default setting is to allow users access to the intelligent personal assistant referred to as Siri. A key part of the apple support network, it helps users to complete actions by audio instruction without the need to type or enter keywords. This creates the potential for a huge security gap, as anyone can ask Siri questions that will return data, contacts and additional stored information. This is something to be wary of, especially when establishing your phone’s settings after purchase and storing sensitive data.

      7. Set your Phone to Wipe Data if too Many Unsuccessful Access Attempts are Made

      If you access your iPhone settings, there is an option located at the bottom of the ‘Passcode Lock’ page beneath Siri which is titled ‘Erase Data’. Simply enabling this feature, you can automatically set your iPhone to

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      erase all stored data if there are 10 unsuccessful attempts to gain access to the device or associated accounts. While this is a drastic option, it should at least protect your most sensitive iCloud data from the machinations of opportunistic or less sophisticated thieves. enabled-data-wipe-erase-ipad-3

        8. Integrate Two-factor Authentication with your Account

        We have already discussed the vulnerability of passwords, especially those that are generic in their nature or reused across multiple online accounts; this vulnerability can be offset by the integration of two-factor Authentication with your accounts. Apple offers this as an optional feature for iTunes and iCloud users, and it works simply by forcing individuals to enter both a password and a unique device code before they access the account. These codes are usually sent via SMS upon registration, and they prevent unknown or unverified devices from accessing your data. This is a simple step, but one that can provide considerable peace of mind to Apple customers.

        apple_two-factor_authentication-100392165-orig

          9. Regularly change your Security Questions and Answers

          Online users are often urged to regularly refresh their account passwords, in order to partially negate the threat posed by hackers. While this is good advice, there are other aspects of user-controlled iCloud security that require a similar proactive approach. For example, Apple will always prompt users to use security questions and answers to help control their accounts, and it is important that you change these regularly while also using a combination of truthful and inaccurate data. After all, a hacker may only need to access your emails or synced accounts to identify the name of your partner or a beloved pet, so safeguard your iCloud data by refreshing the questions every month or so and using incorrect answers where possible.

          10. Link your iCloud to a Current and Accessible E-mail Account

          Your iCloud relies heavily on the primary email address that you use. Whether you need to register, log in or reset your password you will need a viable address to secure your account. It is therefore crucial that the iCloud is always associated with a current and accessible email account, rather than one that is now inactive. This is a detail that many users overlook, but idle email accounts represent an easy target for cyber thieves. So be proactive and update your primary email address where necessary, whether you have created a completely new account or have received a reissue address as a result of changing Internet service providers or employers.

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          Featured photo credit: Falko MD / Flickr via flickr.com

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          Published on November 9, 2018

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

          • Microsoft Excel
          • Microsoft Access
          • Statistics
          • Data Analytics
          • Adobe Campaign
          • Quickbooks
          • XML Database management system
          • Filemaker Pro
          • MATLAB
          • Hive
          • FORTRAN
          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
          • SAS

          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

          • Content Management System (CMS)
          • Google Analytics
          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
          • Email Marketing
          • Web Page Design
          • WordPress
          • Digital Media
          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
          • Campaign Management Software

          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

          • Adobe Photoshop
          • Adobe InDesign
          • Adobe Illustrator
          • AutoCAD
          • CorelDRAW
          • Microsoft Visual Studio
          • Maya
          • Microsoft Word
          • Microsoft Publisher
          • Operating Digital Cameras

          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

          • HTML
          • C/C++
          • Java
          • Python
          • XML
          • UI/UX
          • LINUX
          • CISC and RISC architecture
          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
          • Memory Management
          • PCB Layout
          • SQL

          5. IT Troubleshooting

          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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          • Backup management
          • Diagnostics
          • End User support
          • Client-Server management
          • Installation and configuration
          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
          • System administration
          • Tech support

          6. Enterprise Systems

          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

          2. Rule the Social Media World

          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

          b. Canva Design School

          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

          2. Work on Your Efficiency

          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

          3. Look for Shortcuts

          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

          4. Apply for an Internship

          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

          How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

          The Bottom Line

          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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