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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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          Last Updated on May 28, 2020

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

          No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

          If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

          But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

          Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

          Let’s dive straight into the list.

          1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

            If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

            RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

            2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

              If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

              This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

              3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                  Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                  Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                    There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                      Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                      Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                        Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                        This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                        Available on iOS and Desktop

                        8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                          This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                          This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                            Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                            MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                            10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                              1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                              Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                              11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                  This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                  Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                    This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                    Available on desktop (macOS)

                                    14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                      Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                      The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                      15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                        Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                        16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                          Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                          17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                            This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                            Available on iOS and Android

                                            18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                              Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                              Final Thoughts

                                              The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                              So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                              More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                              Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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