How to Create a Strong Password

A good password is the cornerstone of your security in any computer profile or online account. If your password fails you, it could mean a loss of important information, a violation of your privacy, or even a significant loss of money. With this in mind, our Seattle data recovery service offers the following tips to help assure that your accounts are protected by a password that is capable of foiling unscrupulous users.

Avoid Lazy Passwords
A good password should be at least eight characters, preferably with a mix of letters and numbers. Far too many people end up using the same passwords, which makes them very easy targets for hackers. Look at this year’s most common passwords to make sure you’re not using one of them:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. letmein
  15. photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. monkey
  18. shadow
  19. sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. princess
  23. azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 000000

Ideally, the password should be something that cannot be found in any dictionary. Try to come up with something that only has meaning to you. Names of loved ones, your company name, your SSN, or a variation on your username are a big no-no, but nonsense words are a plus. Consider creating a word from a favorite adage of yours, like making “2eih2fid” out of “To err is human, to forgive is divine”; such a password is easy to remember but difficult to crack.

Change Your Password Frequently
It is recommended that you change the passwords protecting your sensitive information every thirty to ninety days. This helps to assure that, even if somebody has gained access to your account without you knowing, he or she will not be able to retain access for too long.

Safeguard Your Password
It seems like common sense, but some people still can’t keep their passwords to themselves. This means more than just not telling other people what your password is; it also means not writing it under your laptop, or on a post-it note attached to your screen.

Thwarting Malicious Emails

There are a lot of good programs in place to help protect you from malicious software. Anti-virus products can warn you away from sketchy sites, malware protection can block unauthorized entities from accessing your computer, and spam filters can keep phishing scams out of your inbox. Unfortunately, no system is perfect, and one wrong step can jeopardize your computer and your personal information. To help you outwit unscrupulous people who try to worm their way onto your hard drive, our Seattle data recovery business offers the following tips on identifying a malicious email:

Strange Headings
Did you receive an email titled “Re: Job Application” without having sent an email titled “Job Application”? This may be a red flag. Additionally, many malicious emails do not have a title at all.

Bad Writing
It always pays to have a good sense of spelling and grammar, because spammers are often sub-par writers or speak English as a second language. If you get an email that claims to be from a legitimate business, you should expect that this business cares enough to capitalize proper nouns and use good punctuation.

Salutations that Don’t Know Your Name
Does the email open with “Dear Customer”? Any business that can legitimately claim you as a customer probably has a simple auto-fill program that could plug your real name into the salutation.

Messages that Know Too Much About You
A strategy of some phishers is to peruse a target’s social networking profile, then use the information they find to convince you that they know you. Try to limit the information that you make publicly available, and be leery of any message that knows about your recent tweets and status updates.

Sneaky URL’s
Phishers want you to believe that they represent companies you trust. To this end, their addresses may be designed to resemble a legitimate website. Be on the lookout for anything like “mircosoft” or “apple.com-rkwebhrv” in either the address or any links in the email. It’s even possible that the phisher may direct you to a website designed to resemble one you use, where it will capture your username and password when you attempt to log on.

Requests for Personal Information
The websites that you deal with will often remind you that their representatives will never ask you for your password, SSN, credit card information, or similar information.

Attachments
Don’t open any attachments that you are not sure about. A good rule of thumb is to not touch an attachment that you were not expecting. Remember, you can always hang on to it in case it later turns out to be important.

When the Cloud Rains on Your Parade

Backing up data to the cloud is a common practice today. It’s a comforting idea that, even if the worst should happen to your own computer, all of your important files exist in a highly secure server under the protection of a huge corporation somewhere. However, it’s a good idea to not rely too strongly on a cloud server. After all, should the cloud fail you, there’s nothing that eBits in Seattle could do to recover your data.

Users of Dropbox learned this lesson recently when the popular cloud storage service deleted many of their files. This came about as the result of a bug tied to the service’s Selective Sync feature, which served to let users save space by downloading only select folders to local storage. The bug has reportedly affected only a small number of users, those being users operating out-of-date versions of the software. These users have been given a year of free Dropbox Pro for their troubles.

In an effort to retain the confidence of users, Dropbox has announced that it has patched the desktop client and discontinued the problematic older versions. It is also introducing new test procedures to avoid similar problems in the future.

Such stories are few and far between, but they do show that there are cracks in the cloud that should be planned for. It is therefore advisable to use the cloud largely for backup, and not as a primary storage for your important data.

Hewlett-Packard Splitting into Two Companies

If you work with computers for long enough, you quickly learn to not put all of your eggs into one basket. Our Seattle data recovery service has seen time and time again that the people and companies who bounce back the best from disastrous data failures are the ones with remote backup, redundant hard drives, or other securities. It also works on a larger, corporate level as well, which is why many people are optimistic about the recently announced split of Hewlett-Packard.

On October 6th, this computing giant made the announcement that it would be dividing its hardware and software operations into two separate companies. Its PC and printer-related operations shall go under the name HP Inc, while its software and corporate services shall go under the name HP Enterprise. It is the hope of HP that both of the resulting companies shall benefit from an increased level of focus, resources, and flexibility, making them more competitive in the fast-moving technology market.

HP’s split is hardly a new phenomenon. The market has recently seen many other spin-offs and breakups, including Time Warner and Time Inc, Sears and Lands’ End, and last week’s separation of eBay and PayPal. Stocks attached to companies that announce breakups have shown that they tend to do well, as investors are encouraged by the greater potential for smaller companies.

The HP split is planned to be completed by the end of 2015.

Source

Macs and Malware: Does an Apple Keep the Computer Doctor Away?

For a long time, people recognized Apple computers as the safer alternative to the Microsoft machines. After all, while Microsoft users were frequently plagued with viruses and malware, the Macs could securely surf the web without even the need for an anti-virus program. But today, this is no longer the reality for Mac users, and more and more Apple products are being brought into our Seattle stores for data recovery or malware removal. So what gives?

Unfortunately, the supposed impenetrability of the Macintosh OS was always a myth. It is accurate to say that it is a very well-made system, of course; Apple products are more difficult to infect, and generally require more error on the part of the user to contact a virus. However, every system has its faults, and no computer that is connected to the internet is entirely immune to malware.

The reason that Macs enjoyed such a long period of apparent immunity is largely that they were not as popular as Microsoft products. A virus is a computer program and, like any other program, it needs to be compatible with the system that it runs on. It therefore made more sense for hackers to build viruses for Windows, knowing that they would be able to target far more computers for their effort.

That era ended when Apple products took off. The popularity of the iPod brought attention to Mac computers in countries that had never heard of them before, and the new tablets and iPhones have been fanning this fire ever since. At last, Macs are widespread and internationally recognized enough to be worthy of the attention of unscrupulous people, and these unscrupulous people have already jumped on the opportunity.

If you own an Apple computer, make sure that you are utilizing a proper anti-virus program. Even your iPod touch or iPhone can be infected (though this is generally only a significant risk if you “jailbreak” your device). Search the web for a Mac-compatible security program, or consult eBits for more information on malware protection and removal.

Samsung will unveil the next Galaxy phone May 3rd in London

Samsung could be just weeks away from unveiling its next flagship Android smartphone — the Galaxy S III — on May 3 after the company began sending invites with the tagline “come and meet the next Galaxy” for an event that will be held in London at the start of next month.

The invite was sent to Tweakers.net, a well-known Dutch technology website, notifying them of the date and the location. The invite teases another of Samsung’s “Samsung Mobile Unpacked” events, which have served as the springboard for some of the company’s bigger smartphone and tablet launches in recent years, both at dedicated and trade show events.

Samsung has been enjoying the amount of buzz its next flagship Android smartphone is generating, despite the company’s silence on what will be included in the device and when it will launch. The company recently moved to quash any rumours it was to incorporate a 3D display in its future handsets, but has kept details of the handset close to its chest.

Recent ‘leaks’ suggested that the device would launch on May 22 in London but failed to gain momentum. However, other leaks have suggested that the device will feature a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display and the company’s own quad-core Exynos processor.

Samsung purposefully decided against launching its new handset at Mobile World Congress, instead choosing to launch the device at a dedicated event in the first half of the year.

It appears the wait to see the new Android smartphone could be over, we are digging for more details and will update the article should we receive any further confirmation.

Apple offers refund over Australian 4G iPad confusion

Apple Australia will offer a refund to those who purchased the New iPad under the misapprehension it could hook up to 4G networks in Australia.

The company made the offer today in Australia’s Federal Court, where it was responding to a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sought to stop the company calling the New iPad as a 4G device because “it represents to Australian consumers that the product “iPad with WiFi + 4G” can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case,” as the only 4G network in Australia operates on a frequency the iPad’s radios cannot reach.

The matter made it to court after Apple denied misleading punters in correspondence with the ACCC.

In court today, Apple offered to contact all owners of the New iPad by email and offer them a refund if they feel they have been misled by statements about 4G connectivity. The company has also said it will amend point of sale material to explain that while the New iPad has 4G capability, it cannot connect to local 4G networks. Apple’s defence rests on similar niceties, with its Barrister telling the court the company feels Australia does possess networks that fall under the definition of 4G.

The ACCC sought an order that stickers saying “”not compatible with current Australia 4G networks” be placed upon New iPad boxes, and also asked for corrective advertisements to appear in several publications. Apple’s lawyer rejected the sticker plan as “cumbersome.”

Android Jelly Bean could come first from Asus

Asus hopes its close partnership with Google will lead it to being the first company to offer devices running Android Jelly Bean – version 5.0.
Asus prides itself on its Android upgrade efficiency, as it was the first to provide tablets running Honeycomb and the first to push the Ice Cream Sandwich update to its tablets.
Benson Lin, Asus’ Corporate Vice President told TechRadar: “Asus is very close to Google, so once they have Android 5.0 I think there will be a high possibility that we will be the first wave to offer the Jelly Bean update.”
Lean, mean, jelly bean machine

Asus announced its 3-in-1 Padfone device at MWC 2012, which sees a mobile phone, tablet and netbook combined into one device running Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
Asus hopes the Padfone will help it gain traction in the mobile market and if it produces quality handsets, the promise of a speedy upgrade to Android Jelly Bean in the future may see consumers flock to the Taiwanese firm.
We’ve already heard from LG that it is committed to upgrading its 2012 handset range to Android Jelly Bean once it becomes available, so it will be interesting to see which manufacturer can turn it around in the shortest amount of time.

Intel reportedly delays Ivy Bridge launch until June, manufacturing process to blame

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Intel expects its next-generation microprocessors to go on sale eight to 10 weeks later than initially planned, according to Sean Maloney, executive vice-president of Intel and chairman of Intel China.
In his first interview to discuss Intel’s business in China, Mr Maloney told the the Financial Times that the start of sales of machines equipped with Ivy Bridge – the 22nm processor set to succeed Sandy Bridge in notebooks this year – had been pushed back from April. “I think maybe it’s June now,” he said.

Mr Maloney said the adjustment was not caused by a lack of demand but came because of the new manufacturing process needed to make the smaller chips.
An Intel spokesperson said the company’s plans to start shipping Ivy Bridge in the second quarter had not changed.

Mr Maloney also said the global launch of a series of Intel-powered smartphones would follow the launch in China of the first such handset – a Lenovo phone – in April. He said the Intel-powered Lenovo phone would become available in other countries four to five months after its China launch.

The comments come after Lenovo said last month it intended to push sales of its smartphones in emerging markets outside China this year. Lenovo is China’s largest leading Android phone brand.

Mr Maloney had been viewed as the most likely candidate to succeed Paul Otellini when he steps down as chief executive in 2015, but this career prospect is now less clear after he suffered a stroke in early 2010. Mr Maloney took over as Intel China chairman in July last year, a newly-created position through which the company hopes to give the Chinese market more weight.

China is expected to surpass the US as the world’s largest PC market by unit shipments this year, according to IDC, and the country is already the world’s largest market for mobile phones by unit shipments, a segment which Intel is currently pushing into with its Medfield processor for smartphones and tablets.

“I think give it two or three years, and all phones in China will be smartphones, because the cost is going to be way way down,” he said.

He also emphasised the Chinese server market as a source of strong growth. “First off, it’s not really an emerging market. It’s emerged. Secondly, it’s just the same at the server side. Ali Baba, Baidu, they all want the same servers as Facebook, and really the notebooks are as advanced as anywhere,” he said.

When The Car Is The Driver.

This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It’s not quite driver’s licenses for robots — but it’s close.

The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.

Do people notice it’s a self-driving car and gawk?

“We get a lot of thumbs up,” says Anthony Levandowski, one of the leaders of Google’s self-driving car project. “People drive by and then they wave. I wish they would keep their eyes on the road.”

Levandowski is in the passenger seat with a laptop showing him what the car can see. Chris Urmson is behind the wheel. But his hands are in his lap and the steering wheel is gently turning back and forth, tracing the contours of California’s busy Highway 85.

“And it can adjust the speed. If there is a particularly tight corner, it will slow down for that,” Urmson says. “It adjusts speed to stay out of blind spots of other vehicles. It tries to match speed with traffic.”

Urmson has been working on this technology for close to a decade. His first car managed to travel just 11 miles on a dusty road. Google’s vehicle is a giant leap forward.

“When we got this on the freeway and it was doing 70 miles an hour and just smoothly driving along the road, you could taste it — the technology,” Urmson says. “You could really feel the impact and how it’s going to change people’s lives. It was just amazing.”

While he was talking, a motorcycle cut us off. The car saw the move coming, and we hardly even noticed.

Google’s fleet of robotic cars has driven more than 200,000 miles over highways and city streets in California and Nevada. Google did this testing in kind of a legal limbo. These cars aren’t forbidden, but, “There was no permission granted for any of that to happen by anybody,” says Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist and robotic car enthusiast.

“It’s essential that there be a place to do tests,” he says. “There’s two ways to do it — the seek-forgiveness strategy and the seek-permission strategy. Frankly, the 200,000 hours I think that have been driven here in California — that’s a seek-forgiveness strategy. Right?”

If anything went wrong, Google would have had a huge amount of explaining to do. So last year, the company hired a lobbyist in Nevada.

“The state of Nevada is close, it’s a lot easier to pass laws there than it is in California,” Levandowski says.

He says Google convinced the state Legislature to pass a law making robotic cars explicitly legal. But the Legislature went further than just creating a place to test these cars — it ordered the Department of Motor Vehicles to create basically a driver’s license for these robot cars.

“I thought it was great,” says Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada DMV. “My grandfather took me to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City many times. And they were promising me the car of the future as an 8-year-old, and I thought to myself, this finally could be it.”

Starting March 1, companies will be able to apply to test self-driving cars on Nevada roads.

“The test vehicles will be Nevada’s first red license plate since the 1940s,” Breslow says. Think of it like a learner’s permit — those bright red plates will let everyone know there’s a student robot driver behind the wheel.

“And eventually when these vehicles are sold, it will be the first ever neon green license plate that the state of Nevada will ever issue — green meaning go, and the future’s arrived,” Breslow says.

Google says it will probably be years before cars like this go on sale. But Jurvetson, the venture capitalist, says he’s convinced this technology could save thousands of lives “today, already, right now.”

Robots are never distracted. They don’t text or drink or get tired. They see things no human can.

“That front radar catches bounces off the ground,” Jurvetson says. “We were driving behind an 18-wheeler, and we saw the vehicles in front of the 18-wheeler — vehicles we could not see with our eye — because the signal bounced off the pavement … at a glancing angle underneath the 18-wheeler. And so no human will ever have the amount of information that these cars have when they are driving.”

While Nevada may be the first state to create a licensing system for self-driving cars, it won’t be the last; Hawaii, Florida and Oklahoma are already following suit. And Jurvetson says one day we may be asking ourselves if humans should still be allowed to drive.