What is Full-Disk Encryption (FDE)?

Full-Disk Encryption

If you think someone without your desktop login won’t be able to access your computer’s files, think again. Anyone with mediocre IT skills can take your your hard disk, plug it as a secondary drive to another computer, and extract your files.

So how can you protect your files from hackers?

One option would be to encrypt your sensitive files manually or avoid storing them on your computer altogether and lock them away in a safe cloud. An alternative is to use Full-Disk Encryption (FDE), a technique that scrambles everything stored on your computer and makes it only accessible to the person with the decryption key. Continue reading

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How to protect yourself against WhatsApp’s non-present backdoor

Secure messaging app

In a controversial Friday 13th scoop, The Guardian unveiled a backdoor in WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook that has over 1 billion users and touts having unbreakable security.

Within a few hours of the Guardian report, the claim was debunked by other outlets, including this detailed piece in Gizmodo. While it is now clear that the backdoor is actually not a backdoor but a natural functionality of the messaging app, here’s what you need to know and what you can do to protect yourself from potential security mishaps. Continue reading

How to secure your smarthome gadgets

smarthome nest thermostat

The holiday season is a big time for consumer electronics and smarthome gadget sales. With so many advances and innovations that we saw in the Internet of Things in 2016, there’s a likely chance that one of those connected devices has found its way into your home, or that of one of your loved ones, this Christmas.

But while IoT devices make our homes more efficient, drive energy saving and reduce costs, you should also take note that IoT devices are a source of security headaches. A huge number of smarthome gadgets are developed without sound development practices and end up being used for evil purposes. Continue reading

The biggest artificial intelligence developments of 2016

Artificial intelligence - Machine learning

This year was a big one for artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and all the related technologies. Thanks to innovations and breakthroughs, the industry took great leaps both for the better and the worse this year.

Though we’re still a long way from Singularity or Skynet (or Genisys or whatever else you want to call a robot and artificial intelligence invasion), we can all acknowledge that the lines between man and machine became a little bit more blurred in 2016.

Here are some of the hottest things AI had in stock for us in the past year. Continue reading

What is secure messaging?

Secure messaging app

We rely increasingly on messaging apps to carry out our daily communications, whether for personal use or to do business. And there are literally tons of them on the internet and app stores, each sporting different features and social reach.

Having messaging apps have become an inherent part of our lives, we often use them to exchange sensitive information without regard to how capable they are of keeping that information secure. With messaging apps, we share personal information and photos, or report on sensitive issues in countries where the internet is strictly controlled and monitored by autocratic regimes.

So just how secure and trustworthy is your favorite messaging app? Here are four criteria that will help you decide. Continue reading

How PGP can protect you against email surveillance

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News broke last week that Yahoo has allowed intelligence agencies to scan user emails. This comes at a very bad time for Yahoo, right on the heels of its 500 million user account data breach—made public earlier this month—and while the company is trying to be acquired Verizon for the meager price of $4.8 billion.

Other tech giants immediately denied having had similar cooperation with government agencies in the wake of the Yahoo leak, though they all have a track record of wholesaling their data to government agencies under the NSA’s PRISM program. Continue reading

How to prevent Google from owning you

Online privacy

I love Google—can’t get enough of it in fact. It allows me to search the entire internet at the speed of lightning, takes care of my emails, calendar, documents and whatnot. And it has also provided me with the main web browser I use on non-Mac computers.

And it’s giving me all this for free. Or is it?

In fact, it’s not. Google is a for-profit business and is not in the habit of making generous pro bono giveaways. In exchange for the services it offers, the firm collects tons of data from each of its users, and we all know that data is the currency of the future. Continue reading