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Year: 2019

The Most Common Causes Of Data Loss

Losing important data can be frustrating – almost all of us have experienced it before whether it’s a personal photo or a work document. For businesses data loss can have devastating effects, possibly inconveniencing clients and negatively impacting your company’s reputation. Whilst this data can sometimes be recovered, it often isn’t easy to retrieve it. Here are some of the most common causes of data loss and how you can avoid them.

Viruses/malware

Viruses and malware may corrupt data. Cybercriminals may even steal files or hold them hostage – threatening to delete them unless a ransom is paid (commonly known as ransomware). Small businesses that are not digitally secured enough can often fall victim to this type of data loss. The best way to defend against this threat is to improve your cyber and data security. This could include using firewalls that scan emails and websites for malicious content before opening them, encrypting files and having strong passwords.

Accidentally deleting files

Human error can also result in data loss. Files may get accidentally deleted whilst moving documents from one folder to another. When it comes to touchscreen devices, failing to lock these devices when in your pocket may also result in photos or contacts accidentally being deleted. You can’t always prevent human error, however you can prevent this data being lost forever by having it backed up somewhere – this could include backing it up on the cloud or using an external hard drive.

Hardware damage

Damage to hardware can also result in data loss. This could be the result of accidentally spilling coffee on a laptop or a natural disaster such as a fire or even vandalism. Whilst you can prevent this damage by treating your devices with care, for those times when damage is unpreventable, you’re best off simply having data backed up. The cloud is the safest place to back up files – whilst you can use external hard drives and USBs, these will often deteriorate over time (if you’ve got a flashdrive that’s over eight years old, you may want to transfer some of the files elsewhere as these devices don’t last forever).

Software failure

Sometimes software can fail and result in data loss. This can be the result of all manner of faults from not cleaning up your computer to not running important updates. Software may even get corrupted from hardware damage. By keeping your computer well maintained you can often prevent this type of data loss.

Computer theft

Old-fashioned burglary is still a leading cause of data loss. By securing your devices and backing up files, you can usually prevent this. Businesses should consider physical security measures such as burglar alarms and CCTV to deter thieves. Keeping devices locked with passwords can also prevent thieves being able to access files even after obtaining your machine – modern computers are now using facial recognition which is harder to crack than a password.

Online Safety: Top Tips for Parents

Each generation of parents has something different to worry about — something that has changed since they were young. You might have had internet access when you were a teenager. It might have been an invaluable source when it came to tackling big homework projects, and you might have even made friends in the odd teen-friendly chat room. But, times have changed, and most of us look back glad that social media wasn’t a big deal when we were younger.

You might have had a Facebook page. But, the internet wasn’t like it is now. Nowadays, it’s a massive part of everyday lives. We’ve all heard horror stories about children and teenagers being bullied online and about the darker parts of the internet we’re all keen to avoid. As a parent today, the internet is one of our biggest concerns as our children grow. Even very young children have tablets and some level of internet access, which only grows as they do. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you to keep your family safe online.

Explore Together

Remember, it’s better that your children learn about the internet with you, instead of picking up bits and bobs here and there. When they are young, and first getting online, do it together. Show them some websites and apps that you think they’d enjoy and give them a little freedom to explore with you.

Put Safety Measures in Place

However much you trust your children, it’s never a good idea to let them out on the web alone without putting any safety measures in place. Set parental controls on younger children’s devices. Turn off in-app chat and location settings and use your own app to monitor their usage, these are inexpensive and widely available. For older kids, you might want to speak to them about setting their own safety and explain the importance of keeping some things private and hidden.

Talk About the Risks

You won’t want to tell very young children the worst horror stories out there. But, you can explain to slightly older children that the internet can be dangerous. You can tell them about people trying to contact them online and explain some of the risks. Tell them what they need to watch out for, and teach them how to report any suspicious activity.

Don’t Be Too Critical

If you are too critical, or too overprotective, it will become a secret. They’ll start to hide their internet usage from you. They’ll spend their time online behind closed doors. They won’t want to speak to you about it, and they won’t be comfortable coming to you if they are worried. Remember, children are curious, and that’s fine. Try to be understanding and supportive, even if you are worried or don’t approve.

Encourage them to Trust Their Instincts

Instinct is essential when it comes to safety. If someone started talking to you online, you’d get a feel for the situation straight away, and it’s essential that your children learn to do the same.

Chat With Them

Take an interest in their usage. Ask about games they play and the sites they use. Let them tell you about the things that they enjoy, and take an active interest, even if it means you have to listen to too many Minecraft tales. It’ll help to keep your relationship open and honest.

Top Study Tips To Ace Your Computer Science Studies

Studying a degree in computer science is a hugely rewarding choice with many in-demand career options to follow. Many pursue it through an initial love of gaming or coding and choose to make it into a full-blown career. If you want to constantly improve your computing skills or even develop a particular specialisation, taking an mcs online can get you there.

However, you will need the study skills to deal with a constant volume of new and complex information. So if you want to be the best, here’s what you need to know…

Get In Touch With Your Practical Skills

Studying computer science is a balance of theory and practical work, compared to other degree courses such as pure mathematics or history. Even the theory you’ll be learning tends to have a hands-on, practical slant. After learning a new skill, assessment will usually be by way of a practical exercise in a computer lab. Most courses combine this approach with traditional written essays or examinations as well, so you’ll have to be a versatile student to succeed, as comfortable demonstrating something as writing about it.

Set Up A Schedule

Studying at a masters level is a whole heap of work, so you’re going to need to become very good at time management, especially if you’re combining work with study and other commitments. Trying to leave your assignments or revision to the last minute simply isn’t going to work. So it’s a good idea to make time to plan out a study schedule that is realistic and works with your life. Make sure you’re also taking breaks occasionally as well. It’s very easy to get absorbed in a project and push yourself too hard, but you need some free time and headspace as well – and often that’s when the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for will happen.

Never Stop Learning

As computer science and technology are areas that never stop moving, you can’t afford to either. Studying the subject may give you a strong grounding, but you will still need to get on top of current developments. Try and tailor these to the career you’re planning – for example, if you want to get into software development, it would be a good idea to teach yourself several different programming languages so that you have all the practical skills you’ll need once you start job hunting. Do a little research about what you’ll need to know for the kind of jobs you’re looking at by browsing job ads on LinkedIn in and looking at the career paths of people doing the jobs you’d like to do. It’s also a good idea to pull your practical projects into a portfolio that you can show to prospective employers to showcase your abilities.

Make Contacts

The best thing about pursuing a masters is meeting other smart, motivated people who all have an interest in developing technological solutions. You can make valuable contacts and collaborators during your time on the course. So make sure to spend time getting to know the others studying alongside you, either in person or over study forums online. You never know where it could lead!

The InfoSec World Has a Python 2.7 Problem

Welcome to 2019, everyone! The future is bright, and I am sure we will all experience a lot of fun and unexpected things in the world of security. So far this year, we haven’t see anything along the lines of Specre/Meltdown, which helped usher in 2018.

One thing I did realize is that the turning of the calendar to this new year, remarkably, means that there is less than one year until Python 2.7 is officially “unsupported.”

Just check the Python 2.7 Countdown clock if you don’t believe me. Everything should be well on the way to Python 3 by now. Or so you would hope.

I find it somewhat humorous (mildly) that the infosec community still relies so heavily on Python 2.7, given its impending doom. I still see new tools being actively developed in this version of Python crossing my news feed almost daily. So many things on Kali Linux rely on Python 2.7.

I have oberved that longstanding, popular open source stalwarts of the trade have shown little interest in moving to 3.x.

I really have no idea what to do about this, other than encourage contributors to migrate, and to lend a hand if and where possible. But it’s getting really late, and I still have to use python2.7 far too much in my day-to-day pentesting and security research life.

How about a New Year Resolution?