7 Tips to protect your online accounts

Criminals on the Internet are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more professional. In this article, we will show you how to securely protect your online accounts through seven simple steps.

The threat in the virtual space is growing dramatically. Through well-organized attacks in the past months and years numerous websites have been hacked, among them as prominent as Yahoo, LinkedIn and MySpace. Meanwhile over 2 billion user data are available on the black market or even publicly.

With these seven tips, you can ensure that your online accounts are protected against misuse:

1. Check whether accounts have already been pinned

With the Identity Leak Checker from the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), you can check whether identity data can circulate freely in the Internet and can be misused by entering the e-mail address. The security researchers behind this offer make it possible to match up with now more than two billion stolen identity data available on the Internet.

2. Use secure passwords

First, a separate password should be created for each account. Of course, it is more complex for each platform to use its own password, but there are two simple ways: The first is that you extend your secure password by one mechanism per platform. They can, for example, add the start and end letter of the respective platform. For example, your Google password might be G! 723nefvHu2634fn-e, and your Apple ID A! 723nefvHu2634fn-e. Or they use the first two letters of a service, the last two or any other mix, plus special characters. This means you only need to remember a single secure password and a consistent system.

Even more secure is to use a password manager that stores all your passwords and important connections. You enter your master password only once, and all remaining passwords are then encrypted in the system and are available in the browser and / or on other devices. Use tools like KeePass, 1Password or LastPass.

3. Use the backup address

Back up all pages twice where a burglary would have fatal consequences: Apple and Microsoft IDs, Google Account, e-mail accounts, shopping platforms, or financial pages like Paypal. Make sure that there is a second e-mail address that you can access. With this data, a compromised account can be quickly restored in the event of a case.

4. Do not use trivial passwords

The security company SplashData examines and evaluates millions of chopped user data every year. Just look at the current top 10 passwords from 2015 on the left.
Neither of these passwords would sustain a hack attempt for more than a minute.

5. Make sure you have sufficient password length

Criminals use Brute Force software, which has tried the most common password combinations until your password is found. All the words you can find in the lexicon, and especially names and easy-to-find information on your person such as first name, last name, places, date of birth or e-mail address are easy for professionals to find out.

Instead, use letter and number combinations, best mixed with lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as special characters. To make a brute force attack unprofitable, the password should be at least 8 characters long.

6. Aids for passwords

The problem: Safe passwords are hard to remember. Fortunately, there is a simple memorization aid. Simply embed a whole sentence that you can easily remember, such as “FC Bayern München was founded in 1900” – From this set you can now create a secure password by extracting the initial letters: “DFCBMw1900g!”
Another method would be to mix an easy-to-memorize word with a date. For example, the name of your first dog “Senta” and the date of birth of your partner is “! S14e02n77ta”.

7. Keep the equipment and systems clean

The best passwords are of no use if your devices are infected by viruses and Trojans. Once the malware is on the computer, criminals can use keyword loggers and sniffer to listen to all keyboard input. Entered strings after calling up email or banking applications are sent online to the perpetrators and their accounts are taken over instantly.

Secure yourself with antivirus and firewall and regularly check your PC, notebook and also your smartphone for pests. If you have a suspicion, run an online scan. Also, regularly install security updates to close gaps in the system.

Windows insignificant, Android strong as never

According to Gartner’s recent market figures, Windows smartphones are barely sold. Android, however, cemented its crushing market power.

The sales of Windows smartphones are literally collapsing. As the latest global sales figures from the market research firm Gartner show, in the second quarter of 2016 less than 2 million devices with Windows logo were sold. A year ago, 8.2 million units went over the ladder table. This results in a devastating minus of 76 percent.

Even more gloomier it looks with the market share of the Redmond-er. From already nearly 2.5 percent market share last year, the Windows Phones have now shrunk to 0.6 percent now.

Microsoft in July had due to these miserable numbers already screwed down its targets for the Windows 10 spread. The launch of the new
Operating system could not boost the smartphone business as expected.

On the other hand, the rise of Google’s mobile operating system Android is hard to stop. According to Gartner, nearly 300 million Android smartphones were sold in the second quarter, almost 10 percent more than in the same period of the previous year. This allows Android to cement its preeminence and comes to a market share of crushing 86.2 percent.

But the rise of Androids is also at the expense of the iPhones. A little more than 44 million iOS smartphones were sold in the summer quarter, a drop of almost 7.7 percent. The market share of the Apple smartphones thus fell from 14.6 percent in the previous year to 12.9 percent.

Blackberry’s in-house OS has become a mere footnote to the smartphone market. Just 400,000 machines were sold worldwide. This corresponds to a market share of 0.1 percent. No wonder the Canadians are currently switching to Android and do not make a bad figure.

Honor shows its designer smartphone Magic

For the three-year brand anniversary, Honor has shown its new Android smartphone Magic, which offers a curved display and comprehensive comfort functions.

With Honor, Huawei launched a brand three years ago, which is aimed primarily at young smartphone customers who buy online. In 2015, some 40 million units were already sold. At this year’s “Black Friday”, the Honor 8, which was offered for 299 euros, was one of the bestsellers in Germany.

For the anniversary, the Chinese have now shown the new Android smartphone Magic, which could also come to Germany. There is still no official statement from the manufacturer. In China, the device costs about 500 euros.

Octacore CPU and QHD display

Striking is the 5.1 inch Amoled dislplay with 2.560 x 1.440 pixels resolution, which is slightly bent over the side edges. The case is made of tempered glass and has a metal frame. The technical features include a Kirin 950 Octacore processor, a battery with 2.900 mAh, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of non-expandable data storage. The rear camera has two lenses each with 12 megapixel resolution, plus an 8-megapixel frontcam.

In addition, the smartphone has a comprehensive intelligent sensor and detection technology. The Wise Screen sensor allows users to unlock their mobile phones by facial recognition by taking it up and looking at the screen. The screen turns off automatically and is locked when the mobile phone is dropped or put into a pocket.

The Honor Magic Live System is designed to anticipate the user’s needs through predictive information, thus helping them to make their daily lives easier. This includes, for example, customizable recommendations based on users’ social entertainment with instant messenger apps. There, for example, blockbuster recommendations are displayed in conversations that revolve around films.

TCL assumes manufacturing and distribution of Blackberry devices

Blackberry and TCL have entered into a long-term license agreement, which includes licensing the brand and manufacturing smartphones. Blackberry is a pure software vendor.

Blackberry is transforming itself from the smartphone manufacturer to the provider of security software and services: the Canadians now a long-term license agreement with the Chinese TCL Communication, which here sold smartphones under the brand Alcatel, closed.

Under the agreement, Blackberry will license its smartphone software, including its associated trademark rights, to the TCL Communication, which will take over the design, manufacture, sale and customer service for Blackberry mobile devices.

Blackberry maintains software itself

TCL Communication will be the exclusive worldwide manufacturer and distributor of all Blackberry-branded smartphones, with the exception of the following countries: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Blackberry emphasizes that you will continue to develop and control all your security and software solutions, support your customers and maintain your own smartphone software.

The step is the consequence of the new strategy of Blackberry, which initially included the switch from its own operating system to Android. In addition, TCL has already built this year’s Blackberry smartphones DTEK50 and DTEK60, which were supplemented by the software of the Canadians.

It is expected that TCL will offer the Blackberry products next to the technically likely closely related smartphones and other mobile devices of its brand Alcatel. As there are also tablets and a first 2-in-1 device, the selection of Blackberry terminals could even grow in the future.

WeChat censors political chats

The Chinese Messenger service WeChat censors large-scale chats with delicate political content. This is what researchers at the University of Toronto have found out.

Censorship of online services: The popular Chinese messenger app WeChat filters messages on accounts with Chinese phone numbers according to politically delicate key words and censors group chats. Even if a user leaves and moves to a foreign number, the censorship continues, the researchers at Citizen Lab found at the University of Toronto. Blocked chat messages now disappear secretly, without the sender being informed as before about the censorship, as is apparent from the Friday results.

With 806 million monthly users, WeChat is the fourth largest messenger app in the world and the most popular chat program in China. The platform is deeper than others in all billions of people’s lives, as it offers widespread payment systems, shopping, information, taxi services and travel services in China. Chinese users spend a third of their mobile online time on WeChat, owned by the big Chinese technology company Tencent.

For the report entitled “One App, Two Systems”, the researchers at Citizen Lab tested 26 821 sensitive keywords about WeChat accounts in China, Canada and the USA. 174 of them triggered the censorship. It was mostly about the bloody suppression of the democratic movement on 4 June 1989, the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the Falun Gong movement forbidden in China, or motives with jokes or criticism of Chinese leaders.

“There is extensive censorship on WeChat, but divided across different dimensions,” commented Ronald Deibert, Director of Citizen Lab. By now being censored and the hint that a message “contains locked words”, WeChat also slides “deeper into a dark hole” because it does not give its users any accountability about its censorship.

Comeback from Nokia smartphones is getting closer

Nokia Android Phones 2017

The Finnish company HMD Global has now officially received the license to offer smartphones under the name Nokia. Already on the MWC the first models could be shown.

The comeback of the Nokia brand on smartphones is now safe: HMD Global has announced that the brand licensing agreement announced in the spring will now enter into force after the financial transactions are concluded. The deal included the HMD Global, founded in Finland this year, the Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile as producer and Microsoft as the current rights owner.

The company Nokia, which after the sale of its hardware division to Microsoft in 2013 is mainly active as a TK equipment supplier, receives from each sold device a license from HMD Global. On the Nokia website, a range of future phones has already been set up, which is still of little use.

The license of the naming rights is valid for 10 years worldwide except in Japan. HMD Global will continue to offer simple feature phones, as well as smartphones and tablets, under the traditional name of Nokia. According to the information on the Nokia website 2017, they are expected to come on the market.

HMD Global will also be represented for the first time at the Mobile World Congress at the end of February 2017 and could show the first new products there. Whether the Android smartphones and tablets to be launched in Germany will be available, but is still unclear. It would also be possible to initially serve markets such as India or Vietnam, where the Nokia brand is particularly popular thanks to its feature phones.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are creating anti-terrorist pact

A joint database of Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube is supposed to help against terrorist propaganda on the net. The US players want to more easily identify photos and videos of terrorist groups.

Special times require special measures: The otherwise heavily not known for collective alliances, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube go into the offensive in the field of anti-terrorism. They form a joint pact in the fight against international terrorism in the search results and the platforms themselves.

The core of the alliance is a cross-company database. With it it should be possible to identify photos and videos of terrorist groups. Already deleted content should be provided with a “digital fingerprint” and be exchanged among each other, writes Facebook in a blog post.

In future, it will then be possible to identify corresponding terror content during the upload. Data that makes users personally identifiable should not be shared.

Great goals

The individual companies can individually decide how and when the content is removed according to their own policies – and especially what is classified as terror propaganda.

The long-term goal, according to Facebook, is to make this data base available to other companies. Which technology is used for “digital fingerprints” is not clear.

In addition, the big US players like Facebook still fights the debate on “Fake News“. After the scandal surrounding the false news, which might also have influenced the outcome of the US presidential election, Facebook now applies a test to the messages that appear on the network.