Digital Minimalism

Minimalism is big these days. In particular, there’s a version of Minimalism called Digital Minimalism that’s quickly rising to prominence as our lives become increasingly tech-centric.

Personal technology like smartphones and tablets are enabling us to spend more and more time online. And as we do, many of us are starting to feel uneasy about this persistent ‘digital creep’—that steady march of gadgets and tech into every aspect of our lives.

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Before we get to Digital Minimalism specifically, it’s helpful to first understand Minimalism in general.

Josh Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, two bloggers largely credited with kickstarting the current Minimalist movement, define it like this:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

What is Digital Minimalism?

Digital Minimalism is a specific application of the general minimalist
philosophy to the role of technology in our lives.

Cal Newport has the best definition of Digital Minimalism I’ve seen:

Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.

“Digital minimalism” is the concept and strategy of how to embrace and enjoy the benefits that the internet, email, the web, smartphones, tablets, and other technology bring us, without becoming overwhelmed by the fire hose. It is about how to cope with email overload and information overload, how to reduce email volume or manage it more effectively and how to not just survive, but how to thrive in the age of distraction.

If the problem is “Too Much”, then the solution to the problem will always be “Less”. Digital Minimalism is the practice of learning how to achieve that balance without losing the benefits that technology brings us.

DIGITAL USAGE BY THE NUMBERS: According to the latest research from comScore’s 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus study:

  • Total digital media usage is up 40% since 2013
  • Smartphone usage has doubled in the last 3 years
  • 1 of every 2 minutes spent online is on “leisure activities” including social media, video viewing, entertainment/music, and games
  • 1 of every 5 minutes spent online is on social media
  • At the end of 2016, the average person spent 2 hours 51 minutes per day on mobile

If those stats aren’t shocking enough:

  • Last year, Apple apparently acknowledged that its device users unlock their phones 80 times every day.
  • Another piece of research from dscout claims the average person touches their phone 2,617 times per day (tapping, swiping, typing, etc.) — some people are even over 5,400 touches per day.

We have been interacting with devices long enough to know, fairly scientifically, that too much screen time is a health risk:

  • Basing our measures of success and well-being on social media negatively affect our happiness, stress levels, and feelings of self-worth.
  • From a physical standpoint, over-indulging on devices can cause ailments like eye strain, text neck, insomnia, and cybersickness or “digital motion sickness.
  • Increased use of chat and text to communicate is reducing our ability to read emotions and interact empathetically with each other.
  • Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a feeling of anxiety over the possibility of missing out on something, which many people experience when they discover that other people have had fun together, especially caused by things you see on social media.
  • The Fear of Being Offline (FOBO) is the lesser-known cousin of The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). FOBO includes the fear of not being able to get online and check what is going on in your social media feed.
  • Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

Tech is for making stuff, not feeling better. Use technology as a tool to accomplish your goals and aspirations. Don’t lean on it as a crutch for cheap emotional satisfaction or distraction.

YOU ARE A PERSON, NOT A PRODUCT

You are the product when you are using the Internet. You are data that is then sold to advertisers — that they then use to sell you even more stuff you don’t really need. Don’t fall victim to lifestyle inflation.

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Simplify your digital life:

  • Remove social media apps from your phone.
  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters that aren’t bringing you value
  • Turn off notifications from smartphone apps that are constantly distracting you
  • Go for a lunch break without your phone or tablet.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation.
  • Bring back the Sabbath. Use your day of rest as a day without tech.
  • Small Moves. Practice periodically leaving your phone at home, in the car, when you are on a walk, meeting for lunch, taking your kids to the park. People did these things just fine for generations. You can too.
  • Don’t keep your phone by your bed. Use an “old school” alarm clock.
  • Practice healthy sleep hygiene.
  • Go outside. Spend time in nature. Go for a walk after dinner.
  • Do it with your kids, friends, and family. Make a pact.
  • Track your progress. Make a chart, set goals. Use a pen and paper.
  • Keep a Journal. Note how do you feel. How does this change over time? What do you notice about your thoughts, feelings, moods, and interactions with others? Does it feel liberating? Empowering? Are you getting more done?
  • Build/Create something. Re-engage in an old hobby.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Read an actual book.
  • Go Analog. Start using pen and paper again for things like “to do” or grocery lists.
  • Incorporate into a dietary cleanse, fast, or other practice of food as medicine.
  • Stop taking pictures of everything and enjoy the moment for what it is.

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Join the movement. Take Part in the National Day of Unplugging 2019. The second Friday in March is National Day of Unplugging. This holiday consists of a 24-hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media.

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The History of the Day of Unplugging:

The National Day of Unplugging was created by Reboot, a nonprofit Jewish community that was originally established in 2003. However, you do not need to be Jewish, or even religious at all to participate. The idea behind the day was to challenge people to keep their electronic devices unplugged and unused for 24 hours in order to give themselves the chance to take a break and spend time relaxing with family, friends, or alone. This is definitely something that would be useful to everyone, regardless of religion or lack of it.

Reboot believes that such time taken to “reboot” or systems will make us happier, more content with our lives, and more aware of the things that matter.

Credits: nickwignallsloww.co,faceyourfobodaysoftheyeardigitalminimalism,nationaldayofunpluggingfullformsblog.trellohealthyhildegardperthnow@marny_lishmanCal Newport 

How to find ALL the saved Wi-Fi passwords in Windows 10

In my previous blog post, I had posted a detailed explanation on how to view the currently connected network Wi-Fi password saved in Windows 10 PC. On this post, we are going to see ALL the Wi-Fi passwords (currently connected and previously connected networks, even if you’re not connected to them anymore) saved in the Windows 10 PC.

There can be a lot of reasons as to why you might want to know the Wi-Fi password for a network you are currently connected to or you have connected in the past. For example, we need to enter the same password in another device. Or worse, we need the password of the Wi-Fi router which we aren’t currently connected to.

Windows OS normally saves the Wi-Fi passwords whenever you connect to any wireless networks. This feature reconnects the Wi-Fi network automatically for the next time.

But, Windows 10 does not show the saved passwords of other disconnected networks in settings directly. We can view all the disconnected Wi-Fi network passwords by using command prompt / Windows PowerShell or by using some external tools.

  1. Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell
  2. WirelessKeyView
  3. Wi-Fi password revealer
  1. Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell:

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X  à Click on Windows PowerShell (Admin)

Step 2: Run the following command to show all the Wi-Fi profiles saved on your computer:
netsh wlan show profiles

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Step 3: Now to view the saved password of a particular Wi-Fi network, type this command substituting “NETWORK NAME” with the Wi-Fi network you’re looking up:

netsh wlan show profile “NETWORK NAME” key=clear

Example: netsh wlan show profile “Mad’s Moto” key=clear

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You’ll see your Wi-Fi password in ‘Key Index,’ under Security settings.

You have to run the command with each Wi-Fi profile name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) to know the password.

2. WirelessKeyView: WirelessKeyView is a small freeware utility which will show you all your saved Wi-Fi passwords. WirelessKeyView recovers all wireless network security keys/passwords (WEP/WPA) stored in your computer by the ‘Wireless Zero Configuration’ service of Windows.

Version available: WirelessKeyView v2.05 (32 Bit & 64Bit).

NOTE: Some Antivirus programs detect WirelessKeyView utility as infected with Trojan/Virus. I had installed and tested on my laptop, didn’t face any issue. Safe to use.

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3. Wi-Fi password revealer: Wi-Fi password revealer(finder) is a small freeware utility which will show you all your saved Wi-Fi passwords.

You just have to download Wi-Fi password revealer, install and run it. There is no configuration required.

Wi-Fi password revealer

NOTE #1: This is NOT Wi-Fi password sniffer or stealer. It will only show your saved Wi-Fi passwords (which you have entered in the past).

NOTE #2: Administrator rights are required on your PC in order to decrypt stored passwords.

Source: guidingtech, nirsoft, magicaljellybean

How to find a Wi-Fi password on a Windows 10 PC?

If you are trying to see the password for the network that you’re currently connected to, follow these steps:

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X + C  > Click on Settings

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Step 2: Click on Network & Internet

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Step 3: Click on Network and Sharing.

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Step 4: When the Network and Sharing Center opens, click on the Connections’ Wi-Fi network link

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Step 5: Click the Wireless Properties button on Wi-Fi Status Window.

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Step 6: Select the Security tab and check the box to show characters to reveal the password.

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NOTE: You must have administrator rights to the computer to view this information.

Cloud Computing

Until the late 19th century, people produced their own power. They connected their horse, windmill or water wheel to run their own machines. However, in the late 19th century, power plants were invented to produce large amounts of power in a single unit and transmit to every home. Now, you no longer need to run your own power generator. You could just flick a switch.

Cloud computing is doing to computing what power plants did to power production 150 years ago.

Previously, companies and consumers just bought their own computers and maintained it. You will use your PC to store all your songs, videos, files etc. In the same way, your company will maintain its own servers for storing all the company’s documents.

This process is inefficient as maintaining computers is expensive. You need to do all the hard work like periodically buy new computers, update the OS, secure the system and backup the data periodically. Just like a power plant takes care of all the machines to just help your final output – electric power – a cloud computing company takes care of all physical servers so that in the end you just need your information.

The revolution in electric power production changed the world. In the same way, this is a game changer in computing.

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services over the internet on a pay-as-you-go pricing model.

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TYPES OF CLOUD COMPUTING:

Cloud computing is usually described in two categories. They are,

  1. DEPLOYMENT MODEL
  2. SERVICE MODEL

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DEPLOYMENT MODEL:

  • In public cloud, the services are stored off-site and accessed over the internet
  • It can be used by public
  • All hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider

Example: Amazon Web Service and Microsoft Azure

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  • In private cloud, the cloud infrastructure is used exclusively by a single organization
  • The organization may run its private cloud or outsource it to a hosting company
  • The services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network

Example: AWS, VMware

Hybrid cloud – a combination of public and private cloud – to meet their IT needs. For example, you may use private cloud capacities to run business-critical applications that require non-disruptive performance or store classified data, while using public cloud resources to meet computing needs during workload peaks or subscribe to project management or CRM software on SaaS basis.

SERVICE MODEL:

Explanation in completely non-technical and in simple terms.

Suppose you want to eat a pizza. So, you’ll have the following options

  • Go to the market and buy all the ingredients (dough, spices, cheese, etc.). Take it home and make it raw and put in the oven and that’s it. Enjoy your pizza. In terms of Cloud Computing, this process is termed as On-Premises where you do everything on your own.
  • OR……You can go to the market and buy a raw prepared pizza. You take it home, bake it and enjoy it. In terms of Cloud Computing, this process is termed as Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS) where you leverage the services of someone else to make your work a bit easier
  • OR…. You can go to the market and buy a baked prepared hot pizza. Take it to your place and enjoy it with a drink. In terms of Cloud Computing, this process is termed as Platform As A Service (PaaS) where you leverage the services of someone else (like Dominoes) more than that in case of IaaS to further reduce your workload.
  • OR…. The final choice is…You can go to a restaurant. Use their own dining. Order a pizza with a drink and enjoy it. In terms of Cloud Computing, this process is termed as Software As A Service (SaaS) where you do nothing on your own and ask someone else to do everything (E.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).

These Four Pillars (On-Premises, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) combine and form what is referred to as Cloud Computing service model.

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BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING:

  • Storage and Scalability
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Mobility/ Work from anywhere
  • Cost Efficiency/ Capital-expenditure Free
  • Enable IT Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Disaster recovery
  • Automatic software updates
  • Increased collaboration
  • Document control
  • Security
  • Competitiveness
  • Environmentally friendly

Source:   QuoraAnirudh SharmaNishant HimatsinghaniJanhvi Parikh, Balaji Viswanathan

How to Stay Protected Against Ransomware

How to Stay Protected Against Ransomware
                                           How to Stay Protected Against Ransomware

 

To prevent a ransomware attack, experts say IT and information security leaders should do the following:

  1. You can’t protect what you don’t know exists:

Developing an inventory of your assets is crucial. Keep clear inventories of all of your digital assets and their locations, so cyber criminals do not attack a system you are unaware of.

Be in a position to answer the questions instantly like:

  • How many PCs from a particular manufacturer do you have in your environment?
  • Which desktops/laptops are running an operating system that its vendor recently stopped supporting?
  • Which IT assets have a particular piece of software installed?

2. Keep all software up to date, including operating systems and applications:

Updates are important. They are available for both our operating system and individual software programs. Performing these updates will deliver a multitude of revisions to your computer, such as adding new features, removing outdated features, updating drivers, delivering bug fixes, and most importantly, fixing security holes that have been discovered.

3. Use A Supported Operating System:

Just because your old computer is still running doesn’t mean that you’re going to continue to receive updates. Both Apple and Microsoft stop providing updates for older operating systems. For example, Microsoft no longer provides updates for Windows XP, and Apple does not provide updates for early versions of OS X.

If the creator is no longer providing updates for a particular operating system, then that operating system becomes more dangerous every day you continue to use it. If a new vulnerability emerges, an update to remove the vulnerability may never be released. Virus writers know this and use it to their advantage, often preying on computers that are not just behind on a few updates, but computers still running an unsupported operating system.

Therefore, it is important that you are running a maintained operating system, one that is still receiving updates.

4. Use an Antivirus Program:

An evergreen solution to prevent against most threats is to use a good antivirus software from a reputable vendor and always keep it up-to-date.

5. Regular Backup your Files:

Back up all information every day, including information on employee devices, so you can restore encrypted data if attacked. Better safe than sorry.

3-2-1 Backup strategy is good.

3-2-1 strategy means having at least

  • 3 copies of your data
  • 2 local copies on different storage types
  • 1 backup off-site.

6. Segment the company network:

Don’t place all data on one file share accessed by everyone in the company. Separate functional areas with a firewall, e.g., the client and server networks, so systems and services can only be accessed if really necessary.

"Good network segmentation is not going to make it impossible to 
compromise your network, but it does make it more difficult."

        ~ Mat Gangwer, security operations leader, Rook Security Inc.

7. Train and re-train employees in your business:

Your users can be your weakest link if you don’t train them how to avoid booby-trapped documents and malicious emails.  As ransomware is commonly introduced through email attachments and links, arming employees with the knowledge they need to practice secure email and browsing habits can prevent many ransomware attacks from succeeding.

Train employees on how to recognize phishing attacks as well as best practices such as not opening attachments or links in emails from unknown senders, checking link URLs, and never clicking pop-up windows.

Training should be ongoing rather than a single session to ensure that employees keep up with new threats and maintain secure habits.

8. Develop a communication strategy to inform employees if a virus reaches the company network:

The speedy dissemination of information is vital in stopping an attack or the continuance of an attack. It is vital that all users on the network be made aware of an attack or attempted attack to ensure the vigilance of other users on your network. It is likely that other users have also received similar phishing emails and your quick response may prevent further damage.

9. Instruct information security teams to perform penetration testing to find any vulnerabilities:

The Penetration tests must be carried out periodically either by Third party organization specialized in Security Testing or by the specialized internal resource. Periodic assessment of its information assets, network equipment, and applications should be conducted and fixed all gaps found during the assessment.

10. Keep Your Knowledge Up-to-Date:

There’s not a single day that goes without any report on cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities in popular software and services, such as Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Mac Computers as well.

So, it’s high time for users of any domain to follow day-to-day happening of the cyber world, which would not only help them to keep their knowledge up-to-date but also prevent against even sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Mitigating an attack:

If your company is hacked with ransomware, you can explore the free ransomware response kit for a suite of tools that can help. Experts also recommend the following to moderate an attack:

  • Remove the infected machines from the network, so the ransomware does not use the machine to spread throughout your network.
  • Launched less than a year ago, the No More Ransom (NMR) project has started as a joint initiative by Europol, the Dutch National Police, Intel Security, and Kaspersky Lab, No More Ransom is an anti-ransomware cross-industry initiative to help ransomware victims recover their data without having to pay ransom to cyber criminals.

The online website not just educates computer users to protect themselves from                  ransomware, but also provides a collection of free decryption tools.

The platform is now available in 14 languages and hosts 40 free decryption tools,           supplied by a range of member organizations, which can be used by users to decrypt their files which have been locked up by given strains of ransomware.

  • Boston-based cyber security firm Cybereason has released RansomFree — a real-time ransomware detection and response software that can spot most strains of Ransomware before it starts encrypting files and alert the user to take action.

    RansomFree is a free standalone product and is compatible with PCs running Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as Windows Server 2010 R2 and 2008 R2.

Source: The Hacker NewsTech Republicsecurity.illinois.edudigital guardian.comSophosIt.ieCybereason

Incognito mode

What is incognito mode?

Incognito mode — also known as private mode — is a browser mode that gives a user a measure of privacy among other users of the same device or account. In the incognito mode, a browser doesn’t store your Web surfing history, cookies, download history, or login credentials.

Incognito mode

What does “doesn’t store” mean?

Well, as you know, browsers normally remember everything you do online: what you searched for, what pages you visited, what videos you watched, what you shopped for on Amazon, and so on. But in incognito mode, browsers don’t save any of that information.

 

When should you use incognito mode?

The simple answer is, you should use incognito mode when you want to keep your Internet activity secret from other people who use the same computer or device. Say, for example, you want to buy a gift for your spouse. You use your home PC to search for the best deals. You close the browser and turn off the PC when you’re done.

When your spouse uses the computer, say to check e-mail or Facebook, they are likely to see what you searched for, even without looking for it — either in browser history or in targeted ads. If you use incognito mode for your shopping, however, the browser will forget that history and not inadvertently spoil the surprise.

What else does incognito mode conveniently forget?

Login credentials and other form info. In the incognito mode, a browser won’t save login name or password. That means you can log in to Facebook on someone else’s computer, and when you close the browser or even the tab, you’ll be logged out, and the credentials will not autofill when you or someone else returns to the site. So, there’s no chance another person will go to facebook.com and inadvertently (or purposely) post from your account. Also, even if that person’s regular browser is set to save the data entered in forms (such as name, address, phone number), an incognito window won’t save that information.

Download history. If you download something while incognito, it won’t appear in the browser’s download history. However, the downloaded files will be available for everyone who uses the PC, unless you delete them. So, be careful with your My Little Pony films.

Are there other reasons to use incognito mode?

Incognito browsing is mostly about, well, going incognito. That said, here are a few more considerations.

Multiple accounts. You can log in to multiple accounts on a Web service simultaneously by using multiple incognito tabs.

No add-ons. This mode also blocks add-ons by default, which comes in handy in some situations. For example, you want to read the news but the page says “Disable your ad blocker to see this story.” Simply open the link in incognito mode.

How do you activate incognito mode?

In Google Chrome: You can use a keyboard shortcut or click. Press Ctrl + Shift + N in Windows or ⌘ + Shift + N in macOS. Or click the three-dot button in the upper right corner of the browser window and then choose New Incognito window. Click here for more info.

In Mozilla Firefox: Open the menu (three horizontal bars) in the upper right corner and click New Private Window. For more info visit this page.

In Microsoft Edge: Open the menu by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner and chose New InPrivate window. You’ll find more on that here.

In Chrome or Firefox, you can also right-click on a link and choose to open the link in a new incognito or private window.

To close this mode, simply close the tab or window. That’s it!

What Incognito mode isn’t suitable for?

It is always fine to use incognito browsing. But you need to understand what it can’t do. The first, very important thing to keep in mind is that incognito mode doesn’t make your browsing anonymous. It erases local traces, but your IP address and other information remain trackable.

Among those able to see your online activities:

  • Your service provider,
  • Your boss (if you are using a work computer),
  • Websites you visit.

If there is any spying software on your computer (a keylogger, for example) it also can see what you are doing. So, don’t do anything stupid or illegal.

Second, and just as important, incognito mode doesn’t protect you from people who want to steal the data you send to and receive from the Internet. For example, using incognito mode for online banking, shopping, and so on is no safer than using normal mode in your browser. If you do any of those things on a shared or public network,  use a VPN.

Source: Kaspersky Blog