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How One Click Can Keep Your Information Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Doing so much online banking, shopping, etc. opens us up to potential attacks—including theft and the abuse of personal information. That’s where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in.

woman using computer

Photo by Readers Digest

What is a VPN?

“A VPN is an online service that allows consumers to encrypt all their web traffic as it comes and goes from their devices,” says Ray Walsh, a technology expert at ProPrivacy. “This secures the data in an impenetrable tunnel that stops anybody from being able to analyze or steal their data and web-browsing habits.” In short, it’s the key to maintaining your privacy and safety.
Invisible surfing
According to Amy Smith, a senior technology analyst at Fit Small Business, a VPN is a bit like a personal cloaking device. “When you use a VPN, it encrypts your data, so it’s like you’re surfing the web invisibly,” she explains. “Your IP address is masked, too. So if there are any local network attacks with the purpose of stealing data, you’re much more protected.”

Who should get a VPN?

There are three main reasons a person might want to consider getting a VPN, according to Austin Norby, director of cyber initiatives at Blue Star Software.

  1. For connecting geographically distributed networks into a virtual/private network.
  2. For those who don’t want their Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be able to see their Internet traffic. “This does not prevent someone from eventually seeing your traffic, only those in between the two VPN endpoints,” says Norby. “This may or may not be a legal use of a VPN, depending on where you are in the world.”
  3. For those whose ISP prevents access to certain sites or content but allows for VPN traffic. “This can be used to fake a geographic presence somewhere else in the world,” he notes, adding that this may be another gray legal area in some locations.

Because the last two possible uses are potentially illegal, depending on where you live, Norby says of both points: “This is not legal advice or permission. Please consult with a lawyer in your area before attempting this kind of usage.”

What can a VPN protect users from?

“A VPN can protect people against badly implemented public Wi-Fi hotspots and purposefully set up ‘evil twin’ hotspots designed to help steal people’s data,” Walsh explains. “A VPN also stops local network administrators that are hosting Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, airports, or elsewhere from invading your privacy by monitoring the websites that you visit.”

And you’re not just being paranoid if you want that extra privacy protection while surfing on public networks. “It is possible for Wi-Fi-hosting venues to collect data about consumers, which is later sold in bulk to third parties such as data brokers,” says Walsh. “This means that any data amassed about consumers while they use public Wi-Fi could potentially be sold on for profit and end up in a database.” A VPN can prevent that.

Additional protection

Some VPNs can provide a little extra protection, if you know what you’re looking for. “Some VPNs might provide a service that scans for known malware or exploitation attempts in the traffic and removes that code or content and blocks those connections,” says Norby. But you can’t expect that from every VPN. “This is not inherent in VPN technology and requires that the VPN service provider is scanning your unencrypted traffic, which does tend to violate the principles some users are looking for when using a VPN—namely privacy,” he explains.

How expensive is a VPN?

“While there are free VPN offerings, many are capturing all your information and are barely more than thinly veiled malware,” says Dave Hatter, a software engineer and cybersecurity consultant who currently works for intrustIT. If you want a VPN that will truly protect you, he says it’s best to stick with software from well-known, reputable vendors such as Symantec and Nord. “You can get solid, quality VPN offerings very inexpensively, and it’s much less expensive than the cost of identity theft or having your bank account drained,” he adds. Currently, Nord has a VPN deal for $3.49 per month for three years.

VPN limitations

“There has been a lot of hype recently about VPN services and exactly what they can or cannot do,” Norby says. And that’s why he thinks you need to know about the following claims and limitations:

  • Traffic is only encrypted from VPN-endpoint to VPN-endpoint. This means that if you use servers to create the VPN tunnel and you must direct traffic through the VPN server in order to travel the tunnel, all traffic between your computer and the VPN server is visible. All traffic after the VPN destination server and the actual destination is visible (unless other precautions are taken).
  • When using a VPN service, the VPN service provider has the technical ability to read every single packet that traverses their network and log it for later consumption or distribution to ad services and/or local law enforcement. Whether or not this will happen is usually stated in their legal documents…which few people read. If privacy is of high importance to you, make sure to read those documents and understand exactly how your data will be used as it traverses the VPN service provider network. And remember that even if they say they won’t use your information, they have the ability to do so. Factor such possibilities into your risk calculation.
  • Antivirus or anti-malware services offered by the VPN service provider require them to scan your traffic. They can remove the malicious content from your traffic and that’s great. However, if they can remove content from your traffic, they can also add it back in, including malicious content, custom ads, custom tracking, and so on. Again, include that in your risk calculations.

How can the average person find the right VPN?

“The best way to get a VPN is to visit a legitimate privacy advocacy website that reviews and tests VPNs like ProPrivacy.com,” says Walsh. “Here, consumers can access honest information and guides designed to help them find a VPN provider that is suited to their needs and get it up and running problem-free.” Of course, if you’ve got children, you’ll want to take additional steps to keep your kids safe online.

Going international

While there are several VPN providers with servers in the United States, if you’re worried about the U.S. government’s prying eyes, you can choose a VPN with servers located in other countries, says Smith. “NordVPN is in Panama, CyberGhost VPN offers servers in 112 different locations, and VyprVPN Services has jurisdiction in Switzerland,” she notes. “For the best security of your data, do a bit of research into the location to ensure that your data is locked down thanks to specific privacy laws.”

A few final notes

“VPNs are popular all over the world because their advantages are universal to all people,” Walsh explains. “Online freedom and privacy are considered two of the most fundamental human rights in modern society, because the ability to access news and educational materials—as well as the ability to communicate freely both locally and globally—are vital to maintaining autonomy and self-determination both politically and within civil society.”

Plus, he adds, “VPNs are one of the few online services that allow consumers to escape tyranny, political oppression, and unfair corporate surveillance by actively protecting their data and therefore their digital footprint from unwanted surveillance. For this reason, privacy advocates consider VPNs one of the primary tools for gaining and maintaining a healthy online presence.”

Article by Leah Campbell and The Readers Digest

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/how-one-click-can-keep-your-information-safe-on-public-wi-fi/ar-BBXPkry?ocid=spartanntp

Clear Signs You’re About to Be Hacked

 

Slide 4 of 17: "When we recycle passwords, we increase the chances that hackers gain access to not one, but many of our online accounts. Instead of repeating an easy-to-remember password across multiple sites, a user should choose a unique password for each site. Or use a password manager."—Ashley Boyd, VP of Advocacy at Mozilla. Learn these 10 tech myths that you need to stop believing.

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/did-you-know/16-clear-signs-youre-about-to-be-hacked/ss-BBXmQ5b?ocid=spartanntp#image=3

Happiness in the workplace

By Carbon60

For many years, it was believed that a job was a function performed solely for the purpose of making a living, and personal happiness was entirely dependent on social life.

However, findings from a study conducted by the University Of Warwick show that when happiness is encouraged in the workplace, productivity levels can increase by 12%. When employees enjoy their jobs, numerous positive benefits can be realized by the business: people work more efficiently, are more open to new opportunities to learn and develop and build up a strong support networks.

Here are just some of the ways in which happiness can help in the workplace:

Happiness makes you healthier

The average person spends approximately 92,000 hours of their life working. Pursuing a job you enjoy can provide you with positive energy as well as confidence and motivation, helping you to succeed and grow.

Being happy can also lower your blood pressure and strengthen your immune system, resulting in fewer sick days.

Happiness inspires creativity

Creativity is no longer something reserved for traditional artistic industries. When you’re happy at work, you feel focused and comfortable, and ideas flow more freely. Idea generation is essential to innovation.

Promoting happiness in the workplace by facilitating opportunities to generate creative ideas – and rewarding them – provides great business advantages. Positive minds strive to complete tasks effectively and efficiently, which can lead to feeling valued and fulfilled through positive reinforcement.

Happiness is contagious

Happiness spreads throughout a company. The impact of this has beneficial effects, as a positive enthusiastic workplace environment encourages confidence, the opportunity for leadership, and happy employees to perform better.

Employees who take pride in their work make positive role models for their colleagues, and happiness can inspire ambition and drive.

Being happy provides a sense of purpose

We’re all working towards our personal career goals. It is important you do not feel unmotivated and under-appreciated in the workplace, as this can have a negative impact.

At Carbon60, our mission is to ensure we change the lives of our candidates for the better, by providing fulfilment and a sense of purpose to each individual within every job we place.

Happy employees stay with same business for longer

If you’re happy and satisfied with your job, you’re more likely to stay at the company for a long time, which can bring plenty of opportunities including promotion, long-lasting relationships between you and your key stakeholders and an increase in salary.

Happy employees communicate and collaborate more effectively

Good communication is an essential skill to practise with your employees in the workplace. Not only does this help to build friendships with your colleagues, it is also a great way to express and share ideas to increase creativity, and receive helpful feedback to ensure you’re fulfilled and gaining deserved recognition for your successes.

There are numerous ways that businesses and individuals can improve working conditions to promote happiness across a company. By highlighting these benefits to HR teams, office managers or line managers, you can be a champion for the importance of happiness in your workplace.

Even the smallest improvements can have enormous positive effects in the workplace, enough to make a difference to your happiness, your colleagues’ happiness and your businesses commercial performance.

For more tips and advice, visit Carbon60Built on the heritage of publishing indispensable job seeking and career building advice for over 13 years.  Headquartered in London.

 

 

The Role of a Support System

Image result for support system images

A well developed support system is an important element in managing stress.  When you are under job stress, you may experience doubts about your competence, develop unhealthy or unproductive patterns of thoughts or behaviors, or be fearful of trying new things.  Your support system can give you the perspective and encouragement you need to reduce the amount of stress you feel and to make it through the stressful situation as quickly and easily as possible.

Support System

 

From “Stress and Depression”, The Scholle Corp. handbook

The 3 Steps to a 5 Year Plan

 

Have you asked yourself lately, “What do I want from Life”, or where do I want to be in 3, 5, 10 years from now ?  Here is a simple 3 step guide to help plan out your next 5 years.  You have to do some heavy thinking to do here, but it will be worth it when you see your life goals unfolding in written form in front of you.

Organize and Design your Life Goals + 5-Year Plan | Goal Setting

Studies show that people who write down their plans are 33% more likely to meet them. But it can be difficult when someone asks you the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?” If you’re anything like me, this question throws you way off, so I embarked on the journey to write a 5 year plan as so many professionals suggest. My first task was to figure out what all goes into a five year plan. Your plan doesn’t have to be solely career goals. After looking at examples, I’ve concluded that pretty much everything can be placed in five groups: Career, Bucket List, Financial, Family, and Personal. My second task was to realize that you can’t really plan a five year plan, without knowing your life plan. It’d be like writing 5 chapters of a story without deciding the story’s plot.

So the first step to writing a 5 year plan: Write your life plan

Jot down all those life goals you want to achieve. Want to own your own company? Learn a language? Have a family? Write down everything and don’t be afraid to dream big. This is a whole lifetime we’re talking about after all! You can get a lot done!

Ironically, the second step to writing a 5 year plan: Write your 5 year plan

Look at everything you wrote down for your life goals. Now, what is the in-between from where you are now, and where you want to be? If your life goal feels like a far stretch from where you are now, try to think of your first couple baby steps. If you want to own your own retail store, maybe get a retail job and aim for manager! Want to be a author? Write the first draft for your first book! Everyone starts somewhere.

The third step to writing a 5 year plan: Write a Daily Plan

What can you do on a daily basis that will push you towards that 5 year goal, which will then push you towards that life goal? Grand plans don’t happen overnight, they happen in the day by day. Want to become Bilingual? That means daily practice. Want to pay off debt? Keep a budget.

Seems a lot more manageable broken down, doesn’t it? If you’d like a blank template of the above example, click the thumbnail below: 5 year plan blank

https://imanadultsonowwhat.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/5yearplanblank.jpg

Authors website:

https://imanadultsonowwhat.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/the-3-steps-to-a-5-year-plan/amp/