cybersecurity

Tips & Tricks: Android Load links in the background for more efficient browsing

Being able to load multiple pages from your social media feed, without leaving the feed at all – really is something that everyone should have.

Enter Flynx, a free app that allows you to click on a link and have it quietly load while you continue reading. When the page has loaded, Flynx will notify you with a pop up so you can have a look. When you’re done, you can drag it down to close it and go back to reading the original article.

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Tech Terms: Server Administrator

A server administrator, or server admin, has the job responsibility of managing and monitoring the performance of the computer servers in a company’s data center.

Also referred to as a systems administrator, server administrators work with servers and networks on a daily basis to ensure that the systems run efficiently and continue to operate without downtime or performance degradation.

Salary and Job Responsibilities for Server Administrators
Server administrator job responsibilities and typical tasks can include maintaining software and security updates, monitoring server activity and ensuring the availability of client/server applications, auditing server security, developing and refining processes for the ongoing management of the server and data center environment, and designing and installing new server implementations as needed.
Most routine server administration tasks are conducted during business hours, but server admins may be asked to work during weekends or weeknights to complete system upgrades or address major issues during these non-peak use times.

The average salary range for server administrators is currently approximately $65,000 a year, and server admins can pursue additional systems and server administration certifications through Microsoft, Cisco and similar companies to improve their potential for hire or increase their annual salary.

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Tips & Tricks: Customize Your Android Lock Screen

Make sure your phone is as secure as possible, through your choice of lock screens and unlocking methods. You can also set up additional lock screens for any apps that you’d like to be extra secure, such as Android Pay.

Tech Terms: Fog Computing

Fog computing is a term created by Cisco that refers to extending cloud computing to the edge of an enterprise’s network. Also known as Edge Computing or fogging, fog computing facilitates the operation of compute, storage and networking services between end devices and cloud computing data centers.

Cisco introduced its fog computing vision in January 2014 as a way of bringing cloud computing capabilities to the edge of the network and as a result, closer to the rapidly growing number of connected devices and applications that consume cloud services and generate increasingly massive amounts of data.

By handling these services that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) at the network edge, data can in many cases be processed more efficiently than if it needed to be sent to the cloud for processing.

Cisco’s IOx Fog Computing Platform and Edge Computing Competition
The fog computing vision has taken form in Cisco’s IOx platform, which according to a recent eWeek article, “brings distributed computing capabilities to the edge of the network by running applications directly on Cisco network devices, such as ruggedized switches, routers and IP video cameras.”

While Cisco may have coined the term fog computing, it has competition in the nascent edge computing market from companies like EMC, VMware, Intel and IBM, all of which are rolling out — or are in the process of rolling out — products that deliver edge computing capabilities.

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Tips & Tricks: Android Smartlock

Having to unlock your phone over and over again can be a pain. With SmartLock, you can set up your phone to always be unlocked when you’re at a certain location (home or work), or to unlock when the camera sees your face.

You can have multiple smart locks on at once, customizing it to your liking, so your phone is always at the ready.

Tech Terms: VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that is constructed using public wires — usually the Internet — to connect remote users or regional offices to a company’s private, internal network.

Privacy, Security and Encryption
A VPN secures the private network, using encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted. This type of network is designed to provides a secure, encrypted tunnel in which to transmit the data between the remote user and the company network.

The information transmitted between the two locations via the encrypted tunnel cannot be read by anyone else because the system contains several elements to secure both the company’s private network and the outside network through which the remote user connects through.

The first step to security is usually a firewall between the client and the host server, requiring the remote user to establish an authenticated connection with the firewall. Encryption is also an important component of a secure VPN. Encryption works by having all data sent from one computer encrypted in such a way that only the computer it is sending to can decrypt the data.

Main Network Protocols
There are three main network protocols for use with VPN tunnels. These protocols are generally incompatible with each other.

They include the following:

  • IPSec: A set of protocols developed by the IETF to support secure exchange of packets at the IP layer. IPsec has been deployed widely to implement VPNs. IPsec supports two encryption modes: transport and tunnel.
  • PPTP: The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is a technology for creating VPNs, developed jointly by Microsoft, U.S. Robotics and several remote access vendor companies, known collectively as the PPTP Forum.
  • L2TP: Layer Two (2) Tunneling Protocol is an extension to the PPP protocol that enables ISPs to operate Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Consumer Versus Corporate Services
Consumers use a private VPN service, also known as a VPN tunnel, to protect their online activity and identity. By using an anonymous VPN service, a user’s Internet traffic and data remain encrypted, which prevents eavesdroppers from sniffing Internet activity. VPN services are especially useful when accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots because the public wireless services might not be secure. In addition to public Wi-Fi security, a private VPN service also provides consumers with uncensored Internet access and can help prevent data theft and unblock websites.

Companies and organizations will typically use a VPN to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. It is also an excellent option for remote workers and organizations with global offices and partners to share data in a private manner.

Virtual private dial-up network (VPDN) Explained
One of the most common types of VPNs used by businesses is called a virtual private dial-up network (VPDN). A VPDN is a user-to-LAN connection, where remote users need to connect to the company LAN. Another type of VPN is commonly called a site-to-site VPN. Here the company would invest in dedicated hardware to connect multiple sites to their LAN though a public network, usually the Internet.

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Tech Terms: Word Processing

A word processor is software or a device that allows users to create, edit, and print documents. It enables you to write text, store it electronically, display it on a screen, modify it by entering commands and characters from the keyboard, and print it.
Of all computer applications, word processing is the most common. Today, most word processors are delivered either as a cloud service or as software that users can install on a PC or other device.

History of Word Processing
The earliest word processors were standalone machines similar to electric typewriters that debuted in the 1960s. The great advantage of these early machines over using a typewriter was that you could make changes without retyping the entire document. Over time, the devices acquired more advanced features, such as the ability to save documents on a disk, elaborate formatting options, and spell-checking.

While there are still some standalone word processors in use today, word processing began to move to personal computers in the 1980s. In the early days of the PC, a word processor called WordPerfect became one of the most widely used applications of any kind. Over time, however, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) word processors that showed users exactly what would print on their final documents became more popular. one of those WYSISWG word processors, Microsoft Word, became dominant in the 1990s.
With the advent of cloud computing in the 2000s, word processing changed again. The cloud allowed users to do their word processing via a browser-based application. While these cloud-based word processors lacked the advanced functionality of software installed on a device, they allowed users to store their documents in a remote data center and access them from any Internet-connected PC or mobile device. They also made it easier for geographically separated teams of people to work together on the same document. Many users found that cloud-based word processors offered enough features to meet their needs, as well as greater convenience, mobility, and collaboration support.

Standard Features of Word Processors
Word processors vary considerably, but all word processors, whether cloud-based or installed on a system, support the following basic features:

  • insert text: Allows you to insert text anywhere in the document.
  • delete text: Allows you to erase characters, words, lines, or pages.
  • cut and paste: Allows you to remove (cut) a section of text from one place in a document and insert (paste) it somewhere else.
  • copy: Allows you to duplicate a section of text.
  • page size and margins: Allows you to define various page sizes and margins, and the word processor will automatically readjust the text so that it fits.
  • search and replace: Allows you to direct the word processor to search for a particular word or phrase. You can also direct the word processor to replace one group of characters with another everywhere that the first group appears.
  • word wrap: Automatically moves to the next line when you have filled one line with text, and it will readjust text if you change the margins.
  • print: Allows you to send a document to a printer to get hard copy.
  • file management: Provides file management capabilities that allow you to create, delete, move, and search for files.
  • font specifications: Allows you to change fonts within a document. For example, you can specify bold, italics, and underlining. Most word processors also let you change the font size and even the typeface.
  • windows: Allows you to edit two or more documents at the same time. Each document appears in a separate window. This is particularly valuable when working on a large project that consists of several different files.
  • spell checking: Identifies words that don’t appear in a standard dictionary.

Full-Featured Word Processors
Most installable modern word processor software supports additional features that enable you to manipulate and format documents in more sophisticated ways. Full-featured word processors usually support the following advanced features, and cloud-based word processors may have some of these features as well:

  • grammar checking: Identifies sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation that doesn’t appear to meet commonly recognized rules of grammar.
  • footnotes and cross-references: Automates the numbering and placement of footnotes and enables you to easily cross-reference other sections of the document.
  • automated lists: Automatically creates bulleted or numbered lists, including multi-level outlines.
  • graphics: Allows you to embed illustrations, graphs, and possibly even videos into a document. Some word processors let you create the illustrations within the word processor; others let you insert an illustration produced by a different program.
  • headers, footers, and page numbering: Allows you to specify customized headers and footers that the word processor will put at the top and bottom of every page. The word processor automatically keeps track of page numbers so that the correct number appears on each page.
  • layout: Allows you to specify different margins within a single document and to specify various methods for indenting paragraphs.
  • macros: Enables users to define and run macros, a character or word that represents a series of keystrokes. The keystrokes can represent text or commands. The ability to define macros allows you to save yourself a lot of time by replacing common combinations of keystrokes.
  • merge: Allows you to merge text from one file into another file. This is particularly useful for generating many files that have the same format but different data. Generating mailing labels is the classic example of using merges.
    tables of contents and indexes: Allows you to automatically create a table of contents and index based on special codes that you insert in the document.
  • thesaurus: Allows you to search for synonyms without leaving the word processor.
  • collaboration: Allows users to track changes to the document when more than one person is editing. Some cloud-based word processors also allow multiple users to edit the same document at the same time.
  • Internet features: Allows users to embed Web links into their documents and format their documents for the Web. Some also link to Web services that can help users create their documents.
    translation and speech: As artificial intelligence capabilities become more commonplace, some word processors have gained the ability to read text aloud, to accept voice commands, and to translate text from one language to another.

Word Processors vs. Text Editors vs. Desktop Publishing Systems
Word processors are very similar to two other categories of software: text editors and desktop publishing applications.
Applications that support only the basic features from the first list above (and maybe a few others) are sometimes called text editors. Office workers sometimes use text editors to create simple documents that don’t require a full-featured word processor. However, text editors are more commonly used by programmers who use special text editors with features designed for writing code.

Desktop publishing systems, on the other hand, are generally more advanced and complex than word processors. The line dividing word processors from desktop publishing systems is constantly shifting as word processors become more advanced. In general, though, desktop publishing applications support finer control over layout, especially for documents with a lot of graphics, and they offer more support for full-color printing options.

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Tips & Tricks: Android Priority Mode

With Priority Mode on, only contacts that you’ve specifically selected will be able to interrupt you. This evolution of silent mode allows your most important people to get through to you, but keeps the rest of the world quiet.

This can be enabled by hitting the volume button, and you can change who is in your priority contacts in the settings.

Tech Terms: Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on shared computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.
In its most simple description, cloud computing is taking services (“cloud services”) and moving them outside an organization’s firewall. Applications, storage and other services are accessed via the Web. The services are delivered and used over the Internet and are paid for by the cloud customer on an as-needed or pay-per-use business model.

NIST Cloud Computing Introduction and Definition
The National Institute of Stands and Technology (NIST) has a more comprehensive definition of cloud computing. It describes cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

Characteristics of Cloud Environments
According to the NIST, all true cloud environments have five key characteristics:
On-demand self-service: This means that cloud customers can sign up for, pay for and start using cloud resources very quickly on their own without help from a sales agent.

  • Broad network access: Customers access cloud services via the Internet.
  • Resource pooling: Many different customers (individuals, organizations or different departments within an organization) all use the same servers, storage or other computing resources.
  • Rapid elasticity or expansion: Cloud customers can easily scale their use of resources up or down as their needs change.
  • Measured service: Customers pay for the amount of resources they use in a given period of time rather than paying for hardware or software upfront. (Note that in a private cloud, this measured service usually involves some form of chargebacks where IT keeps track of how many resources different departments within an organization are using.)

Cloud Delivery Models
Cloud computing can be divided into several sub-categories depending on the physical location of the computing resources and who can access those resources.

Public cloud vendors offer their computing services to anyone in the general public. They maintain large data centers full of computing hardware, and their customers share access to that hardware.

By contrast, a private cloud is a cloud environment set aside for the exclusive use of one organization. Some large enterprises choose to keep some data and applications in a private cloud for security reasons, and some are required to use private clouds in order to comply with various regulations.
Organizations have two different options for the location of a private cloud: they can set up a private cloud in their own data centers or they can use a hosted private cloud service. With a hosted private cloud, a public cloud vendor agrees to set aside certain computing resources and allow only one customer to use those resources.

A hybrid cloud is a combination of both a public and private cloud with some level of integration between the two. For example, in a practice called “cloud bursting” a company may run Web servers in its own private cloud most of the time and use a public cloud service for additional capacity during times of peak use.

A multi-cloud environment is similar to a hybrid cloud because the customer is using more than one cloud service. However, a multi-cloud environment does not necessarily have integration among the various cloud services, the way a hybrid cloud does. A multi-cloud environment can include only public clouds, only private clouds or a combination of both public and private clouds.

Common Cloud Service Models
Cloud services are typically deployed based on the end-user (business) requirements.

The primary services include the following:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS)
    SaaS is a software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service. Instead of paying an upfront fee to purchase and/or license software, SaaS customers pay a recurring (often monthly or annual) fee to subscribe to the service. In general, they can access the SaaS from any Internet-connected device, any time day or night. Well-known examples of SaaS include Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud and others.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
    PaaS is a computing platform being delivered as a service. Here the platform is outsourced in place of a company or data center purchasing and managing its own hardware and software layers. Most PaaSes are designed for developers and aim to simplify the process of creating and deploying software. For example, a Web developer might use a PaaS that includes operating system software, Web server software, a database and related Web development tools. The leading PaaS vendors include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google Cloud Platform.
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
    Computer infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networking delivered as a service. IaaS is popular with enterprises that appreciate the convenience of having the cloud vendor manage their IT infrastructure. They also sometimes see cost savings as a result of paying only for the computing resources they use. The leading IaaS vendors include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google Cloud Platform.

While SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are the three most common types of cloud services, cloud computing vendors sometimes also use other “as a service” labels to describe their offerings. For example, some offer database as a service (DBaaS), mobile back-end as a service (MBaaS), functions as a service (FaaS) or others.

Benefits of Cloud Computing
Consumers and organizations have many different reasons for choosing to use cloud computing services. They might include the following:

  • Convenience
  • Scalability
  • Low costs
  • Security
  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • High availability

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Tips & Tricks: Android Snap a Screenshot

See something on your screen you want to save or share? No problem: Press your phone’s power and volume-down buttons at the same time. That’ll cause the system to capture a screenshot, which you can then access and share via a notification that’ll appear on your device or via the “Screenshots” folder within Google Photos (or any other gallery app or Android file browser).