Best Android-compatible Smart Door Locks

Smart locks add additional security layers and convenience to users; outperforming traditional home security solutions. Although smart technology is not new to the security industry, choosing between various smart lock designs and brands can be difficult. In the current market, new brands with appealing bells and whistles are constantly surfacing. Sticking to the fundamentals and understanding what to look for in smart locks protects modern consumers from subpar digital locks.

What are the Best Android-compatible Smart Door Locks in 2022

The best smart locks integrate seamlessly into a smart home system. Top of the line smart locks compatible with Android in today’s market include:   

  • Lockly Secure Pro Deadbolt
  • August Smart Lock
  • Google Nest x Yale Smart Lock
  • Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt
  • Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro
  • Igloohome Smart Deadbolt 2S
  • Lockly Secure Pro
  • Wyze Lock
  • Narpult Smart Lock Deadbolt

Is it possible for a Locksmith to open Smart Locks?

Due to the computer programming involved, smart locks function differently than traditional locks. Smart locks do not use traditional locking mechanisms and thus cannot be serviced by traditional locksmiths. Specialty locksmiths can however install, service, and help with emergency home lockouts among other obligations.

What are the most common smart lock issues?

The most common smart lock issue is a dead battery. To avoid inconveniences, it is important to replace your lock battery once a year. Twice a year is recommended if the lock is used in high-traffic areas such as hotel rooms. Other common issues include the bolt becoming misaligned with the strike plate. A specialty locksmith can readily assess and fix these and any other issue on the smart door lock. 

What skills does a locksmith require to work with smart locks?

To work with smart locks, a locksmith must have lock reprogramming tools and computer skills. Smart locks are more technological than mechanical, but they do contain mechanical components. A locksmith can assist you in the following ways:

  • Home lockouts
  • Alarm system installation and repair
  • Garage door lock maintenance
  • Window lock repair
  • Replacement of a broken lock
  • Working with high-tech entry locks
  • Installation of mailbox locks
  • Installation of master locks
  • New lock system installation

How can a locksmith assist you with smart locks?

A locksmith updated to the latest technologies can handle smart locks with ease. Depending on your requirements, they can assist you in installing the most dependable smart lock systems. Their extensive experience in the ever-changing world of smart locks provides them with the knowledge to assist you in selecting reputable brands. They can also recommend any additional technologies you may require. They ensure that your smart lock system is properly installed and maintained to avoid future problems.

Locksmiths can handle anything related to smart lock systems, such as:

  • Card readers
  • Key-fobs
  • Biometric technologies
  • Electric shocks
  • Systems with multiple paths

Are smart locks vulnerable to hacking?

Smart locks are controlled by a computer component that is vulnerable to infiltration if improperly secured. Hackers will typically gain access to the lock via your phone or the lock’s Bluetooth. The version of your lock’s mobile app may differ from the version of your lock’s firmware, compromising the system’s integrity. They may also attempt to compromise the wifi network to which your lock is linked..

What are the benefits of smart locks?

  • Work with a variety of doors.
  • Both keys and a mobile app can be used to open it.
  • They provide advanced security via biometric readers.
  • Some locks allow you to set a time limit for access.
  • Restrict access to a select group of people.
  • Restriction of access to specific areas of the house is especially important when visitors or children are present.
  • Change permissions for individuals who may have previously accessed the premises.

What are the drawbacks of smart locks?

  • Cyber attacks are a risk.
  • Lockouts caused by a low phone battery.
  • Faulty biometric recognition could result in a lockout.
  • A faulty lock system may allow unauthorized entry or refuse to open.
  • The lock may be vulnerable due to a lack of updates.
  • Installation costs are relatively higher.
  • Unlike mechanical locks, they are powered by electricity.

Who Shouldn’t Have a Smart Lock?

Due to the level of technology involved, smart locks can be a little confusing for some people. Smart locks may not be your best option:

  • If you don’t use a smartphone or understand how they work. Smart locks may not be the best option for you. Smartphones and smart locks go hand in hand.
  • You have a limited budget. Due to their reliance on electricity, smart locks are relatively more expensive to install and operate.
  • If you don’t have a consistent internet connection. A network connects smart locks to your smartphone key. Without solid internet infrastructure, the smart locks become less effective.
  • Don’t understand the fundamentals of cyber security. Individuals who lack common cyber security knowledge are more likely to be exploited.

When should you replace traditional locks with smart locks?

When you keep misplacing your keys and have access to your mobile device, upgrading to smart locks is a viable option. Also, if you have a smart-home setup, smart locks are a great way to supplement the technology because they can be controlled by Alexa and Google Assistant.

Conclusion

If you take the necessary precautions, such as hiring a qualified locksmith, you should be able to enjoy the same, if not better, security than traditional locks. Smart locks are taking over as technology evolves and appear to be here to stay. It is only beneficial to become acquainted with the new systems as soon as possible.

Apple AirTags and Myths of Tracking – Let’s Explore

With the growing concerns of AirTags used for tracking/stalking people and other items, Apple has decided to make several changes to AirTags in recent updates in order to control its unwanted tracking use.Apple AirTags and Myths of Tracking – Let’s Explore

AirTag was released back on April 30, 2021, with the aim to assist Apple users to keep track of personal items, such as a purse, keys, backpacks, and similar other valuable items via the Find My app. With close to its one-year anniversary, AirTag has received both good and bad reviews. Users have found AirTags useful in finding lost items. For example, a person lost his wallet on the subway but managed to track it at a station across town just due to the AirTag. However, there are bad reviews too mostly related to its criminal use in tracking others. Therefore, this article will comprehensively discuss AirTags, its tracking concerns, and the new expected updates. So, let’s get started!

AirTag Working Principle – A Quick Look

Before we jump on the rising tracking concerns with AirTag, it is important to have a basic understanding of its working principle.

AirTag uses ultra-wideband technology and an extensive network of existing Apple devices to help you track lost/stolen items. It sends a secure Bluetooth signal that is detected by nearby Apple devices in the Find My network. After receiving the signal, those devices send the AirTag location to iCloud. So, when you open the Find My app to track your AirTag, it will provide you with its location on the map. You can even use the app to let the AirTag generate some sound so that you can find it easily. Apple has ensured that the whole process remains encrypted and anonymous in order to keep users’ privacy protected all the time.

AirTag Tracking Concerns

When we look at the benefits AirTags have to offer, then indeed it is a device we all need. However, its advanced tracking capabilities have made a lot of noise over the past few months owing to its growing illegal use. A man was arrested in Connecticut and charged with stalking after an AirTag was found by the police in the victim’s car. Similarly, model Brooks Nader also once informed her followers that an AirTag was slipped secretly into her coat one night in NY city. Moreover, the police of multiple states have also shown their concerns and warnings about the criminal use of AirTags.

New AirPods are also coming with AirTag similar tracking abilities, but they are a lot more expensive compared to AirTags. Therefore, criminals are more commonly using AirTags instead of AirPods. But do only AirTags are involved in criminal tracking tactics and not its other competitors, such as Tile, etc.

AirTags are driven by over billions of Apple users, so the strong Apple ecosystem makes them separate from its competitors. Although there are still concerns about tracking with others, the massive Apple ecosystem makes AirTags an easier way to carry out criminal activities efficiently.

Apple’s New Updates for AirTags

In response to the issues users were facing with AirTags, Apple made a few updates in the past and is planning to make a few more recently.

Back in June 2021, Apple updated the software of AirTags and reduced the alert time, once the AirTag is lost from the owner, to 8-24 hours instead of 3 days. In December 2021, Apple released a Tracker Detect app for Android devices, which empowers Android users to scan for Find My devices near them that are separated from owners (for at least 10 minutes).

Now, Apple is focused to take aggressive moves to handle the criminal use of AirTags with many new changes in the upcoming update. Some of the key changes coming to AirTags are as follow:

  1. Privacy Warning at AirTag Setup Stage: With the new software update, Apple is going to display a privacy warning when the AirTag is set for the first time. The warning will narrate that the device is solely meant to track belongings, not to track someone without consent. Moreover, it will narrate that tracking someone with AirTag is a criminal act in many regions and that law enforcement can also request for identity information of AirTag owners.
  2. Precision Finding: iPhone 11, 12, and 13 users will get the “precision finding” feature that lets the recipient of an unwanted tracking alert find the unknown AirTag with precision. With this feature, users can see the direction and distance of the unknown AirTag when it appears within range.
  3. Change of “Unknown Accessory Detected” to AirPods Near You: Many Apple users have complained about receiving an “Unknown Accessory Detected” alert on their devices. Apple is now ensuring that this alert is not shown when an AirTag is detected and only shows when you are near any AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd generation), or any other Find My network accessory.
  4. Readjusting AirTag’s Sound: Users that receive an alert of unwanted tracking are able to play a sound from the unknown AirTag to find it. Apple is looking to adjust the tone sequence to make it a bit louder for easier detection of AirTag.
  5. Updating Online Support Documentation: Apple has also updated its unwanted tracking support article to narrate the safety features integrated into AirPods, AirTag, and Find My network accessories. The article now offers all the information a user might need to deal with the unwanted tracking alert.

Other than the above-listed updates, Apple is also focusing on other changes that can minimize the use of AirTags in criminal activities. Moreover, Apple is also working with law enforcement and is willing to provide the Apple ID details of the AirTag owner if the company receives a valid request from law enforcement.

Wrapping Up

There is no doubt in accepting the fact that AirTags are being used for tracking others. Many cases have been reported so far and users are becoming more concerned about it. All these events have triggered Apple to implement more strategic measures to control the criminal use of AirTags. The above-listed updates and many new ones that we expect to see soon are going to somehow reduce the criminal use of AirTags. So, let’s wait and see how this whole AirTag tracking scenario shapes up in the future.

Home Security Apps for Android and iOS Users

Feeling secure across all your digital and physical experience is important to our wellbeing. Home security apps allow you to monitor your property whenever you want and wherever you might be. By installing one such app on your Android/iOS device, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in your home in real-time.

Live video stream is just one of the many features you can use. Depending on the app, you might be able to turn on a motion detector, remotely control the locks in your home, use the microphone on your security cams, and so on.

If all this sounds good, you probably wish to learn which mobile applications will provide you with such features. To see which home security apps we believe are the best you can get, all you have to do is keep on reading.

Alfred Security App

Alfred Security App is probably the best free-of-charge home monitoring app. After installing it on your smartphone, you will be able to connect it to the security camera in your home, as long as it has Wi-Fi.

Depending on the cam, you might be able to get a remote view of your home through Alfred Security App, motion detection, two-way audio feed, and similar.

Still, the #1 selling point of this app is that it enables you to make use of your old smartphone. By using Alfred Security App, you can turn almost any mobile device into a security cam. To do that, all you have to do is install the app and turn on the security cam option.

Just make sure that you place the phone in a place from which it would provide you with a good view of your property. Also, it’s best to keep the smartphone-turned-security cam plugged in the charger. Otherwise, the battery might run out when you need it the most.

August Smart Lock

If you don’t already have smart locks installed in your house/apartment, we recommend getting the ones made by a home security manufacturer called August. The product we advise you to get is August Smart Lock, which is recommended by locksmiths as one of the most advanced solutions for home monitoring.

Not only is the lock itself very secure and reliable, but it also comes with a fantastic mobile app. Just install the August app on your device and you’ll be able to control the lock remotely. Further, you will also be able to connect it with other home security devices, including security cameras, window sensors, motion detectors, and so on.

tinyCam Monitor

This could be the very best mobile surveillance cam app for Android devices. At least that’s the impression we get from the fact that tinyCam Monitor is one of the most-downloaded apps in Google Play’s House & Home category. Nearly 80,000 users have rated the app so far, setting its rating to four stars (out of five).

What they like the most about it is that you can use the app to get live feat from most types of security cams. The app also comes with some interesting features like email motion alert, face detection, and so on.

i-Security

Here’s an app you can use to create a surveillance system using several different cameras. Plus, you can install the app on multiple devices, including not just mobile ones but computers as well. This way, you and your whole family can keep an eye on your home at any given moment.

A great thing about i-Security is that this is a cloud-based app. What this means is that instead of storing the security footage on your device, the app will store it in its cloud storage. So, even if you lose or break your smartphone, you will not lose the footage.

Alarm.com

Last, but not the list is an app that works equally well on iOS and Android devices. The Alarm.com app is what we’re talking about, which can be connected not just to smartphones but tablets and smartwatches as well.

It’s a fantastic home security app but keeping your home secure from burglars isn’t its only purpose. This app can also protect you from fire, water damage, carbon monoxide leakage, etc. It all depends on which devices you connect to the app.

The app is free if you’re using the basic package, which seems ideal for regular users looking to use their security cameras remotely. However, if you’re in need of more advanced features, getting the paid package is advised. With the premium (business) package, you’ll get such options as remote control of the locks, lights, and thermostats in your home. 

Final Thoughts

Home security apps allow you to monitor your property whenever you want and wherever you might be. These technologies are no longer new to the market. They are becoming established parts of our lives and soon may be as ubiquitous as our smartphones. Now is a great time to think about securing your home with one of these solutions.

Watch Out for Paypal Scams

It is critical that online transactions, particularly financial ones and those involving the exchange of private and extremely sensitive information, are approached with a high level of caution. This means, whenever you are required to enter a username, password, or other information to access an important account. After all, the loss, theft, or compromise of this data can easily affect our lives in a very negative way. Namely, when it comes to financial transactions millions of people use trusted and well-established online companies such as PayPal.

Cybercriminals and scammers are also aware that millions of people use PayPal where they keep money, card information, names, addresses, and more. Such ill-intentioned individuals or groups are always on the prowl to compromise victims by orchestrating schemes, scams, or attacks on vulnerable entry points. For these reasons and many more which we will cover below in-depth, you must understand the many risks out there and pay attention to PayPal scams

What is PayPal?

PayPal is one of the largest payment processors in the world, and probably the most widely-known online payment processor, with an estimated 500 million accounts registered across almost 400 million active users. PayPal began its life in the late 1990s under the name Confinity, and was quickly purchased by eBay at the time for $1.5 billion in 2002, although PayPal is now holding on its own. In fact, PayPal was purchased and sold more than once. Over 85% of online buyers prefer PayPal for its stability, security, and smoothness. The average user also conducts 40 transactions per year, and the average PayPal user has an estimated $480 in their accounts on average. In the U.S PayPal accounts for 25% of online transactions. The company has averaged almost $6 billion in revenue each year. Furthermore, PayPal is constantly innovating, for instance now entering the digital asset markets and allowing users to easily buy cryptocurrency. It is probably the most trusted payment platform in the world and as such has a lot of weight on its shoulders because of its solid, decades-old reputation. A company with so much power and responsibility has to have top-notch security and privacy measures, not to mention protecting their own databases filled with customer information and all kinds of money. 

How to Avoid PayPal Scams

As one of the most widely used companies in the world that are constantly registering growth, PayPal, is a giant bullseye for cybercriminals and scammers looking to find victims and prey on their accounts in various creative ways using several tools at their disposal. Since PayPal is an online platform, the risks are automatically present simply because it operates in the risky realm of cyberspace. Any online platform of this size has to take into account server security, access security, and customer compromise. It is not always easy to secure such a large platform and protect all customers meanwhile offering a streamlined high-class experience, particularly from socially engineered scams such as email phishing. Several other examples of such risks are as follows;

  • Hackers claiming there is a problem with your account
  • Promotional offer scams
  • Awaiting money scams
  • Advance payment scams
  • Shipping address scams
  • Accounts being directly hacked
  • Alternative payment request scams
  • Overpayment schemes
  • Pending payment schemes
  • Fraudulent charity schemes

As you can see, there is no end to the creativity of money-hungry scammers and criminals. This is that which has them scrambling for solutions and that which motivates them most. Quick profits are also what can turn scammers and cybercriminals into merciless killers, unfortunately, such is the nature of money and power. All of these schemes can be orchestrated across several platforms, particularly via email, and social media websites such as Facebook or Instagram. It does not end there, though, as you are also vulnerable to SMS scams, and the hacking of your WiFi hotspot.

The top three most common PayPal scams are what is widely known as ‘problem with your account, ‘promotional offer’, and ‘money waiting’ scams. Not surprisingly, all three of these involve socially engineered email phishing techniques. This is simply because this is the simplest, least effort way to make a quick profit. All three of these scams will involve an email (obviously from a fake sender) that is either urging you to do something or trying to emotionally involve you in clicking a link or downloading an attachment in the email. This is what is known as a ‘phishing’ (fishing) email that tries to bait the user into complying.  

What you can do to avoid all of this is quite simple, however easily overlooked by millions of people that entrust their devices, the security of their devices, and the intentions of others to an irrational extent. Here is what you need to understand and turn into a habit;

  • Be suspicious of every email you receive, and always, always check the sender’s email address because email addresses can be easily spoofed and mimicked today
  • PayPal emails that do not address you by name are 100% fraudulent
  • Never interact with any emails urging you to provide sensitive information or download software
  • Do not click on links in an email before you confirm the above information
  • Always choose your shipping method
  • Block package rerouting with your shipping organization
  • Never deal with anyone else other than verified buyers and sellers online

Remember the adage “if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck.” So, if you ever suspect something is off, your instincts may be trying to warn you. For this reason, it is critical that you also set up spam filters in your email accounts, use antimalware and antivirus software, conduct your transactions with a VPN activated in the background, and never use a public WiFI hotspot to access PayPal or purchase items online. Adding to that, heed the recommendations above and you will avoid %99 of problems millions of uninformed users face daily.

Finally, in addition, here is how PayPal themselves can protect you (to an extent); Paypal Buyer Protection and PayPal Seller Protection.

Secure Your iPhone: How to Do It?

iPhones have impressively strong security systems and are much more likely to deter any attack on the device than other smartphones. Yet, it does not mean that iPhone users have nothing to worry about. There are still many vulnerabilities that iPhone users have to think about and which require users’ additional attention and action. Here’s how to make your iPhone even more secure than it already is.

Get a VPN

While the iPhone’s system may be secure, not every network you connect to will offer the same protection, and most of us switch between a couple of networks daily. This is why having a VPN on your iPhone is so important. While many people think of VPNs as strictly tools for desktop computers or laptops, your phone is vulnerable too. This is especially urgent if you store important data on your phone that could be accessed through an unsecured connection. Get a USA VPN compatible with your device and requirements and secure your phone from snoopers.

Pay Attention to Permissions

No one likes to read neverending terms and conditions, and no one likes to read the fine print on permissions either. We have become way too liberal with which permission we grant to various apps and websites without even thinking about the implications. Most of us don’t bother reading these texts because we are in too much of a rush to get the app or go to the website for some quick entertainment. But in the process, we forget to think about our own safety and threats to our privacy. Try to get into the habit of reading the fine print on the permissions you are enabling, and try to be pickier about what you allow on your phone.

Limit the Number of Apps on Your Phone

We absolutely don’t need to have 200 apps on our phones, especially when they are interchangeable. On the other hand, we have to be careful about which apps we keep since we have to hand over our emails and personal data to each and every one of those apps. Fake apps can be difficult to spot, and they can often conceal malware without showing any signs of it. Stick with apps that have a lot of reviews and have been around for at least some time, and don’t just download every new shiny thing that comes out. You don’t know if the app is legit or not, and you could be risking a lot by handing over personal information.

Keep Up With the Updates

Make sure to update your system and apps regularly. Most people overlook the importance of updates, but that is because they don’t know how important updates are for your safety online. Even though on the surface it may seem like a boring, routine task that serves no purpose, updates protect your device from new types of malware and attack techniques, ensuring an increased level of security overall. You can either enable automating updates on your phone or do it manually every time an update is available. Whichever method you choose, just make sure your system isn’t outdated and that you keep your apps safe with updates.

Avoid Getting  Juice-Jacked

You may have never heard this term before, but “getting juice jacked” is a common way to attack iPhones and gain access to the data stored on the device. This is a practice that uses public USB outlets as baits. For example, the USB outlets at train stations, airports, different public spaces, including cafes, can hide a device that will install malware into your iPhone without you even knowing! A way to avoid that is to use your own charges or use USB data blockers when using a public USB outlet instead.

Top Online Methods to Try When You Want to Verify Someone’s Identity

In the modern world, where many people do not know their next-door neighbors, it can be difficult to find out information about a stranger. The Internet has made verifying someone’s identity much easier. In fact, there are various ways to check someone’s online digital footprint and ensure that they have a history of being who you think they should be. So here is how to do just that.

1. Background Check Sites

There are many background check sites that provide information on someone’s past. These sites can help you verify a person’s identity as well as provide information such as marital status, possible aliases, and the last known addresses. You can even use these sites to unearth criminal records or determine if someone has held multiple jobs. Once you have the results of your online search, it is up to you whether to initiate contact with the individual in question. There are also some top sites where you can get the details of any individual. If you want to verify someone’s identity or simply want a peek into their personal lives, social media is a great place to start checking their background. If the person in question has a Facebook profile, for example, you can see what they’ve been up to recently and who is important in their life. Google Plus, Twitter, and LinkedIn are other big social media sites that can provide insight into someone’s life. You might not get the full picture right away since people tend to curate their profiles, but you will start to see patterns of behavior which you can use to determine if they are someone worth knowing.

2. Automated Phone Calls

With an automated phone call, you can take information that is available online and use it to verify someone’s identity. It is the easiest way to do so, since you simply need to gather all the information that you have found on them and input it into your phone call. Then, you can just sit back and relax as your phone call does the work for you. The automated phone calls cost less than $1 each, so it is a really inexpensive way to get all of this information. This is an especially great way for people who are interested in online dating to see if the person that they are talking with is telling the truth about their identity. It is beneficial because it can save you a lot of time and stress later on. And it is easy to use, so anyone who wants to know the truth about someone’s identity will love it. Lately, there has been a lot of prank calling everywhere in the world, so using this type of technology to do a background check can help you prevent getting pranked by someone.

3. Public Records Search Sites

Sites that provide public records, such as familysearch.org and ancestry.com, can also help you verify someone’s identity if you input the right information into your search engine. If you are unsure about whom the person is that you are talking with, simply search their name on one of these sites. You will have access to records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates if they are available. These sites generally have more information than other background check sites, so it can be much easier to find someone’s true identity with them. And because not every site has all records, this makes it even easier to verify someone’s identity since you have access to more information online. Once again, once you have found out the truth about this person that you want to know a bit more about, it is up to you whether you want to continue getting in touch with them online through chat rooms or social media platforms.

4. Credit Reports

A credit report is another way to see someone’s identity if you are trying to verify it. These reports are an easy way to tell if the person in question is trustworthy or not. If you are thinking of doing business with someone, for example, a credit report can be a great way to find out more about them and what they have been up to financially in the past. It will let you know their debts and how much money they have access to at any given time so that you can determine whether it is a good idea for this person to invest money into your project. You will be able to see if they have been paying bills on time and if there are any outstanding court cases against them, which could indicate that they might not be as trustworthy as they claim. Since these reports cost around $10, it won’t break the bank to take a look at someone’s credit report before you invest your money into their business. It is also beneficial for people who are just simply curious about what they can find out through a credit report since it isn’t expensive, and it offers great insight into the person that they are trying to determine if they are involved in some legal troubles.

5. Search Engines

When all else fails, you can always search for information about this person on Google or Bing. Since everyone has access to these types of searches, it will be easy for you to see if the information that you have gathered checks out by looking at their previous results online. If there is no evidence of what you have found on them, then it might be best to continue your search and look for the truth elsewhere. But if everything lines up, then you will know that person’s identity is true and that they are who they say that they are. It will also save you time in figuring out what other ways there are to find this information out, since it is such a simple way to gather evidence about someone’s background check. The internet has become such an easy tool to use when trying to discover the truth about someone’s identity, so why not give it a shot! You never know what kind of information could pop up online while you try searching for it.

6. References

Next,  you can always go with a method that is more straightforward by asking the person for a list of references. While this might not be as easy as running a check on someone’s identity, it will also give you an insight into who they are and what their life has been like up until now. This simple step could lead to some great information about whether this person is telling the truth about themselves, since you will have people from their past that can verify if they really attended college or where they worked for that many years. Employers do this all the time as part of the interview process, and it is such a great way to see if what they are saying about themselves is true. If you have a lot of trouble getting in touch with their references, then you might have some doubts about this person’s identity. But if everyone that they claim to know ends up giving a glowing review about them, then there is a good chance that you can believe what they say about their background checks. If this is just a regular person, however, you can ask for information from their friends. 

7. Classified Ads

Classified ads are a great way to find out about someone’s identity since you will be able to get information about them that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. You can put an ad in the local newspaper or on Craigslist and get some responses from people who know this person. This is sort of like doing a reference check, but not always having to ask for verification themselves by someone they know. It is an easy way to get access to valuable information about their past since it will come right from one of their friends instead of asking them directly. If you are trying to figure out if they have any convictions, then you should search the local paper for evidence of this, since they might not answer questions themselves. It is a great way to narrow down your focus and to get the answers that you need fast, so you don’t have to spend too much time searching for this information.

8. Private Investigators 

Lastly, if none of these methods work, then you can always go with a private investigator to find out what you need to know about this person. You can hire someone who will be able to provide you with the information that you are looking for easily without having to go through all of these methods yourself. They will have access to everything that you need in order to see if someone’s identity is true or not, so it is definitely worth hiring one when looking online. There are some risks involved since they could turn out to be unreliable, but the risk might be worth taking when trying to figure out if somebody is lying about their background checks. If they get caught lying, then there could be legal problems and other repercussions, so make sure that this person really knows what they are doing before paying them any money for it.

So, verifying someone’s identity can be done using several methods, so why not give one of these ideas a shot to see how easy it is? With all the information online today, it makes verification so much easier than before, so  why not see how it works! You never know what kind of evidence that you will find!

Credit Monitoring Vs. Identity Theft Protection – What’s The Difference?

Credit checking and identity theft protection are two services that are often confused because they both monitor your credit reports. However, they accomplish this task in different ways. Understanding the difference between the two is essential to making the best choice for your needs. They are both services that help protect you from identity theft. Monitoring your credit involves a company alerting you to changes in your everyday usage, credit rating, etc. On the other hand, identity protection helps prevent fraudulent activity on your credit card or bank accounts and tracks any changes in those accounts. But what’s the difference between these two types of fraud protection, and who should choose one over the other?

What Is Credit Management?

Credit checking looks at your credit score, how much activity you do, and what is going on with your finances. It also lets you know when there are any changes in your score to give you a heads up about potential problems. In the digital era, where people spend their time on social media and apps, it is common to see people getting into debt. Without proper knowledge of what is going on with their finances, they can get into a lot of trouble. Individuals can establish control over their spending habits to avoid ending up in too deep of a hole by using a credit monitoring service. It has become an essential tool for consumers who find themselves missing financial information from credit cards or other sources. It allows users to stay informed about their credit status and make necessary changes.

How Does It Work?

It is essentially a method of detecting credit card fraud or identity theft and involves looking for patterns in the usage of an account. Monitoring can be utilized by consumers or businesses to detect and monitor their credit card usage patterns, check their accounts when they are not physically present, and prevent fraud. The monitoring system alerts users when suspicious activity takes place in their accounts. This includes purchases made on the Internet with a different billing address than the billing address on file, buying goods online with a different shipping address than the one on file, or using an ATM that has been reported as fraudulent in recent days.

It is mainly used by people who have been victims of fraud, identity theft, or even just to monitor their own spending. The system uses various techniques such as credit scoring, credit history, and monitoring alerts to identify entities that have gained access to your personal information by impersonating you. Monitoring tools have been around for quite some time. However, the tools have recently gained more popularity due to their ability to assess your financial history and help manage debt. The most popular tools analyze credit accounts such as those with cards or loans from different banks or institutions such as rent, utilities, mortgage, etc. Some of the common types of data that are analyzed are:

  • Credit card purchases: Patterns and uses will be picked up and analyzed to see any discrepancies between your everyday usage and what is happening. If it sees something suspicious, it will usually send an alert to warn you about what is occurring.
  • Payments: In some cases, thieves will use your credit card to pay off their own obligations. In this case, you will receive an alert asking you if you have set up a new payment.
  • Bank account balances: Many people want to know if their bank balance is approaching a designation amount. If so, they can get informed that they are nearing that amount soon and should take action if required.
  • Credit report: Your credit report can make getting out loans easier or more challenging depending on your rating. Therefore, getting notified if your rating has decreased or increased is worthwhile.

What Is Identity Theft Protection?

Identity theft is a serious threat and can ruin your life if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Identity theft services go one step beyond what a typical monitoring service can provide. Identity theft protection services are vital for protecting yourself from identity theft. They help you monitor your financial transactions, credit reports, and tax filings for signs of fraud or other irregularities. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personally identifiable information, or PII, to commit fraud or other crimes. 

Personal information is any data used to identify an individual, whether collected directly from the individual or acquired from a third party like credit bureaus or social media websites. Identity theft protection services often include monitoring your credit report, and they can also include monitoring your health insurance and banking activity. In some cases, you can even get identity theft insurance designed to cover some or all of the costs associated with having your ID stolen. These services do not verify the validity of claims made by identity thieves, but they do alert you when they are made and provide you with advice on how to take preventative measures. The primary services typically include:

  • Coverage for ID theft
  • Monitoring of personal information
  • Monitoring of Social Security numbers
  • Monitoring changes of address
  • Monitoring of court records
  • Monitoring of non-credit loans
  • Updates on data breaches
  • Notifications of new credit cards and bank accounts

Who Needs These Services?

When it comes to credit management, almost everyone can benefit somehow. As previously mentioned, it can cover a range of things, from your credit score to analyzing spending patterns that seem unusual. It is a similar situation regarding identity theft protection services. Identity theft is a big problem in today’s society, with millions of people affected each year. With the right identity protection service, you can eliminate a lot of the stress that comes along with this type of situation. Everyone should be cautious about their online accounts and digital devices because the risk for identity theft is high. Identity protection is highly recommended for all people to avoid being scammed and having their ID stolen.

If you’re concerned about identity theft, you must be diligent and proactive. Identity theft protection is good, but it doesn’t replace credit reporting. To truly protect against identity theft, you should have both services in place.

8 Home Security Tips To Keep Your Family Safe From Burglars

One of the very first things families consider when looking for a new place is the safety of the neighborhood. Home safety measures have evolved tremendously over the past, but with this evolution, the crime rate has also significantly increased. According to FBI statistics, a burglary occurs every 30 seconds in the United States. Therefore, when you move to a new house, decorating the place should come second, the first thing you should do is set up the necessary security measures to deter any potential burglaries. While home burglaries may seem random, they are actually based on a pretty simple selection process. Burglars choose a house that looks unoccupied, has easy access and has good cover. To help you with your security checklist, here are 8 home security tips to keep your home and family safe from burglars. 

1. Lock The Windows 

Windows are the most common entry point for burglars, so the first line of defense against intruders would be to lock your windows properly. However, traditional window latches and locks aren’t always effective. Criminals can easily pick a window lock, or even break a window to enter your house. The solution is to invest in some aftermarket window locks or key operating levers that come with an added level of security. Other alternatives can include: 

  • Reinforce window glass with security films. This helps prevent the glass of your windows from shattering and hence effectively stop window break-ins. 
  • Install window sensors that alert you when someone’s trying to pry open your windows from the outside. These sensors also alert you when the glass is broken. 
  • Add window bars that provide the highest level of protection. With these, there’s no chance a burglar will even think of entering your house through the windows. 
  • Plant bushes with thorns and pricks under the exterior side of your windows. 

2. Secure The Doors 

Don’t give easy access to the burglars by leaving your doors unsecured. This does not imply that you should simply lock your doors and hope for the best. Many robbers knock down doors to gain access to a home. What you need is an extra layer of security, which you can achieve by adding a deadbolt, a strike plate, switching to smart locks, or purchasing a video doorbell. This way, you’ll always be able to keep an eye on your front door. Plus, smart locks require secure authentication that only you or your family members can provide, and if the intruders try to break the door down, the sensor will alert you no matter where you are. 

3. Get Outdoor Lights 

With ample outdoor lighting, burglars will be put on display if they try to break into your house, and therefore, they usually avoid breaking into homes with a lightened landscape. You can install lights along your front and backyard, pathways, near the garage, and around other outdoor structures. Not only will this make the burglars think twice before trying to break into your house, but will also help prevent you from tripping in the dark. If you’re worried about your carbon footprint when using so much energy, convert to solar-powered lights.  

4. Invest In A Home Security System 

Your house should have some type of security measure to help prevent break-ins, whether it’s a simple alarm system or a high-tech, automated system. There are numerous options when it comes to a home security system, you can purchase one that meets your security needs and budget. When purchasing a security system, you should consider these factors: 

  • Whether the system will need to be installed by professionals.
  • Research the brand’s reputation and customer service. 
  • Whether the system has any extra benefits like smoke or carbon monoxide detection. 
  • The installation and monthly charges. 

5. Add Security Cameras 

Having a security camera installed outside your home will not only act as a deterrent for intruders and burglars but also provide you with evidence in case a robbery does take place. Many robbers and porch pirates have been caught because their faces got identified through the security footage. Whether you get a security camera as a part of a home security system or separately, you should opt for one that connects with your smartphone so that you can keep an eye on your place in real-time, and store the footage in case you ever need it.  

6. Eliminate Hiding Places 

Trees, shrubs, and plants may give your home a nice appeal, but they also provide the perfect hiding place for burglars. Therefore, you should always keep the trees and shrubs near your windows trimmed down. You can also opt for smaller flowers and bushes instead of large trees. Eliminate any other potential hiding place that would provide cover to a thief, and give them easy access to enter your place. 

7. Use Home Automation 

If you’ve been thinking of converting your house to a smart home, added security is one great reason to consider this option. Home automation will allow you to control lights, door locks, security cameras, sensors, smoke detectors, and other safety devices. You will get instant alerts in case any suspicious activity is going around in your house so that you can respond in time and stop any potential burglars. Here’s how you can use home automation to your advantage. 

  • Schedule lights to turn on and off when you’re not in your house. 
  • Scare away burglars and porch pirates with a two-way talk system using a smart doorbell. 
  • Get instant video footage when anyone walks up to your driveway. 

8. Lock Your Garage 

Your garage is another common entry point for burglars. Even if your garage isn’t connected to your house, there’s a pretty good chance that you store some valuable stuff in there. Therefore, you should ensure that you lock your garage door, and make sure it’s secured. Here are some ways you can do that: 

  • Cover garage windows to hide the goods inside. 
  • Upgrade to a smart garage door opener. 
  • Install extra locks for added security. 
  • Add a driveway alarm. 

Setting up preventive security measures can be somewhat overwhelming, however, they don’t have to become a chore. Follow the tips presented above to ensure that your house is secured when you leave it unattended. Secure every entry point, and use the available equipment to ensure the highest level of security to keep your family safe from burglars.

How to Get More Performance Out of a Mac

Although Macs are excellent machines that can help you tap deeper into the Apple ecosystem, like any personal computer, they can suffer from performance problems. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to enhance a Mac’s performance.

Step #1 Remove Malware

You may have heard that Macs don’t get viruses, but that’s not true. Although Apple said so in some commercials back in 2006, the first example of macOS malware dates to 2004. Mac malware incidents only grew as more people bought Macs. Here are some recent trends:

  • A 2018 report claimed that Mac malware attacks grew by 270.
  • There were 16 million instances of Mac malware in 2019.
  • The 2020 State of Malware report found that Mac malware threats per endpoint outpaced Windows.
  • Researchers found a dangerous ransomware strain with spyware capabilities called ThiefQuest targeting macOS users in 2020.
  • A mysterious malware named Silver Sparrow hit over 40,000 Macs, including computers using Apple’s proprietary M1 chip.
  • Mac adware incidents grow every year, slowing down browsers and machines.

For the best free malware removal Mac users need, please look for advanced antivirus software that complements your Mac’s security software and doesn’t hog your system resources. In addition to upgrading your cybersecurity software, please also avoid the following Mac malware threat vectors:

Step #2 Upgrade RAM

While it’s not possible to upgrade every Mac’s memory, it’s doable with some models. You should seriously consider a Mac memory upgrade if you only have 4GB of RAM —nowadays, you should have at least 8GB of RAM to run most apps competently.

Step #3 Upgrade to SSD

A solid-state drive is a newer type of storage drive that’s much faster than a conventional electro-magnetic hard drive. With an SSD, your operating system and your apps will load and run more quickly. Another advantage of having an SSD over a traditional hard drive is that it doesn’t have any moving parts and uses electronic circuits to read and write data, which enhances its longevity.

Of course, not all aging Macs can easily support an SSD upgrade. So, please research how to upgrade your Mac with an SSD first.

Step #4 Reduce Fancy Visuals

Although the visual effects in a Mac look nice, they can impact performance. Try to reduce the visual effects by finding the Display option in System Preferences > Accessibility. Unselect the Reduce motion option for a performance gain.

Step #5 Remove the Bloat

Get rid of the programs and processes your Mac doesn’t need that use precious resources. Go to Activity Monitor in Utilities and examine the processes. Consider removing unnecessary programs that take up a significant percentage of CPU time. By removing the bloat, you may speed up your Mac within minutes.

In addition to the steps listed above, restart your computer periodically. A reboot can clear errant processes in the memory and refresh your machine. Ultimately, you may need to buy a new Mac if none of the tips give enough of a performance lift. Remember to purchase right after a product refresh to get the most value for your money.

Looking to Avoid Business Vulnerabilities? 6 Reasons Patch Management Matters

When a software provider sends you an on-screen notification to update your software, you might be in the middle of a project. You don’t have time to wait for your computer to update, so you click on the “remind me later” option. 

All too often, it’s easy to forget to update your software with the latest patches. If you want too long, you could have serious problems that affect your cybersecurity and other vital issues. When you’re in charge of a business or an IT department, encouraging people to download and install updates can be even more challenging. If you’ve been letting your patches fall by the wayside, here are six reasons why you should manage them sooner than later.

Most Businesses do not Have a Cybersecurity Expert On-Site

Cybersecurity professionals demand high salaries, so many small businesses cannot afford to employ them. These businesses rely on their software companies to provide cybersecurity. 

Whenever software companies discover vulnerabilities in their products, they release updates or “patches” to fix the problem. Unfortunately, many companies often wait three or more months to update their software, creating dangerous situations for your data in the meantime. That risk can grow exponentially if you drag your feet around installing the updates. 

If you don’t have a dedicated IT department or you otherwise struggle to dedicate time to your patch management strategy, consider automation. Automated solutions like TuxCare patch management install your patches automatically, taking a massive weight from you and your employees’ shoulders. In this case, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally leaving the door open to thieves and system crashes. 

Antivirus Software Often Becomes Outdated

When you neglect your patch management, your antivirus software loses its efficacy because it becomes outdated. Cyberhackers can access your sensitive data and steal information if your software is vulnerable. Patches update cybersecurity measures, making it harder for hackers to penetrate your system. 

A Security Breach Costs More than Patches Cost

The cost of paying for security breaches is more expensive than any patch. Often, patches are entirely free, but they do require businesses to pause their systems for a short time. You might lose a sale or a bit of productivity, but it is nothing when compared to the cost of losing customers because of a security breach. 

If a hacker invades your system because you neglected a patch, they could take your financial information and steal money from you. Cybercriminals could also steal money from your customers, and your customers could come to you for reparations. Patching your software helps you avoid these potential pitfalls. 

Software Becomes Vulnerable to Hackers

Patches update your software in several ways. These pieces of code can fix bugs that affect productivity and correct problems that open your system to hackers.

Patch Updates Minimize System Downtime

When you update your system each time a patch comes through, you shorten system downtimes. Without patches, your system is vulnerable to problems that could force your system to shut down unexpectedly. If you wait too long to update your system, you could be forced to shut down your system for a longer time to access all of the upgrades. 

Avoiding Compliance Fines

Many industries have compliance rules for software systems, and avoiding necessary patches and updates can force you to fall out of compliance. As the expenses for repairing data breaches, compliance fines can be more costly than the time allotted for the patch itself.

Before You Go

When you neglect your patch updates, you put your business, finances, and customer data in danger. You open your business up to potential fines and time-consuming repairs. The best way to avoid software problems is to upload the patches or schedule the upload as soon as they arrive.