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Why you should blur your house on Google Street View? [A 2021 how-to guide]

why you should blur your house on google street view a 2021 how to guide

Launched in 2007, Google Street View is certainly a handy feature but this feature also eerily shows accurate images of your beautiful house. This offered window allows you to peak into your home, reveal what lucrative assets you have purchased – perhaps for your bedroom or it could be a potential bird feeder for stalkers.

Fortunately, we have something that can maintain your privacy. This controversial service, just like Google asks you to upload images per street, you can also ask Google to permanently blur your house from the map. This leaves a blur image of your house or building in its place after blurring it. The process is pretty easy. 

Minnesota suburban North Oaks case and other breaches

Due to unnecessary imagery and trespassing citations, Northern Oak City Council asked Google to take down the images. Google obliged to the letter received from the council. The 4,500+ resident town gained fair traction after this incident.  

A formal privacy complaint was filed to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) in 2009, where Google failed to identify the captured people and faced serious repercussions due to this violation or failure.

Google Street: The needed privacy

Google has never been an advocate for privacy. In 2010, Street View vehicles secretly collated information from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. Just like you value your privacy we do too. Irrespective of these breaches and facts, Google blur requests is one of the best and easiest aspects where you can specifically request Google to blur your bedroom [pun-intended], apartment, and house.

What to do?

The stalker or maybe this thought may have given you an adrenaline rush. We have to set boundaries by respecting and valuing our own privacy [as it is a fundamental right]. Google will have a more beautiful view of your home if you don’t blur it out. 

How to blur the images on Google Street View?

Here are the instructions:

–    Open the Google Maps on your device

pexels ingo joseph 35969
Google Maps interface

–    Add your business or home address. For instance, we added a random consultant business image based in NY, USA.

1
An exemplary building

–    Get into the street view mode. You will see a humanoid icon on the bottom right screen corner. Drag this human-shaped icon in front of your home

–    Click on “report a problem” while you see your home in view. This is available at the bottom right screen corner

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 13 at 3.43.55 AM2
Report a problem section on Google Maps

–    You have to move the red box to the place/home image you want to blur. This can be done by selectin “my home” in the “request blurring” field

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 13 at 3.43.55 AM3
Focus on the area to be blurred

–    You have to fill the required fields on the reasons of blurring your image (for instance, safety and privacy concerns)

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 13 at 3.43.55 AM4
Rationale for your action

–    You have to enter your email address and prompt the “submit” button.

WhatsApp Image 2021 01 13 at 3.43.55 AM5 1
Submit!

Google warns you upon a blurring request as it is permanent. Be sure about your actions, readers! Once you hit submit after captcha, you will receive an email from Google. The email will contain the information that they are reviewing your reported image and will email once the request is processed successfully.

Google will contact again and ask the receiver to be more precise or specific about the place/ focused area to be blurred. This would mean that you have to redo the process, therefore, detailing specific picture areas that are requested to be blurred.

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A note from NSA (National Security Agency) on how to keep Phone Safe from Tracking YOU

a note from nsa national security agency on how to keep phone safe from tracking you

Fast-forward: Canon ransomware, Twitter bug, and a plethora of relevant security news.

Your phone knows where you’re located and you know it. This is the phenomenon as to how your GPS works, locate your friends, and why local Facebook and Google ads locate you. This location information (or tracking) is incumbent or a hot commodity for internet marketers in the digital market space, just like other lucrative information on your phone is.  

Targeted advertising is more desired by modern enterprises on the web. These firms are eager to serve you ads for your preferred products (and/or services), and that local data is crucial for them in order to hit their mark. 

The good news is that you don’t have to be a victim of such information collection if you are not comfortable with it. However, to let you know, this tactic of information collection is legal as you have the option to allow them to know your location data by opt-in and out choices. 

Unfortunately, not many are aware of this feature. Last week marked the first-ever-online-conferences – i.e. Defcon security and Black Hat. Along with this, the NSA National Security Agency shared a location limitation or limit your location data exposure. 

This three-page primer (shared by NSA) explains how to limit your location data exposure and as a bottom line, it’s a healthy reminder that you secure your device and even protect yourself from ransomware/phishing attacks. NSA’s prime concern was that most of the mobile devices store and share device location by default. 

NSA, furthermore, gave some valuable tips such as turning off Bluetooth and WiFi whenever it is not in use. As an extra security and cautionary layer, you have the option to turn on Airplane Mode in case you are not using your device. 

Just do not allow location sharing permissions for apps and browsers – this will limit their ability to check on your locality whenever you use your browser and application. 

Reset your phone’s advertising ID per week, it is like a weekly audit of your ID to hamper the advertisement agencies to track you! Especially, during tracking applications launched to trace COVID-19, one needs to be vigilant. 

It is also advised that do not trust or use iOS and Android’s Find my Device features – instead use a trusted VPN. These steps give you some mental relaxation and limit your location exposure while fitting risk profile and adjusting as per the risk behavior. 

Although companies don’t make it easy for you to prevent your geolocation data and uneasy to realize that this feature is buried deep inside your smartphone’s privacy settings, while recording your daily routine, by default. 

Frequent locations keep track of your location, where you go and how long you stay an “XYZ” location, for instance. Not only this, but it also knows your home location and work location while counting down your number of visits.

I understand that this is unsettling, let us get you basic steps on how you can turn off locations on iOS devices

1. Navigate settings and go to privacy

2. Scroll down to location services and then system preferences

3. Go to significant locations to view your device’s notice on the recorded log, and toggle it OFF immediately. You can see clear your history on your screen, click on this option, and opt for it.

Alter your location settings for your Android devices by following these steps: 

1. Go to settings and scroll down to advanced/location on your device

2. Navigate to use location and turn it OFF

3. Delete Location History, this can be found at the bottom of the Location History screen, you can click it to delete your device’s location.
Note: You have to repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android smartphone.

Limit the tracking

Ceasing location tracking fully is extreme. Fortunately, iOS and Android provide options to limit the tracking and minimize it to an acceptable level. Please note that this function will not get you rid of the companies advertisement fully but will limit the advertisement profiles.

iPad, iPhone, and iPod Devices

1. Click on settings and tap privacy the advertising

2. You will see the Limit Ad Tracking option which is toggled OFF by default. Toggle it ON.

Android Devices

1. Navigate settings and tap google then ads

2. Turn ON Opt-out of ads personalization.

Keep a special eye on your browser – especially Google Chrome

Google devices have a habit of storing your geolocation data. This is certainly possible when you have tweaked your privacy settings on Android and iOS. 

Turn off Web and App Activity:

1. Sign in to your Google Account and go to Data and personalization

2. You can see Web and App Activity under the Activity Controls, toggle it OFF.

Note no. 1 You can click on YouTube History or Web & App Activity to manage activity for some time. Furthermore, you can click on the three-button menu at the top right of the Google Page to keep activity for the modified time frame.

Note no. 2 – Pausing the location won’t turn off Google Location Markers, it will stop the movement to your timeline. The location data is still saved on your Web & App Activity. 

Note no. 3 – plainly straightforward: You can pause your Web & App Activity by toggling it as illustrated above – with this feature none of your activity will be chased, tracked, or stored.

A different browser for stealthy browsing

You can use incognito mode on Google to limit the tracking of your activity/location. Mozilla’s free Firefox app eradicates passwords and browsing activity/history. Safari Browser also allows access to private windows. Just select Private at the bottom right corner of the window.

Online Accounts, what are you up to?

You begin feeding major companies data as soon as you associate your online account with them, for instance, creating an account on Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. The information could range from location, personality, and preferences. The click trick algorithm looks after your bit-by-bit preferences that are used by relevant or targeted ads.

In some other space

Canon (just like Garmin) falls victim to a ransomware attack where Maze – a ransomware group claimed to have stolen 10 TB of data from Canon. They have threatened to dump if they are left unpaid.


A Twitter Bug was disclosed this week amidst a pile of Twitter security woes, allowing hackers to surreptitiously slide into the influential DMs (especially using Android 8 or 9 devices). It was declared that 4 percent of users never updated their Twitter app. This made them vulnerable to security threats – thus remaining exposed to unwanted threats.

Take-home message:

privacy loss
A note from NSA (National Security Agency) on how to keep Phone Safe from Tracking YOU 10

Since privacy is more valued today, we would like you to take this seriously as it is a fundamental right. Sim Swapping and identity thefts are growing in line with these malicious activities and should be protected. Efani respects your privacy and their proprietary technology provides 11 layers of client-side integrity, privacy, and authentication.

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Setting up a Secure Phone: A Complete How-To Guide for Privacy Paranoids and Whistleblowers (2020)

VPN

Using a public (coffee shop or airport) Wi-Fi is a sin but you may be tempted to use it and surf the web. VPN encrypts online activities. Trust me, it saves you from eavesdroppers or hackers. In the Android world, you can use:

Smart Lock

Use it on and off. Keep updating or off it when not auto-fill is not needed. This is because hackers could take benefit of it. Security > Sign in > Saved Passwords > Toggle On/Off per need.

How to get a secure phone – iPhone?

Like every clockwork, every year a new iPhone is launched with a new iOS for the pre-existing models. This is a great excitement for users – as well as – hackers. Recently, a renowned hacking team has launched a new “jailbreak” technique that unlocks every “walled garden” iPhone – even the latest iOS 13.5. New features help to minimize cyber risks. Here are some tips to do so:

On your automatic iOS updates

Updating OS is important, as these address software (past) weaknesses. A specific code by a hacker can target this vulnerability, if you don’t frequently update your operating system. You can auto-on it: Go to Settings > Press general > Tap software update to turn on automatic updates

USB Restricted Mode

This prevents juice jacking. At simplest, it means when you can install a malware or information could be stolen by plugging in an USB port. You can on it by: Go to settings > Scroll down to Touch ID & Passcode > Please type in your passcode and scroll further down to USB Accessories not permitted on the lock screen > Turn it off in case it is on.

Toggle on built-in Find my iPhone

This is a tracking software that uses GPS to locate a stolen phone. The activation lock prevents hackers from using your iPhone and to gain access to your useful data. If you want to get a hold of it, use your Apple ID and password because without it a hacker cannot turn off your Find My iPhone feature. You can enable it by: Go into your settings > User name > iCloud > Scroll down to Find My iPhone > Turn it on and activate it to send your recent location > Since you are asked to login, use your Apple ID here.

Get rid of specific widgets in your lock screen

Widgets is a shortcut to features like Wi-Fi, wallet, Bluetooth, and camera, since it is part of iPhone lock screen hackers can swipe up your personal information. To disable you can: Toggle on to settings > control center or Toggle off those widgets that you do not want in your lock screen.

Make yourself habitual of VPN while using public Wi-Fi

It allows you to serve the internet safely while using coffee shop Wi-Fi or airport Wi-Fi.

Privacy settings bi-weekly or periodic monitoring

Audit your iPhone where you would want to delete unwanted applications that consume more space. Most notably, you can find an email regarding changes in privacy policies, keep a close eye to it. You are just two clicks away from privacy – go to settings > tap privacy. You can revise the permitted applications and revoke them where unnecessary.

Unique passwords

Make unique alpha-numeric passcodes, a password generating tool can help. Instead of auto-filling it (by saving the information) you can write down the unique password on paper for future use. You can set the passcode by: Going to settings and Touch ID & Passcode > Enter Passcode > You can select a custom numeric code or generate it online and type here (while writing it down on a piece of paper).

Opt SMS 2FA

It adds a second layer to your privacy and security. You can either choose a PIN, password, or pattern. You can opt for fingerprint or similar biometric authentication. Thirdly, you can opt a credit card, phone, USB token as an additional identity verification. You can follow the prompts after: Sliding to settings > Press on your name, and go to Password & Security > Scroll down to find 2FA and turn it on.

Choose Auto-Lock

You can limit the screen activity time by opting auto-lock, click on settings > Scroll down to general button > Select Auto-Lock.

iOS 12 feature: Password Audit

As the name suggests, it asks you to frequently change your pre-used passwords. It is hefty work to select an alphanumeric or unique password for each account, the rule is least followed. This feature helps to manage your password in an easier manner. The stored passwords will be audited to spot any of the repeated patterns. The report will let you know. You can opt to audit or change your reused passwords: Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Look up for Website & App Passwords > Click it to enter your passcode > A red “warning” triangle will let you know if duplicate password > You can then revise it using password generating tool.

Backup encryption is needed

We back-up our business chats regularly, we pay less attention to encryption. If you encrypt your valuable back up data, it will reduce the vulnerability to hacking. The best encryption is to connect it with iTunes, which can encrypt your backups. This also allows you to maintain a separate password for this encryption. Connect your device to open iTunes > The Backup section contains the “Encrypt iPhone Backup” option, click it to create a separate password.

Do not share location information

iOS 13 allows you to limit image location metadata, to enable it when you share your image click on option, where you can see location option, toggle it off or deselect it.

Turn off Siri

As talkative Siri is she can pass on your data to hackers without your permission, she asks for verification to get access to sensitive information but hackers are smarter and can fool around Siri. Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Turn off the allow access when locked option.

Auto-fill should be off

This is the easiest way for hackers to get access to your information. To disable it please visit your settings > Safari > Autofill > disable each permission.

Conclusion

This guide was to educate you with the approaches of being highly private and have a secure phone when you are a journalist or associated to such profession where leaks are common and can cost you your life. To be open, the above links were not just shared for some traffic generation or affiliation; they are here because they are accurate and give you a vast overview of what to expect, and how to compete with it. Today SIM hacks are very common even among the famous ones like Jeff Bezos, or the celebs like Amanda Cerny or King Bach. Thanks to the services of Efani for providing military grade protection , and above and beyond services! Even I as a writer is following the above the guide as a result of my research for being as secure as I can because you never know what to expect or who’s watching you.Source

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Privacy & Security for Wealth Management Professionals

privacy security for wealth management professionals
privacy security for wealth management professionals

Cyber criminals across the globe are looking to steal your cell phone number!  Unfortunately, cell phone carriers aren’t doing enough when it comes to security allowing cyber criminals to exploit carrier loopholes and attack their favorite targets:  

  • High-Net Worth Individuals
  • High-Profile Influencers
  • Investigative Reporters
  • Financial Advisors
  • Attorneys & Doctors
  • Enterprise Customers
  • Anyone conducting financial transactions on a mobile device 

Once cyber criminals have your cell phone number, they’ll purchase your personal information and execute a SIM swap scam (also known as a port-out scam, SIM splitting, and simjacking, SIM swapping).  

This type of attack leverages a mobile phone carrier’s ability to port a telephone number to a device containing a different Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).  Typically, this occurs when a customer has lost their phone, had their phone stolen, or is switching service to a new phone. Victims of SIM Swap scams can end up losing their entire life savings, reputation & careers as a victim of this unique attack.

We’re bringing a 30-min session followed by a 20 min Q & A on this topic where we’ll cover

DATE: Wednesday, September 16th 

TIME: 9:30 AM Pacific Time / 12:30 PM Eastern Time (50-Minutes)

AGENDA:  

  • Risks around your current cell phone number
  • Basics of SIM Swap Attacks & how it’s performed
  • Common practices to mitigate it
  • What to do after being a victim
  • Q & A

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Poor Wi-Fi Signal on your iPhone XR? Lets Fix It! (2020 Guide)

poor wi fi signal on your iphone xr lets fix it 2020 guide
iphone xr poor wi-fi
Apple

The distance between a wireless router and your device could disrupt the iPhone signal. The Wi-Fi reception gets weaker with each distance made. It is suggested to move in closer proximity to the source of your Wi-Fi reception, while checking if the strength of the signal gets better.

The distance factor is just one consideration – there are other factors to consider as well, for instance, the Wi-Fi interruptions and software related factors. It could even be the hardware damage that disrupts the Wi-Fi signal on your iPhone XR.

What to do when you counter such issues on your iPhone XR?

Let’s take a walk together.

Turn the network equipment off and then on

This process is known as power cycling. Just like smartphones, power cycling of this equipment is necessary because there is a potential that these devices, for example, modem and wireless routers also give into system crashes and random firmware errors.

There are numerous symptoms that could transpire to interconnected devices. It could range from WiFi drops (intermittent connection) to no internet connection, or slow internet. It is prescribed to power cycle or turn OFF and then ON your device.

Turn it off for at least 30 seconds, just like you reboot your computer or reset your device. This act will eliminate any firmware errors causing the modem or router to mess up or trigger weak Wi-Fi on your phone.

Illustration:

  1. Toggle off the power button on your wireless router once you have located the power switch.
  2. Unplug the AC adapter for at least 1 minute or minimum 30 seconds.  
  3. Turn the device back ON when the time has elapsed.
  4. Let’s wait until your Wi-Fi signal indicator is stable.

Wait for your phone to revert back to the Wi-Fi network connection. Test if the bug has been fixed. Reboot your iPhone XR as a last resort.

Mess with your Airplane mode

Resort to perform the Airplane mode trick. It is alternative to power cycling your WiFi connections on your phone. Try these steps:

  1. Tap on Settings from your home screen and select airplane mode (you can see an airplane symbol).
  2. Turn ON this airplane feature. This will switch off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi option by default.
  3. Once the airplane mode has been enabled, turn off your iPhone.
  4. Turn back this Airplane mode ON.
  5. Hold on till your iPhone boots up.
  6. Go to settings from your home screen and airplane mode, turn the feature ON.
  7. Wait till your Wi-Fi network connects, then check the signal strength.

Reconnect: Forget your Wi-Fi network

Phone connects to your Wi-Fi network by default, and could even connect to unsecured WiFi networks such as your neighbor’s network. Despite the connection, you may notice the signal strength getting weaker.

Tip – forget all saved WiFi networks, here’s how to do it:

  1. Tap on settings from your home screen and select Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the “i” from the information icon next to the WiFi networks or the list you want to forget.
  3. Tap on the Forget this network option.
  4. Tap on forget to confirm – you can also select the Wi-Fi network that you want to delete.
  5. Delete all the save Wi-Fi networks.

Reset the network settings

Apply this option when the aforementioned has failed. This will have an impact on the current bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, similar server settings, APN and restoring the default networks.

Here’s how to reset network settings:

  1. Navigate settings option from your home screen and select general.
  2. Tap reset (scroll down to find the keyword reset in general settings).
  3. Enter the passcode/PIN/pattern etc when you tap on the reset network setting option and confirm reset option.

Your XR version will instigate the network resetting settings and restore the options that are default. Once the reset has been completed, the device will be rebooted automatically in order to apply the changes you have made. Go to your wi-Fi settings to reconnect it (after re-enabling it) once the device boots up.

Reboot your iPhone XR Network as the last resort [Soft Reset]

This case is also applicable when the response of your iPhone to your network connection is fine initially but it starts acting up next moment, this means there are miscellaneous glitches impairing the performance of your iPhone’s signal system.

Here’s how you can soft reset it:

  1. Simultaneously hold the power and volume buttons for few seconds.
  2. You can see a slide to power off option as soon as you release the buttons → drag it to the right.
  3. Press Slide Button again once the phone boots up after 30 seconds.

For soft network reset try:

  1. Go to Wi-Fi menu after tapping on settings option and enable Wi-Fi if required.
  2. Select Wi-Fi network and add password, if prompted.
  3. Tap connect and see if the problem has been resolved.

Miscellaneous factors affecting the signal connections

  1. Make sure you have the later iOS version – the latest software update can fix Wi-Fi signal issues. This will also fix interrelated bugs and system errors. There’s a possibility that you may miss to view and download over-the-air updates because of your Wi-Fi interruptions on your iPhone. The synonym to this problem would be to use iTunes on your desktop version to check for the latest update. You can then download and install it.
  2. Thank you, iTunes! A master or factory reset may help clear out issues like connection errors and you can reset and restore your device through iTunes. You can restore the factory defaults and install the latest iOS update on your iPhone XR.
  3. Is your network reliable? There could be unscheduled or unposted outage problems other than device issues. You can call your provider and troubleshoot further. They can also reset your wireless router from their end if needed. Refresh once the desired actions have been performed and here you go!

BONUS – Manual DNS Setup on iPhone

This creates a massive impact, it is not always Wi-Fi reception but other issues like altering the DNS setting that would fix your issue. This is not a method to boost your Wi-Fi reception but a way to go through some other DNS to obtain data from the internet.

Here are few options and how to do it:

  1. Navigate to settings and tap on Wi-Fi and the ‘i’ icon to the right of Wi-Fi network connected name.
  2. Tap DNS and enter the DNS addresses:
    – Google – 8.8.8.8; 8.8.4.4
    – OpenDNS – 208.67.222.222; 208.67.220.220
  3. Restart the Wi-Fi.

This is the optimal thing, where automatically opted DNS does not always work, which is why using an OpenDNS (public version) or Google is suggested.

Hope this issue is now resolved and you are enjoying a better Wi-Fi connection on your iPhone! Hint: these steps can fix your iPad connectivity issues as well. Let us know in the comments section. Please also make sure that certain updates or immediate updates due to COVID-19 is in response to rising cyber threats amongst which is SIM swapping. Once you embed Efani in your device, you’re free of SIM swapping threats. Remember, privacy is a fundamental right! Stay safe.

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All About Vanity Numbers (2020)

all about vanity numbers 2020
vanity number
All About Vanity Numbers (2020) 18

It is not all about “vanity” only, instead a practical approach to advertise your business. The most memorized and popular number 1-800-FLOWERS stick to customer’s memory to this day with little to no effort at all. This attracts people around the globe.

Vanity numbers are best for your business branding and easy-to-remember for your prospective clients. We will be looking for a brief understanding of vanity numbers in this article and its usefulness for a business. The factors or consideration are to determine if the selected vanity number is appropriate for a business.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

What is a vanity number?

Since many businesses still consider telephonic channels to reach their potential clients, the mnemonic vanity numbers play well with the customer’s psychological behaviors. Regardless of your customer base substantially being internet-users, an impressive vanity number will attract them – no matter what.

In many cases, businesses won’t have an option to pick their own vanity number from scratch, whereas, few business independent entities are given the choice to choose their toll-free number and vanity numbers themselves. The options also include transferring self-made vanity numbers to carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T, if they like.

Numbers with the numeric pattern – a 10 random digit number is quick to remember, it could either follow the sequence of double digits such as 6677 or sequential like 2345, repeated 4444, even/odd sequence like 2468 – all are fruitful and imprint on users’ memory. You can also choose from years/dates (which are special to you) since people are wise enough to remember special characters than numbers.

Numbers with spellings of your brand – when you pick a number, pay attention to special spells on that number of the phone keypad. A number spelling out a brand (or a word/phrase) is worth millions for a business. If you pay attention, Facebook Indian number is 92FACEBOOK, which means it is 92-3223-2665 on the dialer keypad of a phone. Popular numbers like 1-800-LAWYERS are mostly taken, be creative with what you chose.

Toll-free number – it is a free number that can be called from any area code, the charges are levied on the business and not the caller. These toll-free numbers work in specific areas or from a number dialed from anywhere.

The 800 series – the toll-free prefix ranges from 800; 888; 877; 866; 855; 844; and 833. Local vanity numbers would be demanded by some businesses rather than toll-free because of coverage and cost issues.

Why do you need a vanity phone number?

Branding is the most important aspect of business and these easy to recognize numbers displayed on billboards, radio ads and other similar programs plays a great role. These are not too easy to remember, but their sequencing and catch phrase piques your customers.

Customers pay attention to branding consistency across all communicated mediums and this generates more leads.

The correct advertisements

The best mediums to communicate to the users regarding vanity numbers (like mentioned before) include billboards, trucks, TV ads, podcasts, and internet advertisements on different websites. This means consumers will see numbers passing by, or hear on a podcast and will remember eventually. Random sequential numbers are quick to adopt and many people quickly write it down as well. The medium of advertisement would vary per business goal and emotional contact remains the same.

Top-notch reasons to have a vanity number

why you need a vanity number

Everyone wants to go beyond numbers. People try to add meanings to the phone number, the classic instance would be BEechwood 4-5789, and Adams & Swett Rug Cleaning Company gets recognition through this question:

How many cookies did Andrew eat?

Focus, Andrew ATE (8) – 8,000, this means the number would be ANdrew 8-8000, although the companies have vanished since long but the posts jingles to this date. You see marketing still work even after 50 years?

It’s no more 1960’s, we are in modern world with so many digital options, when memorized customers can reach you via text or social media platforms, email you and can go to your website. Irrespective of these mediums, vanity numbers still remain relevant.

It is certain people remember vanity numbers but most importantly YOU. Modern people have to remember a lot, pins, passwords and vanity numbers in place make things easier. Most notable example is 1-800-GoFedEx for package delivery.

Vanity numbers reinforce your brand and lend credibility to your business. For instance, 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE is a symbol for life, where smoking needs to be quit. Vanity numbers are your brand reflection. Customers not only show interest but do word of mouth marketing on your behalf. Vanity numbers show your business ideology in one fell swoop and can be your competitive edge.

Conclusion

Although modern businesses have virtual phone numbers or VoIP, but vanity numbers still pay an important role and are irreplaceable. The only investment is a lovely truck with a vanity number in display so the value proposition is delivered with a concise message.

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Series 3 – 2FA; How to Set Up Authy

series 3 2fa how to set up authy
2fa authy
Series 3 – 2FA; How to Set Up Authy 21

Strong passwords suffice? Think twice about it, as strong passwords don’t exist anymore – using 2FA is recommended (as observed in series 1 and 2). In simplest terms, it means to use an authenticating codes generator, where in series 2 recommends Authy. It is convenient, powerful, and compatible with all devices.

We have also discussed with the SMS based 2FA. Authy is a more civilized application that provides you with a better encrypted password option linking to your cloud, with an option to restore backup to your new phone. Authy is compatible with Google Authenticator, where you can scan the same code to Authy as well. Interestingly, some sites offer Authy-specific integrations as well.  

Is Authy handy?

Authy is simple and easy to use. You can download it from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Once installed, you need to fill the gaps, your phone number and your email address. Afterwards, you will receive a PIN on your number for confirmation. Congrats, Authy has been enabled on your device!

Simply visit 2FA setup page which is available on the account service of choice and QR code will be pulled up, just click the add button (on the bottom of Authy screen) and scan the QR code. The account will be needed to Authy. Open the Authy app and you can tap on the account you need a code for. 

There’s a copy paste option for your code on your device rather than typing. You can even add a protection pin (or Touch ID for an iOS) if you want to prevent individuals from accessing your phone, especially when you have signed in. You can go to settings and then to my account to protection PIN to enable it.

How to Back Up and Sync the Codes from Authy

Authy can create automatic encrypted backups of your data and store it on the servers – FYI, data is encrypted with the provided password. There is an option to skip this feature if you want to. However, if your phone is lost, you won’t be able to recover your codes using Google Authenticator app. This is why Authy works wonder.

Open Authy – then go to Settings and Accounts – ensure Authenticator Backups on the top screen and enable it.  For backup decryption, you will need a password link and you can access these codes while signing into your Authy account. Authy can sync codes on different devices, while offering code access on Chrome app on any computer.

There is an announcement to be made for a macOS beta app and a Window app. This information can be obtained on the download page of Authy. Syncing up your code between a phone and a tablet is your choice. If you want to add devices to your accounts, go to settings and then devices in authy option where you can toggle on the multi-device switch.

Pro-TIP: You can also create an encrypted backup password in the cloud, in order to access them in the future. The 2FA scheme for Authy is different and is only available for you to sign up. You can also make changes to your codes (for instance, removing or adding accounts) will be synced. The list of devices can be seen by tapping on settings > devices screen in Authy > remove/add devices.

Once you add the device you can head back to disable the multi device option in devices in authy in the settings section. Just to inform you, the multi feature sync feature will routinely function but the option to add more devices will be disabled. This actually combats the risks of adding devices via SMS. But if you are adding a new device you can toggle on this option and disable afterwards.

Please also note that if you have disabled this option you will need to sign in on your new device, as you won’t be able to continue with Authy if your phone was stolen, lost or damaged. You will need to re-enable the disabled multi-device feature. If you have Authy on a single device, you won’t be able to access codes and have an account recovery option, it may take 12 to 24 hours to get a response.

This is a start over option, this step will be reverted if you have your data backed up, you will get your codes afterwards. It is recommended by the Authy officials that adding more devices to your Authy account, while disabling the feature once the controlled devices are added to the Authy account. No one will gain access unless multi-device have been re-enabled.

This is beneficial as if you lose one of your added devices, you can remove it and add a new device instead. However, if you have a single device, you will still want to keep backups of code in case you lose your main device.

Conclusion

Privacy should never be compromised. EFANI understands how precious your privacy is and is aiming to provide a solution that not only prevents you from critical cyber threats like SIM swapping but to give you mental peace.

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Series 2 – How to move Your Google Authenticator to Your New Phone

series 2 how to move your google authenticator to your new phone
google authenticator
Series 2 – How to move Your Google Authenticator to Your New Phone 24

In series 1, we understand the concept of two-factor authentication which is undoubtedly a famous and handy security precaution for many individuals, but at the same time it is an additive anxiety that adds to more cyber threat vulnerabilities. Since, you must have upgraded your smartphones with the Google Authenticator changing cellular devices require manual migration of Google Authenticator to your new phone – as the codes do not migrate automatically.

Fast-Forward:

  • You can migrate Google Authenticator to your new upgraded device in order to obtain maximized security through two-step verification.
  • You have the option to set up Google two-step Authentication on your device in use.

Gratefully it is not that technical to move the codes obtained from the Google Authenticator from one device to the other one. However, admittedly, the process can be time taking and cumbersome for the few.

Brief history to traditional single password

Two-step authentication provides greater accounts check and balance for your accounts, unlike the convention single password method, as it requires “two steps” to get into your applications powered by Google.

Google Authenticator is a step forward to verify two-step codes before accessing your accounts, it’s an identity check to mitigate the risk of identity thefts.

Migration from older to newer phone

Since, you are an old user of Google Authenticator 2FA, you will require to move it from one phone to another. Here are some straightforward steps:

  1. Install the Google Authenticator app to your iPhone or Android device,
  2. Open Google’s webpage for two-step authentication on Mac browser and login, when you get in your account, you can see the option to “Move to a different phone,”
  3. Click on the move to a different phone and then click continue,
  4. You will be prompted to show a QR code displaying on your screen,
  5. You need to open your phone, not an older one but newer one, and follow the instructions shown on your screen. You can tap on the QR code of “scan a barcode,”
  6. A six-digit code pops up immediately after you successfully scan the barcode. The code is subject to revision every few minutes because of security concerns, please type the code on your desktop and then clicks “verify,”
  7. Congratulations, it is all set on your new device.

The whole premise of these actions were to retrieve codes only from authenticated or registered devices (especially those devices which are under your control), otherwise the value of the entire 2FA concept would be moot. The migration steps listed above would not have any issues IF you are jumping from one universe (iPhone) to another Galaxy – Android.

The steps were straightforward or plain easy, the only cumbersome part is to connect other applications to Google Authenticator, please migrate each application one-by-one. This is why we labeled this process as time consuming.

The point of concern here is that we perform such measures to secure ourselves from cyber threats, most notably – SIM cloning/hijacking/swapping or whatever you call it. Despite having 2FA, your phone is still vulnerable to SIM Swap so criminals can get into your accounts. Your current carrier will not protect you so switch to EFANI who are experts in preventing this attack. Make better choices and as a second resort you can use Authy with Efani as a blend of both make things easier.

With your new phone you can choose Efani – a new carrier with 60 days’ money-back guarantee and with Authy codes syncing across the device is convenient. You do not have this (flexible) sync option with Google Authenticator. Authy works as 2FA on multiple devices. The codes and the provided passwords are encrypted and the cloud system stores this data. This makes migration easier – offering a balance of convenience and security. We will be talking about syncing cloud codes in the next blog.

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Series 1 – All about 2FA (Two-Factor Authorization)

series 1 all about 2fa two factor authorization
2fa
Cloudways

2FA is a real thing. Passwords are frangible walls keeping unauthorized hackers far away from your accounts. Preserving our digital wallet containing hard-earned dollars is our keen concern in the 21st century. In response to these protective measures, 2FA is the most famous yet effective defense available.

What is 2FA?

Two-factor authorization is often shortened as 2FA and it is basically a security login that is required as a second “separate” factor beyond the password (as a second piece of information). So this independent piece of information is a code (which expires in a few minutes) and it is delivered by a device which is under your control – say, your mobile phone. This doesn’t mean it is an SMS generated code, it could be biometric, such as fingerprints.

Please note that you might have heard about interchangeable terms such as multi-factor authentication or two-step verification, but in this guide we will focus only on 2FA.

Why should you use 2FA?

In the modern world of cyber attacks, where the password breaches are more frequent on a larger base – and it continually takes place – your precious information is sold for minimal bucks and swapped in the dark web market (or hacker forums).

The motives of hackers could ideally be:

  • These attackers break into the source for entertainment or harassment;
  • Some for $$’s or payday (especially during virtual working environment – it is typically not a personal but financial attack);
  • In one of the rare circumstances, the targeted individual must be in the crosshairs.

Did you know?

Email accounts are most worthy, why? This is because your emails are the second source for your (potential) accounts recovery. Here’s how the mechanics work when your account is likely to fall for hijacking:

  • Your passwords are predictable, so most of the time intruders guess are successful;
  • These large-scale password breaches make things easier for trespassers. These attackers will use the script (that is available on dark web) to try to login. These hacked credentials are useful because they can be perused on multiple accounts.
  • Attackers are impersonators and crafty – they create fakes pages to trick aka phishing experiments. This indulges you and at some point they ask you to share your credentials. Let me explain in detail – grab a cup of tea/coffee/water. Bookmark it in the meantime. So the hackers will send you an email that could be in your spam/junk folder. This will come from a trusted source (for instance, Twitter). This will direct you to a credible website, but unfortunately “all that glitter is not gold” this website is under hacker’s control. This means you have to look closely at the sender field, or the login page URL. This is what we call phishing.
  • One of its forms is targeted phishing or spear phishing. It is important to understand that hackers always do their homework, especially when they have targeted someone. Your secured information is gathered from public records or your holy grail social media. This helps them create a brilliant pretext for the spear phishing email. Modern hackers are born impersonators (perhaps?), while they impersonate someone in order to direct you to a forged page (login). 

These regular phish-y emails disrupt the email services, where enabling of 2FA is deemed to be useful (especially for emails). Make sure to check if your favorite service works in liaison with Twofactorauth.org, where you can follow the handy instructions to Turn On 2FA.

A pretty handy option (both for user and hackers): SMS based 2FA

This is one of the painless ways to access your device, but it is as trustable as your network. This option is useless when you travel around the globe or where there are network issues. When you login to your account, you receive a “ping” on your device, containing a treasure i.e. a confirmation code which could expire if it remains unused. You need to enter the code when you’re prompted while logging in.

Illustration – One of the hackers convinced Verizon to redirect phone messages to a newer sim card on a remote device, this person is none other than Deray McKesson, BLM activist. The interception was made easy by enabling SMS based 2FA.

Did you notice that the password guess work was much of a pain as compared to SMS-based 2FA? Instead of hackers, looking for your physical device, they are looking for remote attacks of stealing your number instead, how? Tricking people is easy. Just in case, if you are wondering how the sim swap works, here is a guide for you: https://www.efani.com/blog/everything-about-sim-swap/

In order to turn on 2FA for Gmail, you have to click on the top right corner (account icon) which will give you an option to open my account, then you can click on sign-in & security, while signing into your Google you can click on two-step verification to get things started.

Punch in your seven digits’ number once your device has been registered. You have the option not to use your number, as you can remove it subsequently. For confirmation you will enter the code sent on your device. Now you can use SMS based 2FA.

Why SMS based 2FA is not too successful?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular method is the least secure. Wait a minute – what? Trust me, the juicy details won’t end here. SMS based 2FA has too many insecure vulnerabilities deprecating the SMS 2FA use. 

If you lose your device and your precious SMS-based 2FA is within it, this means you lost it all, especially when you do not have 2FA recovery codes, correct?

Indeed, therein lays the rub.

People can obtain these valuable short-lived codes in numerous ways (as listed in the next segment). Sim cloning makes it easier for hackers to obtain not your smart phone but your valuable connections, money (subverting SMS 2FA on crypto accounts) and even worse – blackmailing. SS7 phony protocol intercepts make things easier for the hacker who can get rid of all in a few seconds and hack YOU.

What is the better option?

Privacy is precious and costless. There are many options such as Authy, Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, etc. that works well with the temporary code generation. This is where multifactor authentication helps, where multiple authentication could be attached to web services. They work well without the network as well. These solutions cannot be easily intercepted either, unlike SMS based solutions.

In order to activate the authenticator app, you need to download it (per your choice). You have an option to select from Authy to Google authenticator or Duo Mobile. You can scroll down to the authenticator app, where you can click set-up on the 2-step verification page. If you want to register a new service, you will need to scan a barcode that displays on your screen.   

This doesn’t mean that multifactor authentication is an absolute answer but these could be entered into phony websites with the premise to steal your login details. We need to think ahead. 

Security keys

These are efficient USB based (physical options to attack with your device) used for account authentication. The most successful and popular (yet cheaper) one’s are Yubikey giving you a sense of security for 20 bucks only. In order to set Yubikey as an option, you first need to purchase it and scroll down to security keys where you can see an option to add a security key. You can rename your newly registered device and physically insert it to Yubikey to tap it when prompted.

NOTE – it is a little expensive to afford Type-C Yubikeys which are used for the Macbooks 2016 and beyond. For USB 2.0 and 3.o port holders, you have the option to use security keys with a Type-C USB adapter.

This is easy when you just have to attach your device or insert security key to the trusted device instead of typing regular codes. Their resistance to phishing attacks make them popular amongst all. Okay, so the problem is you will want to use Yubikeys for everything, but they cannot be used everywhere. These are used to login into Dropbox, Facebook, Google and major other browsers.

Bonus option – Backup codes

If, on a bad day, you lose your authenticator app or security key you have the option to use backup codes. You need to scroll down to backup (numeric) codes and click on set up. Keep these valuable codes.

You can also use a password generator for your accounts, as a second you can secure your deviceas well.  

Tip – EFANI

Since everything roams around sim swapping, every second, 3 Americans like you become a victim of cyber-criminals from across the world. Criminals are trading your personal information such as where you live, who you live or work with, your call and SMS records, and your family and relatives’ information. All of this is sold for as little as 20 cents. Criminals use your personal information to steal your number & get into your accounts to drain your finances, disrupt your business and destroy your reputation. We guarantee you protection against these criminals & back it with a $5M Insurance Policy. Our proprietary technology provides 11 layers of client-side integrity, privacy and authentication.

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