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    Wednesday, March 7, 2018

    How To Secure Communications On Your Smartphone

    Due to the overnight success of smartphones, millions of people are connecting with others. Most of this communication is happening in the open where any hacker can intercept and share in the discussion, unknown to the participants.
    Securing your messages requires addressing three components of communication: the network, the apps, and your social decisions. By implementing these recommendations, Gadget Hacks says you can make it significantly harder for someone to access your messages. Though these steps are not foolproof, but they’ll make it less likely that you are a victim of the next major cyber attack.

    Get a VPN
    When it comes to securing your communications, you’ll first want to focus on the travel of data. Virtual Private Networks provide security and privacy for your data by encrypting all traffic. Encryption is like a virtual safe that hides your data from malicious individuals.
    VPNs also provide privacy by hiding your IP address. Your IP address is similar to your home address, identifying your smartphone to the Internet. Your network uses this information to send and receive data to and from your device, but if this information falls into the wrong hands, hackers can conduct cyber attacks. VPNs hide your IP address by moving all your traffic through their servers before moving to its destination and changing the source IP address.
    There are many excellent VPN services on the Play Store, but our recommendation is NordVPN, as it provides a balance of security and speed. NordVPN uses the highest encryption method to protect your data and has over 1,000 servers in 61 countries, allowing it to maintain a fast data connection while doing so.
    NordVPN also has a feature known as CyberSec, which provides additional protection by actively monitoring the websites you visit to protect against malware, ads, and botnets (attacks which use your smartphone to attack other devices).

    Encrypt your phone calls and messages
    Besides a VPN, the applications used for communications should also provide some level of encryption. If the app is the weak link in the security fence, your communications can still be compromised by an external threat.
    Recently, the news has talked about end-to-end encryption and how many popular messaging apps are using it to protect their customers.

    End-to-end encryption is when an application encrypts your data both on each device and during travel, providing complete protection.
    However, with regular messages, your service provider is the weak link, as many cell carriers collect data about you and your communication for advertisement purposes. Typically, no keys are generated, and instead, your device is sending the message hoping that it arrives unaltered or viewed. You can achieve end-to-end encryption by using instant messaging, where the message travels through the Internet instead of over your carrier’s SMS network.
    Although most popular apps such WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger provide end-to-end encryption, we recommend using Signal because of the amount of metadata it collects. Metadata is all the information about the message besides their content. Who the message went to, the location of each user and even the IP address of those communicating are just some examples of metadata collected by companies. Signal collects the least amount of metadata compared to its competitors.

    Signal only collects your phone number, randomly generated authentication tokens, and profile information, such as an avatar and nothing more. Not only does it protect your messages from being compromised, but if Signal became compromised, hackers would gain insufficient information about you.
    Signal also offers secure calling using Voice over Internet Protocol. Similar to text messages, voice calls are weakly encrypted, and better protection is available using the Internet. VoIP is a system for voice calling over the web. Since Signal uses VoIP, end-to-end encryption is available to voice calls as well.

    Secure your email
    A frequent target for hackers is your email. Popular email clients such as Yahoo and Gmail have measures in place to keep your contents safe, but their priority is maintaining fast performance and ease of use. Therefore, they don’t utilise the highest level of security to protect your emails. Recently, both Yahoo and Gmail had data breaches, with the former having the largest in history.
    With emails containing so much information about us (including bank statements, love letters, receipts, etc.), any unauthorised individual who gains access can learn significant information about you, which can be used for malicious purposes. However, like our messages, we don’t have to continue to send unprotected emails.
    For the highest level of protection, you want end-to-end encryption to secure your email from when you construct the message to when the recipient reads it. You also want the highest level of encryption that will evolve as hackers learn ways into current systems. Because of these reasons, we recommend using ProtonMail.

    ProtonMail is a modern-looking email client that provides security in a few ways. First of all, it uses end-to-end encryption to protect your email throughout the entirety of its travel. However, unlike Gmail, your private key isn’t accessible to ProtonMail, as it isn’t uploaded to their servers, ensuring security from breaches.
    ProtonMail uses an open source cryptography, which allows anyone to access their code. With it being open source, it will have faster adjustment to new exploits discovered. It also protects against intentionally made backdoors since the public can see the entire code and become aware.
    ProtonMail also records minimal metadata, none of which is personally identifiable information. Therefore, you are protected if a breach happens to ProtonMail or if someone wants to know who you email. There is even an option for self-destructing email which places a timer on emails you send, deleting them from the recipient’s inbox once the timer expires.

    Dithering is a process that uses digital noise to smooth out colours in digital graphics and sounds in digital audio.
    All digital photos are an approximation of the original subject, since computers cannot display an infinite amount of colours. Instead, the colours are estimated, or rounded to the closest colour available.
    When digital photos contain only a few hundred colours, they typically look blotchy, since large areas are represented by single colours,www.techterms.com says. Dithering can be used to reduce this blotchy appearance by adding digital noise to smooth out the transitions between colours. This noise makes the photo appear more grainy, but gives it a more accurate representation since the colours blend together more smoothly. In fact, if you view a dithered 256-colour image from far away, it may look identical to the same image that is represented by thousands or millions of colours.

    Like digital images, digital audio recordings are approximations of the original analogue source. Therefore, if the sampling rate or bit depth of an audio file is too low, it may sound choppy or rough.
    Dithering can be applied to the audio file to smooth out the roughness. Similar to dithering a digital image, audio dithering adds digital noise to the audio to smooth out the sound. If you view a dithered waveform in an audio editor, it will appear less blocky. More importantly, if you listen to a dithered audio track, it should sound smoother and more like the original analogue sound.
    Several types of dithering algorithms are used by various image and audio editors, though random dithering is the most common. While dithering is often used to improve the appearance and sound of low-quality graphics and audio, it can also be applied to high-quality images and recordings. In these situations, dithering may still provide extra smoothness to the image or sound.
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