Dangerous and ineffective, why it is not advisable to use a free VPN

Before explaining why the use of a free VPN can be hazardous, it is necessary to go back to the very principle of the VPN and its business model. A VPN is a computer system that allows you to quickly and smoothly relocate your Internet connection to servers located around the world. In other words, you will connect your PC to a server, which will surf the Internet instead of your PC. The data that is received and sent to this server is then encrypted and theoretically inviolable.

The principle is relatively simple to understand and relatively simple to implement when you have some computer knowledge. After all, nothing would prevent you from having a server in your room and making it an access point for a VPN. But VPN providers do not only have one.

More than 50% of free VPNs have more than 3 data trackers

It was revealed in 2016 by a study published by CSIRO (an Australian government agency for scientific research). It examined the content and permissions required by VPN applications for Android after taking a closer look at a corpus of 283 VPNs. From this study, we should note that while two-thirds of paid VPNs have no trackers, this figure drops to less than 30% when it comes to free VPNs. Worse, more than half of the free VPNs had three or more. And that’s not to mention the number of malware present in these applications.

In addition to this unpleasant observation in terms of privacy, there is also a lack of functionalities that we have to expect from a VPN. There is currently no free VPN available to bypass Netflix’s geoblocking and access its American catalog. Few, if not non-existent, are those that allow peer-to-peer downloading. In short, in addition to selling your data to third parties, they do not even provide the necessary uses expected from such a service.

What to do without a pricing model? Resell data!

Not only to ensure software monitoring (connection encryption, kill switch, split tunneling), but also technical control worthy of the name (to ensure the speed and stability of the connection) therefore requires resources. And currently, the only way to maintain this network and provide a satisfactory quality of service is to charge the user. And that’s when the problems with free VPNs start to arise.

Free VPNs then have only two solutions to generate money. The first is to restrict the connection speed or data that passes through their servers to encourage users to switch to paid services. These are the most honest free VPNs but also the most inconvenient.

The other solution is as old as the Internet, “if it’s free, you’re the product.” They include trackers (in the best case) or even malware. In the VPN world more than anywhere else, it is advisable to rely on the major brands to ensure that your data is safe.

Data Security : Raid explained

Data Security is critical

When you decide to equip yourself with a NAS server, you will necessarily have to ask yourself the question of the level of RAID to adopt. Why? Because it secures your data in case of failure of one of the hard disks and it is one of the biggest avantages des serveurs NAS. All the boxes with at least 2 bays offer at least one type of RAID. The question is which RAID to choose to maintain the balance between performance and data protection.

What is Raid?

RAID is traditionally used in companies where performance optimization and data protection are essential. But with the development of the NAS market for home users and the increasing data storage needs of consumers, RAID is also making its way to us.

The acronym RAID first appeared in an article published in 1987 by the University of Berkeley entitled A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID. The cost of data storage is no longer such a problem today, so the acronym has evolved to “Redundant Array of Independent Disks”.

This refers to the types of data distribution over multiple hard drives that aim to improve their performance or fault tolerance, or both, while ensuring the security of the recorded data.

The type of RAID defined depends on the data protection you want to adopt and the use you will make of it.

The different type of Raid for a Nas server

RAID 0

raid 0 system explainedRAID 0 is the protection type……. level 0. It is chosen by those who seek performance first and foremost. The data is written to several disks considered as a single volume. All discs can work at the same time and increase the read/write speed proportionally. However, the failure of a single hard disk will result in the loss of all your data.

Storage capacity is added between each disk unless you have a smaller disk size. In this case, the capacity of each disk will be limited to the size of the smallest disk. For example if you have 2 hard disks of 2TO and 2 hard disks of 1TO, the available volume will not be 2+2+1+1+1 or 6 TO but only 1+1+1+1 or 4 TO.

Not so interesting, is it?

JBOD

JBOD for “Just a Bunch Of Disks” assembles all the disks into a single storage volume. But unlike RAID 0, the data is not distributed between the disks but recorded separately from one disk to another. In the event of a failure of one of the disks, you will only lose the information saved on that disk.

The volumes of each disc add up, regardless of the size of each disc. However, you will not benefit from the performance of RAID 0.

RAID 1

raid 1RAID 1 is a kind of mirror backup. Data is recorded simultaneously from one disc to another, generating a replica of everything you do. If one of the discs fails, you can continue to work with the other. This is the simplest method of data protection. Be careful not to inadvertently delete a folder, however, as the action will be reproduced on the other disk.

The most constraining aspect is that you divide your storage capacity by 2 since all your data is duplicated.

RAID 5

raid 5RAID 5 is the configuration that offers the most benefits. This level offers better performance than RAID 1 mirroring while protecting your data. However, you will need a NAS with at least 3 hard disks. The total size of the storage volume is the capacity of the smallest disk multiplied by the number of disks minus one. If you have 4 disks of 1TB configured as RAID 5, you will have 3TB of available space.

The volume removed is used as a “parity” divided on all discs. This parity makes it possible to rebuild the contents of the disks if one of them were to fail. The system continues to operate while you replace the disk with reduced performance.

RAID 6

raid 6RAID 6 is identical to RAID 5 but provides even more security because instead of using one parity block, it uses two. You can have two failed disks without losing data.

Operation in RAID 6 requires at least 4 hard disks.

RAID 10 is a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 0 also called RAID 1+0. 4 is the minimum number of disks, you can set 2 disks to RAID 0 to take advantage of the performance gain to work on temporary files for example and secure your data on 2 mirror disks with RAID 1.

RAID 10

raid 10The choice of RAID is not crucial because it can be modified in the settings of your NAS. However, a bad choice and failure of your system can have serious consequences on your productivity or on the backup of your data. So take the time to choose a RAID that will allow you to protect your most important data and take into account the space consumed when choosing your hard drives.

Don’t forget one important thing. Setting up your disks as RAID does not mean securing your data. In the event of fire, theft, etc., your data may be lost forever. So don’t hesitate to back up your data from time to time to an external hard drive that you keep in a place other than your NAS or to use the automatic backups to online clouds offered by most NAS.

The smartphone market is in trouble: Samsung and LG announce results worse than Apple

The Chinese smartphone market is in total decline and is believed to be mostly responsible for the failures of Apple, Samsung and LG this quarter. The decline could continue in 2019.

Apple is not the only company that has suffered the most this quarter, since the publication of a historical warning on its sales figures. In parallel with their announcements at the CES, Samsung and LG both reported poor results during the last three months of 2018. The Korean giants are recording much stronger falls than Apple’s and are anticipating a very tricky start to 2019.

LG and Samsung performing worse than Apple

For the last quarter of 2018, Samsung Electronics will shortly publish its revenue; it is expected to be 59 trillion won or $52.5 billion, according to the company. It is much less than the 58.8 billion expected by analysts and is above all a spectacular 11% drop over the past year. In comparison, Apple’s expected revenue this quarter ($84 billion) represents only a 5% decrease from last year. It is enough to put the Apple “catastrophe” into perspective.

On the LG side, the results are equally alarming. Its turnover (14 billion dollars) fell by 7% year-on-year, and its profit fell by… 80%. The company only achieved a margin of 67 million compared to 344.3 million a year ago — a phenomenal loss.

Different explanations

How can such a fall be explained for these three companies? In its warning, Samsung explains that it is suffering from a drop in demand for components, particularly in its memory division. The world leader also admits suffering the consequences of intense competition, without mentioning Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei.

On LG’s side, the smartphone is indeed not the first element to be questioned, as the company only represents 3% of the market. The Korean does not give any details, although analysts suspect a decline in TV margins. Apple points to several reasons, such as the slowdown in the global economy, tensions with China or low renewal among iPhone users.

Chinese market in free fall

In parallel with these announcements, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, an organization managed by the Chinese government, published its review of the smartphone market in 2018. Very interestingly, it shows that mobile sales fell by 15.5% year-on-year in China (390 million units) and by 17% in December alone, the most significant month of the last quarter.

How can we explain the decline of the Chinese market, which is the largest in the world?

According to the analysis firm Canalys interviewed by Reuters, China has become a mature market, with less smartphone renewal than in the past. The economic war between the United States and China and the mistrust of certain manufacturers would have reduced the interest of Chinese consumers. With entry-level devices increasingly more efficient and designed by local companies, all analysts agree that 2019 will be a complicated year for traditional manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and LG.

GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: a graphics card cut for 100 fps at 4K

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is Nvidia’s latest addition. This solution announced at over 1200 $ promises first-class performance but what can we expect?

Initial results have just been published.

The publication is signed by Techradar after they were given a shot at the product during the Gamescom exhibition of the GeForce GTX 2080 Ti.

According to them, Nvidia offers the first graphics card capable of providing a worry-free 4K definition. The article is very enthusiastic although it carries the mention of criticism around Nvidia’s new baby. In parallel, it has the merit of being one of the first to offer an overview of the possibilities of this GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

This solution is positioned on the top of the range with the reputation to offer 60 fps under a 4k definition. At the moment no detailed independent tests are available due to the different NDAs imposed by Nvidia.  The preview is only from what is available at Gamescom 2018.

The feedback talks about the 4K and points out that for some games the results are positive with 100 FPS with graphics options on Ultra. The map is a Founders Edition. It is accompanied by an overclocking at the gearbox output of +90 MHz.

One of the titles named is Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This title is not a surprise since it was used by Nvidia to highlight its RTX (Ray Tracing) technology. It is to be noted that this title is at the origin of a polemic concerning the observed performances.

For the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, independent testing is required

This GeForce RTX 2080 Ti looks good at first glance, but some articles point to a controversial performance with RTX games. On this point, it is necessary to wait. Nvidia and the developers still have a few weeks to refine the drivers and the different patches.

If you attended the Nvidia conference, this presentation of the Geforce RTX 20 series focused on the RTX. Nvidia did not mention the performance of its new products in RTX titles or not. 

Most of its GeForce RTX 20s are already out of stock at several retailers. The demand is therefore there because of a morose graphics card market for some time. One of the rules is often to wait for a little because impatience is expensive. So before paying more than 1200 $ for his beloved PC, it is advisable to wait until the publication of independent tests, to get an overview of the behavior of his solutions in a software environment of everyone.

 

Microsoft Office 2019: Preview version is online

Microsoft Office 2019

Still scheduled for an upcoming release this year, the Microsoft Office 2019 suite is taking its first steps.

In a post on its official blog, Microsoft announces that Preview versions of its famous software are available to business users.

More powerful, more ergonomic, more secure. The Office 2019 suite relies on this trio of superlatives to convince.

Reserved for Microsoft Business customers, the Office 2019 Preview is available since last Friday and allows you to taste the many new features of this new version.

As the Microsoft blog post makes clear, the American firm is primarily targeting companies that have not yet switched to Office 365. Microsoft seems indeed to want to push its customers to pass the Cape of the Cloud, which has a more profitable business model in the long term: the subscription.

What’s new for Office 2019?

excel in actionSince Friday, Business users of the Office suite can test new software Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, Visio and OneNote.

Exclusively available for Windows 10 (a macOS version will follow), this new version focuses on very technical innovations. It will include a more accessible pencil case, making it easier to annotate any document. The use of a stylus or a tablet will be facilitated through all the applications of the suite.

Excel, for its part, will benefit from new formulas, but mainly from brand new diagrams. For example, you can opt for tunnel displays or 2D maps.

PowerPoint, finally, will offer new and modern presentation possibilities.

The final version of Office 2019 will also contain revised iterations of Exchange, SharePoint, Project Server and Skype for Business.

Available only on Windows

To develop the use of Windows 10, especially in companies, Microsoft announced on February 1, 2018, that its new Office 2019 package would not be supported by Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

The restriction of software to Windows 10 and the use of Click-to-Run installation files are gradually removing users from older operating systems.

An exclusive update

Only Windows 10 users will be able to benefit from the update of the Office Pack, according to the announcement made by Microsoft on February 1. The software, which should be released in the second half of 2018, therefore puts aside users of Windows 8.1 and especially Windows 7, still numerous. In January 2018, NetMarketShare referenced more than 44% of users on Windows 7.

The computer giant tends to make old versions of its operating system obsolete to force companies to get the most recent one. For individuals, the alternative is to continue using Office 2013 or 2016.

Google working on a mid-range Pixel tailored for the Indian market

Google is set to launch a new batch of its flagship mobile products on Indian soil, including a new mid-range Pixel model.

The 14% increase in smartphone sales in India in 2017 has not gone unnoticed, and Google expects to benefit from it. The American firm would thus prepare to market this summer a new telephone on Indian soil, to collect shares on Samsung and Apple, the two mastodons in the country. According to information obtained by the English-language newspaper Economic Times, Google should indeed present a new model of the Pixel series – it’s 100% home-made mobiles -, specially designed for India. On the technical side, LG, HTC, and Huawei, who all have assembly lines in India, would be in the running to build the mobile. The characteristics of the phone are still unknown. However, it would a priori be a mid-range smartphone. A first for the Pixel range.

An aggressive communication and marketing would accompany this new model.

In spearhead, a multiplication of physical points of sale, a practice highly appreciated on the Indian market. While Singapore retailer Redington would provide the stores, “Google will place billboards and branded areas at selected retailers, as Apple is already doing,” an informed source told the Economic Times.

This mid-range pixel would not cross Indian borders alone. Google would also like to import Google Home and Google Home mini by the end of April 2018. In the meantime, part of the Nest brand’s catalog of connected products should follow. Finally, the Pixelbook, the brand’s premium computer, will be available within a year.

India thus enters the closed circle of countries where a Pixel is for sale. A privilege still denied to France. But Google seems to open, which can leave a hope to see these mobiles arrive one day in the hexagon. Anyway, still according to Electronic Times sources, it is not excluded that this smartphone will be available in other markets economically similar to India.

The Chinese company DJI offers a system for the detection of its drones.

A world leader, the Chinese firm markets a system that allows police forces to locate its drones near sensitive areas.

drones are dangerousThe rise of UAVs has, in turn, created an emerging but insistent demand: the possibility of detecting them.

The international regulations, which will be implemented in the coming months, provide, like the future European standards, that each aircraft must have a registration in the form of an electronic signature.

At the same time, sensitive areas around airports, nuclear power stations, and major public events are beginning to be equipped with sophisticated detection systems. The Chinese DJI, the world’s number one leisure drones, wants to occupy this field by offering the public authorities equipment capable of locating its drones, AeroScope, unveiled on 12 October in Brussels. A way to expand its activity, but also to watch over its image as a company respectful of sensitive data, which has been somewhat shaken up in recent months.

Two-thirds of the world market – AeroScope is a tracking system currently limited to DJI drones. The Shenzhen-based company has between 60 and 65 % of the market for leisure equipment, which is a significant basis. Also, this feature, which identifies – but not neutralizes – an aircraft, does not require any updates from the pilot. AeroScope is a receiver, available in mobile (medium size suitcase) or a fixed mode, able to detect – “up to a distance of 5 km”, say its designers – a small drone, identifying the wifi link that connects it to the pilot’s radio control. Once located, the AeroScope’s display receives telemetry data from the drone: GPS position, altitude, speed, but also the serial number of the aircraft as well as its direction and location from which it took off.

Two airports under test

DJI, which does not indicate the price of the equipment (which will have to be much cheaper than sophisticated detectors, derived from military radars, to be widely distributed), only indicates that it will be available in the coming weeks. In addition to airports – two of them are currently in the testing phase – AeroScope is intended for use by the police, for example, to monitor an event, or in prisons to detect the approach of suspect UAVs.

DJI matrice range of quadsThe challenge now is to convince the competition – Parrot, Yuneec, GoPro – to integrate a compatible wifi signature (DJI is willing to “open its protocol”) to make its drones like the DJI Care Mavic Pro identifiable. On the other hand, it will be more difficult for “homemade” quadcopters by enlightened amateurs. To protect consumer privacy, AeroScope will not automatically transmit personally identifiable information until required by regulation,” says DJI.

Offline Mode

Although nothing to date has substantiated these fears, DJI’s leaders have decided to take immediate action. A few days before presenting AeroScope, they announced the release of a “Local Data” mode to interrupt the Internet connection of the DJI GO 4 application to ensure that no data leaves the drone or tablet used to fly it. Even if it means depriving itself of certain information, such as local flight restrictions.

This electronic equipment, which no one can guarantee will be completely effective – particularly against UAVs flying in programmed mode – also allows DJI to take the lead while awaiting the introduction of registration and identification devices that will soon be imposed on recreational UAV users.

iPhone: Will iOS 11.1 solve autonomy issues?

iOS 11.1

The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system could save iPhone users two to four hours of battery life.

The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS has accumulated bugs and problems with its autonomy over the past few months. The good news is that it seems that the Apple brand has done what it takes to give some juice back to the iPhone with version 11.1. Endurance tests of devices equipped with beta four are emerging, and the results are encouraging.

iDevicesHelp has thus tested the autonomy of three different iPhone -a 6 Plus, a 7 Plus, and an 8 Plus- with the version 11.0.3 of iOS, then with the version 11.1 beta 4, a screen lit and chronometer in operation. In the first case, the devices gave up after 4h to 4h45 of activity. In the second, the iPhone 7 Plus gained 2.5 hours of battery life, the 6 Plus lasted 3 hours longer and the 8 Plus nearly 4 hours. Results that the Youtuber confirmed by re-testing the complete test.

Obviously, the conditions of this test do not correspond to the classic use of a smartphone, so such gains, in reality, are not to be expected. The final version of iOS 11.1 is expected to be released for the iPhone X release on November 3rd. 01net’s lab will be doing its autonomy tests at that time.

Twitter Launch Transparency Center To Help Users Being Targetted By Political Ads

twitter the social network

In response to the criticism over the 2016 US presidential election, Twitter has unveiled its new ‘transparency center’ which will enforce tougher standards for political adverts on the social media platform.

This comes after the company were placed under fire for allowing adverts, which may have been Russian propaganda, in last year’s election.

The plan is that the Transparency Center will be able to show users the details of adverts on Twitter, with facts such as what length of time they have been up for and if they are aimed at you as a user.

If you think that an advert running on Twitter is unfair or there is something wrong about it, it will be possible to report it.

The media giant is especially concerned about political adverts and anything that may be seen as campaigning for a political party, person or cause.

In this new transparency center, readers will be able to discover more about these political ads and see which demographic have been picked out to be shown the adverts.

Additionally, the transparency center will show how much a certain political candidate, cause or campaign has spent on advertising.

Initially it will only be the USA where these initiatives will be focused, but in time, this information should also be available to be accessed all over the globe.

In a similar move, Facebook also announced that they were planning on increasing their transparency, with regards to advertising.

  • Twitter are also considering launching a premium version of their website which would be ad free for subscribers.

TWITTER ADS FACTS

  • Although the cost may be prohibitive, the pay back is worth placing an ad on Twitter to grow any business.
  • Compared to Facebook, Twitter ads are about six times the price but the CTR for Twitter is between eight and twenty four times the rate of Facebook.
  • A promoted tweet can boost sales offline, in real life, by up to nearly 30%
  • To promote a trend could cost $200,000 for one twenty four hour period.
  • If you post a linked image in your tweet, it will gain five times as much attention as a simple text based tweet.
  • For B2B marketing, Twitter is essential, with it being the second most popular platform for businesses marketing to other businesses.
  • Nearly 30% of social media users in the USA have a Twitter account
  • Twitter has 310 million active accounts and counting.
  • More than 550 million people have sent a tweet.
  • Another 500 million read Twitter without ever making a login.
  • Journalists account for nearly a quarter of all Twitter users, making it a vital platform for the media and promotion of business.
  • 83% of World Leaders have Twitter accounts and are active.
  • A B2B marketer with a Twitter account can make twice as many leads as one who does not.
  • 41% of people on Twitter have made a purchase after seeing an advert that was displayed in the last 30 days.