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Bytes and Beyond

It’s time to leave WhatsApp behind

Effective May 15, 2021, Facebook is changing the WhatsApp terms of service. A significant change concerns the sharing of user data. For now, users are presented with an alert message which they have to dismiss every day. On May 15, accepting the changes will become mandatory. The only alternative is to move on to another instant messenger. Luckily, there are plenty of instant messengers which prioritize their users' security.

Bytes and Beyond

Moving your stuff to a new phone

With all that has happened this year, it's sort of a relief that Christmas has still arrived right on schedule. In spite of everything, the spirit of Christmas seems to be unbroken – just ask the package delivery guys. Lots of presents have made their way to their destinations, one of the most popular being a new smartphone.

However, the joy over getting a new Android device can quickly turn into frustration when the time comes to transfer one's data and apps from the old to the new phone. Unless you've already surrendered all your data to Google, you face the ordeal of setting everything up again. There are several approaches for this, each have individual quirks and advantages. No need to be scared ... let's have a look.

Bytes and Beyond

You're about to be scammed

Online criminals are targeting hospitals, government agencies and companies with cruel extortion schemes. The attackers stealthily encrypt the files of their victims and demand large sums of money for returning a decryption key to recover the data.

Most of these schemes start with a scam e-mail. Current targeted spam e-mails can be fiendishly clever, inserting themselves into legitimate conversations and business transactions to cause maximum damage. To protect yourself against such scams, you have to stay one step ahead of the attackers' game.

Bytes and Beyond

Helping from home: Handling remote support

"Hey, sorry to bother you, but you know so much about computers. I have this problem ..." If this is the start of a phone call by a friend or family member, it usually means they are in real trouble. Good thing there are such things as remote support tools – they save you the hassle of a half-hour drive to fix what may be a trivial problem.

There are about a dozen remote access tools for Windows on the market. Among the free choices, the best choices are TeamViewer, AnyDesk and miscellaneous Virtual Network Computing (VNC) clients, UltraVNC being the most popular among the latter.

If you are already used to a particular remote access tool, it's probably best to stick with it. VNC software can be a problem to set up with less-experienced users because of NAT issues with routers between the two computers.


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