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6 tips to make your phone more private and secure

Exercise caution during these times

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Your smartphone is capable of gathering and collecting personal information. As such, malicious hackers are always looking for ways to break into your phone to gain that valuable information. Meanwhile, big tech companies and governments are actively developing discrete methods of tracking you through your smartphone.

Thus, it is important to protect your smartphone’s privacy and security. However, it can be daunting to do that if you don’t know where to begin. With many privacy and security guidelines out there, it can be confusing where to look for protection.

Luckily, it’s easy to make your phone more private and secure. These tips are easy to do, and can be accomplished in an hour. Remember though, that the level of protection varies for different people.

These tips aren’t intended for the privacy paranoid. Instead, they act as tips on ensuring that you have the baseline privacy and security protection for your smartphone.

1. Change your device’s privacy settings

“It starts with you,” so the saying goes. The same tip also applies to making your device more private and secure. You have to start by changing your device’s setting.

Unfortunately for you, some default settings actually harm your device’s privacy and security. For example, your device may have analytics turned on by default — this violates privacy by sending data to third-party companies without your consent.

Changing the default privacy settings in iOS is simple and intuitive. All you need to do is to head over to the Settings app and scroll to the Privacy menu down below. Here, you’ll see a lot of things that you can change.

On the Android side, you’ll usually find the privacy settings for your device on the list of menus under your phone’s settings app. Like in iOS, you’ll see a lot of things that you can change to make your device more private.

These include limiting or opting out of ad personalization, turning off analytics, and changing notifications to display only the app name.

2. Review individual app permissions

Most apps that you use every day ask for permissions. These act as barriers that stop apps from mindlessly retrieving sensitive data.

Treat permissions as a powerful tool for safeguarding your privacy and security. Likewise, most permissions are important enough that you need to be more mindful of what apps you’re allowing and not allowing.

Common permissions include access to the camera, microphone, contacts, SMS, and location. There’s no exact rule to determining what permission should be allowed for an app.

However, as a general rule of thumb, know first the advertised function of a certain app. A calculator app shouldn’t ask for your microphone if, in the first place, it doesn’t tout voice input as a function.

For messaging apps, you’ll obviously need to allow contacts and SMS access. These apps will also need the camera and microphone access for video calling purposes.

Social media apps commonly require access to contacts, camera, and location. Meanwhile, utility apps should have minimum permissions from the get-go.

3. Use a VPN

You may have heard about someone using a VPN to unblock shows from Netflix or view restricted websites. Basically, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) routes your connection to multiple servers around the world. As such, you also end up with an IP address that hides your real location.

This is a huge deal especially for some websites or services that hide content depending on a user’s location. It’s also a boon for your privacy and security.

VPNs also protect your privacy by feeding false location information to most advertisers on the web. Most websites today have ads that track users wherever they go. Companies have sophisticated methods of tracking and building user profiles. This violates users’ privacy and security.

There are a lot of VPN services to choose from in this day and age. However, some VPN services actually leak sensitive information. On top of that, some of them have monthly data allocation and speed caps.

Some of the reputable VPN services out there include ProtonVPN, Private Internet Access, TunnelBear, and NordVPN. It’s also worth checking out Mullvad, SurfShark, and IPVanish.

Configuring VPNs is easy. You just have to follow the instructions given by your selected VPN provider.

4. Install messaging apps with encryption.

We use messaging apps to stay connected with our friends and families. However, not all messaging apps are built equally.

Some messaging apps don’t implement end-to-end encryption (E2E encryption), allowing malicious hackers and third-party companies to access your valuable information without your permission.

End-to-end encryption protects your valuable data by making your messages hard to read for hackers and companies. That means that even if a company that owns a messaging app gets hacked, they will only see random blobs of data instead of other people’s messages.

By now, most messaging apps in the market use end-to-end encryption. However, most apps only encrypt your data while in transit, which means that your message is safe while it travels across servers.

The messages that reside in your device aren’t encrypted at all, so hackers and companies can retrieve any information using sophisticated methods such as apps that harvest data in the background.

There are quite a good number of messaging apps that offer full E2E encryption. One of the most popular is Signal — a messaging app used by the famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. You only use a mobile number to create a Signal account, mitigating the need for emails and passwords. It also has quite an extensive list of features that even rival Facebook Messenger.

Other apps that offer full E2E encryption includes ThreeMa, WhatsApp, and Wire. Telegram and Viber also offer E2E encryption by default.

5. Consider using a secure browser

Chances are, the browser that you’re using today is Google Chrome. Many people use Chrome since its fast, simple, and just works.

However, it’s also one of the worst browsers to use for safeguarding personal privacy and security. After all, it is owned by Google. It’s common knowledge by now that Google thrives on a business that doesn’t totally safeguard your privacy and security.

There are other browsers out there that offer a better private browsing mode. Among them is Mozilla Firefox, which offers tracking prevention by default. Firefox’s tracking prevention blocks ads and other web elements that try to gather personal information as you browse the web.

Other browsers that have tracking prevention includes Microsoft Edge and Brave Browser. Safari also blocks trackers now, and you’ll see privacy reports in the future as part of macOS Big Sur.

You may have also heard of Tor Browser. Using Tor Browser is recommended if you want your browsing activity to be more private and secure. Keep in mind though, that browsing is much slower since it routes your network connection to different servers all around the world.

6. Store passwords with a password manager.

In this day and age, you should be using a password manager to manage your website logins. After using one, you’ll wonder why you haven’t used one sooner.

Password managers are convenient. Most of them feature one-click autofill which automatically fills in your username and password in the corresponding field. You’ll no longer have to enter your information manually. On top of that, you protect your privacy against snoopers.

Most password managers can also generate strong passwords for you. You don’t have to think about what unique word you’ll use when asked for a password.

More importantly, you no longer have to reuse an old password which just increases the chances of a hacker gaining access to your accounts. Some even have a password monitor feature, which alerts you if the password you used was retrieved by hackers.

Some of the best password managers out there include LastPass, Dashlane, and Bitwarden.

BONUS: Don’t give your personal info in an instant

This sounds simple but it’s something that we need to share with everyone. Especially our loved ones who don’t know better about giving out their personal information.

This not only applies in the digital world but also in the real world. After all, someone is bound to mishandle or abuse your personal data. The best course of action is to always ask if sensitive information is needed at all.

In digital terms, that means checking out an app or a website’s privacy policy for any mention of what data is needed to gain access to their service. However, privacy policies tend to get long, so we might be lazy enough to know why a piece of data is needed.

As a rule of thumb, always exercise caution when giving out personal information. If possible, limit any personal information to your name, email address, mobile number, and approximate location.

Making your device more secure and private doesn’t have to be tedious. These simple tips are easy enough to follow but will ensure a more private experience for you and your device.

These tips, however, only scratch the surface. Ensuring your device is private and secure is a proactive approach that requires one to be cautious of their data at all times.

Features

Sony PlayStation 5: A complete rundown

The company’s next generation console launches worldwide on November 19

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PlayStation 5

On November 19, the rest of the world will witness the arrival of the PlayStation 5. Sony’s next generation console plans to bring a new gaming experience, fit with the latest hardware. With the release nearing, here’s what you need to know about it:

AMD decking out the internals

The PlayStation 5 rocks an x86-x64 AMD Ryzen CPU following the Zen 2 architecture. For its GPU, it comes with an AMD Radeon RDNA graphics engine that supports active ray tracing. Essentially, what these provide are incredible game quality at higher frame rates.

Speaking of internals, this next-gen console comes with an expandable storage slot that supports M.2 SSDs. It already comes with up to 825GB of SSD storage, with a good portion of it to the operating system. With the SSD in place, expect your games to load pretty fast upon boot.

Supports almost all PS4 titles released prior

The PlayStation will have native support for most PlayStation 4 games

Several sources confirmed that indeed, the PlayStation 5 comes with backward compatibility features. This means that you don’t have to dispose any of your old PlayStation 4 games just yet. As for older PlayStation systems, Sony has yet to confirm compatibility for these yet.

Not only will the PS5 support these titles, but you can even upgrade some of your PS4 games to a digital PS5 version. Sony laid out instructions on how to do this through their support page, so you best keep your PS4 library. However, take note that this upgrade could come for free or with a cost.

The hardware and software integration

PlayStation 5

Just recently, Sony showed off the PlayStation 5’s new UI, complete with integration with their new hardware. Features like the Control Center and Activities all work seamlessly, especially with their new DualSense controller. With these features, you can continue playing your game while checking on what you missed out on.

Apart from the DualSense controller, Sony also unveiled its lineup of optional accessories that will come with the PS5. This includes its PULSE 3D Wireless Headset, the Media Remote, a 1080p PlayStation Camera, and the DualSense charging station.

Physical or digital, the choice is yours

Upon launch, you have a choice between the Blu-ray physical edition or the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. The key difference between the two is, well the latter does not come with a Blu-ray disc reader inside. The Digital Edition comes in at US$ 399.99, while the Blu-ray Edition comes in at US$ 499.99.

PlayStation 5

Along with the PS5, several game developers plan to launch their games alongside it. Titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesAssassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Gran Turismo 7 are just some on the list. Also, several current-gen titles will get their own PS5 digital versions like NBA 2K21.


We’ll update this space should there be more information about the PS5.

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Huawei MatePad T 10: The perfect goldilocks tablet

An unexpectedly helpful in-between device

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These past 200+ days of quarantining as much as possible have been horrendous. It’s caused multiple ripple effects on many facets of our personal lives and how we go about our day to day. There’s just so much that’s shifted, we don’t even have the time nor the right timing to get into the nitty-gritty of every change.

Stuck at home with family?

Alright, who else has been going through the motions of unlearning and relearning lifestyle changes at home? Everyone? Sounds about right. The pandemic really forced us to not just live with ourselves but also, deal with our families. Anyone tired of their family yet? We’ve got nowhere to run, boys and girls!

Work, study, and home chores just blend altogether at this point. And, it’s tough. There are all sorts of things and places you’d associate with rest and time off and there are things you didn’t think you’d need until a pandemic made gadgets essential for work and study.

Things we didn’t use to need

When you need portability, efficient functionality, and multi-faceted features, nothing has you more covered in this department like a tablet would.

If you’re worried about getting tasks done while needing to get around the house, don’t fret. This is just the gadget for you. At only 450g, The Huawei MatePad T 10 is a stunning lightweight 9.7-inch HD display tablet equipped with powerful, kid-friendly, and intelligent features.

You can use this tablet to work, write, read, study, play, and sketch wherever and whenever. The MatePad T 10 is powered by a Kirin 710A with their new EMUI 10.1, delivering on smooth and no-stutter experience. The tablet’s App Multiplier also helps when you need to keep multiple tabs open within your reach.

Even when you’re done with work and want to call it a day, the tablet has entertainment features that don’t let you down. The Huawei T 1o has two large sound cavity speakers on the sides giving you a good immersive experience. The tablet features the Huawei Histen 6.1 software to deliver 3D surround sound support.

The Goldilocks approach

Not too big, not too small — just right! Thing is, some people don’t have the luxury of setting up a complete rig just for work at home. Most people will need something they can use for work to carry around. Not only that, they might need a tablet for their kids to play, explore, and learn with. So, if you’re worried about costs, functionality, and portability a tablet should be on the table. Get it? Table? Tablet?

Terrible jokes aside, the MatePad T 10’s AppGallery and Petal Search Widget help anyone to find the right app collation to install and use. Huawei’s AppGallery is the third biggest app distributer. So, there are tons of entertainment and lifestyle apps available on Huawei’s AppGallery available to you.

Booky, foodpanda, Kumu, Paymaya, iflix, Shopee, Lazada, and BeautyMNL are just some of those enlisted in their pre-installed AppGallery. And, if you can’t seem to find it, they have the Petal Search Widget which allows you to access apps you’re looking for.

New forms of learning: daunting but possible

Whether a parent or a child, navigating through learning online can be daunting. Which, the Huawei MatePad T 10 has their Kid’s Corner feature for. It’s the tablets parental control so you can protect and keep tabs on your kid while they learn and explore using the tablet.

For online learning at home, the tablet has just the thing for you. Eye protection settings and eBook settings featured on the MatePad T 10 make sure it looks like your reading off of paper and your eyes don’t strain.

The MatePad T 10 is a good, kid-friendly buddy if or when you’re worried about kids while they get right back into school online. Don’t worry. There are many customizable features in the tablet’s Kid’s Corner feature to ease your worries.

The tablet is perfect to give any caring parent out there the peace of mind. They can even access top apps for kids on the MatePad T 10’s AppGallery like ABC Spelling, Azomee, Baby Panda’s School Bus, Math Kids Learning, and more.

Forced family bonding

This year is nearly over and it feels surreal to even put that into perspective. It just goes to show that as much as we love to control circumstances, some things are completely out of our control. So, we adapt. We give ourselves space to grieve and compromise. And, hey! When have we ever gotten this much downtime with our family? If anything, we’re forced to bond together and get through it together.

So, if you think you need a multi-faceted gadget to work, study, and play on, allow yourself to weigh in on efficiency, durability, and affordability of a tablet. Because Huawei definitely weighed all of those into account and made sure the Huawei MatePad T 10 ticked those boxes. The tablet comes at a bargained price of PhP 6,999.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines

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3 reasons why young adults need a smart tablet in their homes

Get an entertainment pad and virtual assistant in one

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Being in your mid-20s means you’re stuck in transition. You’re not a kid anymore, but you’re still not a full-fledged adult either. You probably still call mommy dearest when you get a stain on your clothes, even though you’re already paying your own bills. But adulting is difficult; no one really has it together.

When you’re in this phase, your priorities shift. For instance, redecorating your little chateau is your new favorite hobby. Along with making Ikea your own Disneyland.

However, living in the 21st century means we need to build smarter homes, to keep up with the times. While we try our best to be financially independent, splurging a little bit for any home essential won’t do any harm. Especially when it’s a smart tablet aimed to make your life easier.

Such is the case for Lenovo’s Smart Tablet M8, and I’ve got three reasons why you need to invest in getting one.

Your personal smart assistant, ready to serve

I never thought I needed a smart tablet until I got one. The idea of having my own Gideon from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow got me thrilled. Asking Siri won’t cut it anymore. Having this device felt like there’s a soul living inside, echoed through a virtual assistant.

When I get extremely lazy to do things on my phone or laptop, I only ask my Google Assistant to do menial tasks. I was able to organize my calendar, set my alarms, ask for unnecessary stuff that came into my mind while I multi-task in my work or house chores.

There’s a lot you can do when you have a device dedicated to being your own smart assistant, instead of relying on your smartphone.

It’s a great entertainment pad

I know, I know. We already have our Smart TV, smartphones, laser projectors, laptops, and whatnot. Who needs another entertainment device?

Continually, I find myself distracted when I use my smartphone or laptop for entertainment. Using your daily drivers gives you access to things that might derail you from enjoying a new song you heard or the new show you’re obsessing about.

Luckily, the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 is a 2-in-1 tablet and dock. While it can be your own assistant, it can serve as your mini theater, granted you use it to provide entertainment alone and you won’t install your social apps. No access to you means a better time spent on fun and solitude.

Portability that matches your transitional phase

Being in an awkward phase between being a young adult and a full-fledged adult, permanence isn’t your thing — for now. The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 offered portability to let you enjoy this temporary phase, without feeling like you’re already tied up.

You can choose to dock it on its Smart Charging Station or bring the tablet elsewhere for whatever you need. The choice is yours and yours alone, and you’re hella free to do whatever you want.

All about the smart tablet

The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 is equipped with an 8-inch IPS LCD display, Dolby Atmos speakers, and a MediaTek A22 processor. It sports a 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage expandable up to 1TB via MicroSD card slot, and a 5000mAh battery. Moreover, it comes with our favorite feature — the 3.5mm audio jack.

With a bundled Smart Charging Dock, the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 retails for PhP 8,490. It’s available in Lenovo’s official stores and authorized retail partners.

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