Features

Your foolproof password isn’t good enough

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Parisa Tabriz

So, you have the most outrageous passwords you can think of — like p@nt$oNFir3 or kings4lyf88 — for all your online accounts and keep them all to yourself. Great job, but you can definitely do better.

Parisa Tabriz is Google’s very own Security Princess, and she believes a strong password is only the start of fortifying your online defenses. As the company’s white hat hacker, she finds bugs in the company’s security system and reports all her findings before black hat hackers take advantage. Think of her as being a Gandalf the White to the all black hat Saurons out there.

Parisa Tabriz

Parisa Tabriz (above) hacks Google for a living — with permission, of course!

She recently shared her top tips for making sure no one gets into your precious Gmail or Facebook profile, and while these may seem trivial, you’d be surprised by how neglected these pieces of advice actually are. Check ‘em out:

Don’t reuse or share the same password across multiple accounts

I admit to being guilty of this one myself. When you have such a hard-to-decrypt password you believe no one could figure, it’s only natural to think it’s good enough for everything. Wrong! We already failed the first step, my friends.

Tabriz suggests using a password manager to keep a tab on every password you use for each website or service. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why would I leave my most valuable assets in the hands of a third-party company? I have the same concern to be honest. Although most password managers are secure to the core, you can also choose to write down each one on paper and tuck it away in a locked drawer. Traditional means for digital problems? Consider it solved!

Don’t log in on shared computers and do use two-step authentication

While you sometimes can’t help but log in on a public computer or shared work laptop to check emails or access your cloud services, doing so isn’t recommended. Keyloggers and malware can record passwords you type and send them to a hacker’s database. They’re difficult to detect and are mostly unavoidable.

If you really must use a computer that isn’t your own, spend some time to at least activate two-step authentication for all your online accounts. This ensures that a message with an additional code will be sent to your mobile number or other inbox when someone (including yourself) attempts to log in with the correct password. Just make sure to add extra protection on your smartphone in case someone gets a hold of it; that would already ruin one out of the two security measures!

Watch out for sketchy software and apps installed on your computer and phone

This is something lots of people are prone to doing, and it’s like self-sabotage. To put it simply, don’t download apps from suspicious websites; don’t download pirated software; do use Safe Browsing while on Google’s Chrome browser; and keep your antivirus programs constantly on the lookout for threats.

If you’re using a smartphone or tablet, be sure to grab apps only from their official sources (e.g., Google Play and Apple’s App Store). As for computers, be smart; being on a highly vulnerable Windows (and sometimes macOS) operating system is deadly enough. If anything seems out of order, look back at all the recent software you installed, whether intentional or not, and look them up online to see if they’re malicious in any way.

Keep your system up to date

Fortunately, most software and operating systems nowadays enable auto-updates by default. As annoying and bandwidth-consuming as they are, having the newest firmware for your smart device and patches for your apps somewhat guarantees you won’t be susceptible to the latest vulnerabilities and holes hackers have discovered.

Tabriz reminds us how controversial the Chrome browser’s auto-update function used to be, mostly due to its constant design changes and unwanted features, but it’s now universally accepted and has become the standard for all other software. So, if you’re about to complain about yet another forced restart from Windows 10 after an update, just think of it as a necessary precaution — you never know who might be watching your computer this very moment.

Bonus: Read/watch the news

While on the topic of online security, I must add my own tip: update yourself with the latest news on mass hackings and data leaks. As soon as you find out one of your online services was compromised, change your password and review what could have been stolen at the very least. Some hacks could lead to a simple outage, but others may put half-a-billion users at risk.

SEE ALSO: 500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked: What we know so far

[irp posts=”4701″ name=”500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked: What we know so far”]

Hands-On

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Hands-on: Best phone of 2018?

Huawei outdoes itself again

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In an industry where incremental updates are the new norm, Huawei manages to wow us again — barely a year after the release of the P20 Pro. The Chinese company is back with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro which might just be the best among the best this year.

In this video, we go over the phones’ new designs, updated cameras, and new memory card format. We also go through the differences between the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

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Features

Huawei Mate 20 vs Mate 20 Pro: What are the differences?

Price isn’t the only factor

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Huawei has once again launched two flagships phones at the same time; one comes with a Pro moniker, while the other does not. Like before, there are some significant differences between the Mate 20 pair to take note of.

While we wait to get our hands on the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS and Mate 20 X, here are the two phones we already know everything about.

Display

One obvious difference is in their displays. While the Mate 20 Pro goes for a notched 6.39-inch 1440p curved HDR OLED display — certainly a mouthful — the regular Mate 20 has a 6.53-inch 1080p RGBW HDR LCD with a much smaller notch.

The Pro model justifies the larger notch by housing a more complex camera system for secured facial recognition, but if that doesn’t matter to you, the regular variant’s Dew Drop notch may be more appealing — and definitely less intrusive.

In addition, the Mate 20 Pro’s OLED tech allows it to curve the edges and equip an in-display fingerprint scanner. It’s essentially the more modern-looking design of the pair.

Performance

Since both models have Huawei’s Kirin 980 chipset installed, pure performance is virtually identical. The Pro and non-Pro also share the same memory and storage configuration of 6GB and 128GB, respectively, although the plain Mate 20 has a more affordable 4GB memory variant available, too.

Another minor difference: The 4200mAh capacity of the Mate 20 Pro, along with the more energy-efficient OLED, provides it with potentially longer battery life than what the Mate 20’s 4000mAh capacity and LCD panel offer.

A more significant advantage for the Mate 20 Pro is its inclusion of a 40W SuperCharge adapter in the package — noticeably better than the 22.5W output of the Mate 20’s. Plus, the Pro version can charge other phones wirelessly using wireless reverse charging tech.

Cameras

Perhaps, you’ll care most about the difference in camera quality and performance. While it’s too early to make photo and video comparisons, an initial look at specs shows that the Mate 20 Pro may have an edge.

There are three modules in place for the Pro: One is a 40-megapixel main camera, another has 20 megapixels and an ultra-wide lens, and the final unit offers 8 megapixels with 3x optical zoom

As for the Mate 20, its main camera has only 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide shooter settles for 16 megapixels, and the 8-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to only 2x optical zoom.

Despite the larger notch of the Mate 20 Pro, they share the same 24-megapixel selfie camera.

Pricing and colors

This part largely depends on where you reside, but in an ideal setting, all five colors — Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, Twilight, Pink Gold, and Black — should be available for both models.

Pricing is another matter, and it again depends per region. In Europe, the Mate 20’s 4GB+128GB configuration retails for EUR 799 and its 6GB+128GB model goes for EUR 849. The Mate 20 Pro’s sole 6GB+128GB variant costs EUR 1,049, making it more expensive by EUR 250 and EUR 200, respectively.

In Singapore, the Mate 20’s 6GB+128GB setup retails for SG$ 998, while the Mate 20 Pro is at SG$ 1,348 — a difference of SG$ 350.

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Features

Huawei Mate 20 series first to have Nano Memory Card

Could this become a trend?

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Aside from introducing a host of flagship features to the freshly minted Mate 20 series, Huawei also introduced a new memory card standard, simply named Nano Memory Card.

It’s available on both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, and it effectively replaces the microSD slot we’ve become so accustomed to. The question is: What’s so special about it?

The simplest answer is that it has the same size as the nano-SIM card inside any smartphone today. Because of the identical dimensions, the secondary card slot doesn’t have to be designed differently, like what has been done for microSD cards.

In the case of the Mate 20 series, the removable card tray has back-to-back slots: one for the nano-SIM, and the other for either another nano-SIM or separate Nano Memory Card.

As of writing, Huawei will be offering 128GB and 256GB NM Cards, with speeds of up to 90MB/s. They’re hoping it’ll become the new standard, and are producing adapters for additional compatibility.

It’s certainly a more efficient way of adding physical storage to a handset, and allows manufactures like Huawei to use the saved space for other features, like a large battery.

Looking ahead, it seems only logical for other smartphone brands to follow suit, but that would mean consumers would have to buy into a whole new standard and let go of their microSD cards.

The same thing happened with the introduction of the USB-C port, wherein users had to replace their micro-USB cables for the newer, more intuitive system. It’s been a gradual process, but definitely rewarding.

It’ll take a while before we find out if this will become a trend, but for now, we should appreciate Huawei’s courage in taking the first, big step.

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