Saturday, 11 July 2015

Averting a security disaster – hard drive recovery

Issues of ethics and professional standards aside, your business has a vested interest in keeping data safe to avoid the costs associated with losing data. In the UK for instance, firms can be fined up to £500,000 for losing customers’ personal data and be ‘named and shamed’, creating massive reputational problems that further dent the company bank balance.

Your business should already have a backup plan in place that protects data against loss, and provides a way to recover information quickly in the event of a disaster. But what happens if your main system fails and the backup is found to be corrupt?

Laptop drive recovery – usually relatively easy

For a company laptop, data recovery should not be too big an issue. For starters most data should already be stored on the company servers, meaning that minimal file recovery is required (assuming your laptop user is adhering to corporate policy!). In most cases you should be able to get data back from a failed hard disk using a standard drive recovery tool like Kroll Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional.

Modern RAID arrays – a completely different beast

RAID arrays, common in just about every modern server or storage device, are famously difficult to recover in the event of a catastrophic disk failure. The way that data is written across multiple disks in an array is ingenious, improving I/O speeds and reducing the risk of loss – but it’s also the biggest problem where the number of failed drives exceed the array’s tolerance. Or when the array is accidentally re-initialized by a well-meaning but inexperienced engineer.

Received wisdom has it that where failures breach those tolerances, data is irretrievably lost – and for non-experts, that is certainly true. However in the (highly likely) event that you don’t have a low level drive specialist on the team, the best practice is to call hard drive recovery specialists to avoid any data loss.

Let’s get physical

Drive recovery is a serious business, requiring clean rooms, block sector disk copying technology, patience and a whole lot of skill. You only get one shot at RAID array recovery, and a mistake really could render data unrecoverable.

Among the steps required to get data back is the physical dismantling of drives to access platters, copy sectors from the original platters to new drives followed by the process of painstakingly piecing data back together until you have a working set of duplicate disks that can be re-inserted into the server/storage array for rebuilding.

Time vs panic

Obviously data loss and hard drive failure are a recurrent nightmare for the CTO, and on the day an array does fail, panic is a perfectly natural response. However RAID recovery services provide a ‘get out of jail free’ card – even if the process takes a day or two. Far better to face the wrath of users upset about temporary problems accessing data, than the board for losing data permanently.

So aside from ensuring you are taking regular, accurate backups and checking that they can be restored, you may want to seek out a RAID recovery specialist before you actually need to call upon their services.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

10 Worst Internet Security Mistakes

I would like to thank for allowing this guest post. I have found many or their tutorials and articles to be extremely useful and have made me consider new ways to take advantage of the technology in front of me. I would in particular like to direct readers to this other article on internet security after you finish reading this one.

The internet is getting increasingly popular for people to use (and use it to solve more of their problems), and thus it is getting increasingly popular for crime to happen over the internet as well. Hackers are not going to go away, and with identity theft being one of the most common crimes in the United States, your internet security is something you should be taking extremely seriously.

Luckily, there are a lot of things that people are doing wrong that are easily fixed in an hour or less. Here are ten of the worst mistakes that people should try to fix as soon as they possibly can.

1) “password”

When you are choosing your passwords, what do you normally do? Do you optimize your passwords to the best security you can manage, or do you just type in “password” all of the time and let it be?
You should never pick a simple password, anyone wanting to get at your data will probably try out this list of commonly used passwords before resorting to anything more time-consuming. Even if you use the same password everywhere (which you shouldn’t), you need a strong password to protect your data. Change it now if you need to.

2) Using Public Networks without Protection.

While public networks such as those found in caf├ęs, libraries, and airports might be incredibly convenient for you and help you stay in contact with people better while saving you money on your data plan, they can be incredibly dangerous to your online security and anyone with the right equipment (which isn’t expensive or hard to use) can take a look at what you are uploading or downloading (this includes financial data) if you are not prepared.

To be prepared, you will likely want to use a VPN, which will create a barrier of sorts around your connection and safely connect you to an outside server which will do your browsing for you and send you the data you need over that secure connection. This way no one will able to steal your data or know what you are doing.

3) Using Questionable Websites

This one doesn’t need much explanation. If a website is offering something that looks too good to be true, it is likely too good to be true. Also, make sure the website is as secure as possible, and don’t give your information to anything you aren’t 100% comfortable with.

4) Downloading Unknown Files

Whenever you download any file whatsoever, you should make sure exactly what you are getting. If you allow a file to be downloaded and activate on your computer then you are giving permission for that program to wreak havoc inside of your computer before you can possibly fix it. If you aren’t sure what it is, I can promise you that you don’t need it (or at least from that website).

5) Not Using an Internet Security Suite

This should go without saying, but you need internet security programs on your computer for it to function as a machine that connects to the internet for more than two months. A lot of people still don’t use them, and it usually leads to their ruin.

6) Not Checking and Clearing Cookies

Cookies and small programs or bits of information that are usually saved in your browser when you check a website or do something on it you want saved. Most of the time cookies are a good and useful thing that will save you time re-navigating pages you use often.
That all being said, sometimes cookies can be malicious and they might track your computer or take in data that you don’t want going anywhere. Every once in a while you should go into your browser’s options or settings (depends on the browser) and delete any cookies you don’t feel comfortable having on your computer.

7) Giving Out Too Much Personal Information

Maybe you need a strong public internet presence for one reason or another, but a lot of people don’t need to have everything out there for people to find when they are just using the internet for E-mail and Facebook. Try to figure out your own footprint on the internet and what people can find out about you if they look. Try to get rid of whatever you don’t want.

8) Neglecting to Update Your Computer

As incredibly annoying as those Windows security updates can be, forcing your computer to restart, they are usually there for a reason. If you are not updating often enough, you are vulnerable to whatever breach or loophole in the security that was patched up in the update (and that everyone knows about now that there was an update about it). Try to update any security related programs you have on your computer as soon as an update is available.

9) Failing to Keep Up to Date on Current Events

While this doesn’t mean that you need to have your head in the virtual tech newspapers every morning, you should try to stay abreast about whether any major websites are currently under attack or if there are any reports about a security leak which you might need to respond to. A quick glance over the major news sites and checking your email frequently should be enough to keep you informed.

10) Not Having a Backup Plan

Despite most people’s best efforts, sometimes there will be nothing you can do to prevent a security problem that will require your active attention. For this you should have a plan of what you are going to do and how you are going to quarantine the problem and keep your important information safe.

This means that you should try to have some backup drives in use and perhaps use a safe cloud storage program so you can restore everything you need to. Time will be of the essence, and you will not want to waste your time backing up your possible compromised files.

I hope that these security tips help you to create a strong defense against hackers and malware that intend to make your day a nightmare. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Just How Safe Are Cloud Solutions from Hackers?

I would like to thank for allowing this humble guest post, and would also like to thank them for all of the other interesting and informative articles that they provide. In particular I would like readers to check out their articles on security and app development.

Cloud computing and cloud storage are some of the most recent big developments in the technology sector, with millions of users tapping into the service and making the most of offsite solutions for either themselves or their company. That being said, you are trusting your data and/or computing to be done off-site where it is relatively out of your control. This leads to the question of “Just how secure are cloud solutions from those who want to get at my data?” To answer that, we’d need to look at it from both the server end and the user end, and ask a few other questions.

User-End Security

A lot of how much you can depend on the security of cloud storage depends on you. If a hacker gets into your user data and uses it to log into some of your accounts, even the safest measures by a company looking to keep you safe won’t be of any help.
Your biggest risk is if a hacker manages through one method or another get ahold of your password and username and then uses that to directly log into your account and create all sorts of problems for you, possible even trying to steal your account outright. If this should happen your financial data is also likely at risk due to the method you likely paid for the cloud service, so you need to change your password to a strong one and change it often.
Also you should keep an eye out on who you share your files with, otherwise a hacker might take advantage of someone else and use that connection to get at you in some manner over the cloud. Try not to give permission where it is not needed and you should be relatively safe, but not completely immune to hackers.

Server-End Security

Most information technology companies take the security of their customers very seriously, knowing that if there were ever even a minor data breach that were to get publicized enough, they would lose costumers or users by at least the hundreds of thousands. In addition, many of the companies that offer cloud computing are the safe ones that have their own security departments and will have the best minds in the field constantly figuring out ways to think ahead of hackers.
However, hackers will often work together to crack a server with a large enough reward, and as we have learned from the recent celebrity leaks, cloud storage is not invulnerable. Also, a single employee can easily create a major breach whether it is through malice or negligence. That is not a risk to take lightly, and hackers will take advantage of every last thing they can find (or make new breaches when there are none readily apparent).
That all being said, hackers are not the only thing you should think about, and you need to focus for at least a little while on how much you trust the company you are having store your data. Do you think they are going to use it themselves for research purposes? How do you think they would react if they found out if they got hacked? Would they warn their customers?

Public Networks

You should also note that, if you use a cloud solution, that means you are going to need a constant internet connection. If you are using a laptop or smartphone on the go this likely means that you will be using a public network. Public networks are dangerous, especially with the amount of data that cloud solutions send and receive all of the time. 
On unprotected public networks hackers in the vicinity with extremely simple setups can read all of the data is sent over the network, and this can include passwords, usernames, financial information, and many of the things that are sent over cloud computing and storage. This makes using cloud computing unprotected very risky in public places.
If you really want to use it, though, and there are certainly benefits (laptops often don’t have much storage space compared to other computers), then you will like want to use a solid Virtual Private Network. With it your computer will establish a safe connection with a secure outside server that no one else will be able to access. Over this connection you will be able to send your cloud computing data and you will be able to safely do whatever you need to while out in public.

What Will You Use It For?

A lot of how much you should rely on the security of cloud solutions depends on what you use them for. Most hackers are not really interested in your music collection or your family photos from that trip to Venice last year. They will however be interested in documents relating to your place of business, any financial or personal data that you might have, or anything incriminating that they can use against someone in a desperate situation. If you have extremely sensitive data, you’re better off using a flash drive and a safe.
Therefore try to write down a list of different processes you’d use cloud computing for and what types of data you’d store on external servers. If there is nothing worrying, then you’re probably safe. If not, then take a closer look at other options because hackers might use it should the worst happen.


So, to answer the title question in short:  Not particularly, although you can take some decent precautions so it is fine for basic use. Thank you for reading and I hope that this article helps you make a more informed decision about which services you buy for your computer.

About the Author:

Caroline enjoys writing about internet security. She recommends as a great resource for learning about protecting your data and staying safe online.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Leveraging WordPress For Impressive Podcasting

In the recent years, podcasting has been successful in gaining a good amount of traction among the technically-inclined individuals. Latest addition to the concept is taking full advantage of WordPress blog to start podcasting in the right way. If you too are thinking about podcasting using your WordPress powered website. This is a must-read guide which will allow you to dig deeper into podcasting using WordPress.
Getting started with preparing your WordPress website for podcasting
Since not everyone owns an iPhone, iPad or an iPod, it is recommended to host your podcasts in a platform that is readily available to every media fan. WordPress is one such platform that has enabled effective sharing of content in the form of audio and video.
Now, in order to prepare your WordPress website for podcasting, just follow the below steps:
Step 1- Create a category by logging into your account. For this, simply hover on “Posts”. A sub-menu will appear on the screen. Within this sub-menu, simply click on “Categories” and proceed ahead with adding a new category called “Podcasts”. Here, you may opt for leaving the “Parent” field to none and once you're done, simply click on “Add New Category”.
So, all the podcasts would now be posted under this new category and the links for all such podcasts would be
Step 2- Now, upload the audio files
You can choose to upload your audio files in a variety of methods like:
  • Using a plugin
  • Using the Audio Shortcode
In this tutorial, I'll be using the latter method.
As per the Audio Shortcode method, you can simply add a link from your WP site to a file located at a different site. You can proceed ahead with uploading audio files to your WP blog's Media Library and opt for editing, adding or removing different details of the audio file viz: Title, Artist, Caption and Brief Description. Since you'll be inserting the audio file in a particular post, it is mandatory to select the option “Embed Media Player”, followed by clicking on “Insert into Post” button. Doing this will add the Audio Shortcode to the chosen WordPress post.
Step 3- Embed the podcast on your sidebar
As per this step, simply go to WordPress admin dashboard-> Appearance tab-> Widgets and drag the “Music Player Widget” to the sidebar you want to place it on. Finally, click on the link for uploading or choosing the media associated with the podcast.
Step 4- Publish your podcasts
Now that you're done with uploading the podcasts on your WordPress blog, it's time to publish them by submitting your WordPress site to Feedburnet. For this, you'll need to go to and are also required to have a Gmail account. Just follow the instructions and you'll be able to submit your site to Feedburner.
Step 5- Submit your podcast to iTunes
Since you're already done with publishing your podcast, it's time to use the iTunes platform for letting the masses know about it. Here are the steps associated with submission of a podcast to iTunes for free:
  • Go to Apple's instructions section related to testing the feed. Once you've confirmed listening the podcast using iTunes, submit it
  • After submission, the podcast would be reviewed by iTunes staff.
  • Once your podcast has been accepted, you'll receive a link that would enable you to distribute the podcast via email or direct website linking.
That's it!
Wrapping Up

Podcasting has emerged as a cool option for sharing every type of content. Here's hoping the above post would have allowed you to roll on those efficiently created podcasts using your WordPress website.

About the Author:
Sophia Phillips is a renowned WordPress developer by profession. If you're about to hire WordPress developer, then you can get in touch with her. Sophia already has multiple WordPress-related articles under her name.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A Beginner's Guide To Develop Android Apps Using Android AIDE

Android is truly an alluring platform and there are reasons for that. The platform opens up the possibility of new things for developers by providing them diligent ways to develop and use applications. More and more developers are attracted to the Android and thus creating apps that are truly enthralling and engaging.

The availability of a number of free tools and start-up kits has also strengthened the process of custom application development. Now, would be app makers have another robust tool called AIDE (Android Integrated Design Environment) to develop feature-rich mobile apps using their Android phone or tablet. The tool is an ideal pick for those developers who are more inclined towards JavaScript.

Before its inception, it was quite difficult for developers to set up an environment for Android. In fact, more challenging was the process of offline Android installation. For large scale applications, developers still have the option to use Eclipse SDK, on a PC. But, for small, AIDE is the only handy choice. Using IDE, Android developers can have a reliable development package accompanied by an access to code completion, formatting, editing, refactoring, and real-time code checking. AIDE runs directly on Smartphones and other mobile devices. It is also compatible with Eclipse IDE.

In this tutorial, I am going to discuss about the creating an exemplary Android app development using AIDE. The guide is easy to follow and will surely help you in your first Android app project.

Preparing the Ground

Install AIDE from Google Play on your Android device
AIDE comes integrated with a mobile version of the Android SDK, so you don't need to install anything else

Getting Started with the App Project

Opening the AIDE on your device, you'll be first provided with a screen prompting you to provide the package name and location of your app. Make sure that whatever the name you may choose, it should be unique across all the installed packages.

Once you are done filling the details, click on the “Create” button. Selecting the button will take you to a screen which displays all the related files accompanied by the source code you need to use for your project. AIDE will create all these files in your SD card. In addition, it will also provide you with two most important files for editing purposes. The files are: main.xml and

By default a Git Repository will also be created by AIDE for your new project. You can turn off this feature in the settings. Please read the given tutorial to know more about it.

Run the App

The next step is to compile your app using the Run command from the menu just like this:

To make your app run, AIDE automatically creates an Android Application Package File (APK) for your app. Android APK is basically a file format used to install apps and softwares for Android. It features all your program's code, assets, certificates, resources, and more. An installation dialogue box is provided to the user to know about the process.

The following screen will be displayed to the user, if the compilation was successful.

Once the installation is complete, you can see your app listed among all the apps. Just like this:

Just click on the app, and you'll see the result like this:

Let's Play Around the Code

As of know we have successfully compiled and installed our app, the next step is create an interface for our application. The Android SDK provides an XML file format that helps you define the UI for your app.

For this use the below mentioned code in your res/layout/main.xml file. The code will help you determine the interface of your app.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android=""
android:orientation="vertical" >

android:text="Enter your name: " />

android:id="@+id/txtName" />

android:id="@+id/btnOk" />
android:text="OK" />

Using the code above, you'll be provided with a linear layout with a vertical orientation. The layout features 'TextView' to display the static information. The 'EditText' allows you to accept the input from the user, whereas OK and Cancel buttons are used to process or clear the EditView comments.

When you create “Hello World” app, AIDE automatically opens the main.xml file which allows you to determine the main activity of your app. Use the following code should be used with your src/com/ to define your application Activity.

package com.azim;

import android.os.*;
import android.view.*;
import android.widget.*;

public class MainActivity extends Activity implements View.OnClickListener
EditText txtName;
Button btnOk,btnCancel;
/** Called when the activity is first created. */
public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState)
/* Referencing controls */
/* Registering the onClick event of the buttons */
public void onClick(View view)
/* Display Welcome message */
Builder builder=new Builder(this);
builder.setTitle("Welcome to Android");
builder.setMessage("Hello "+txtName.getText()+"!!!");
/* Clear the EditText */

That's all! You can now go on to create buttons and responses for your app to make it function well.

To Wrap Up

AIDE is a perfect pick for those who want to create a robust Android application on their device quickly and easily. Those who are getting into Android app development should consider it as a platform for their future endeavors.

Author Bio: 
Juana Steves is a mobile application developer for Xicom Ltd, which is the leading android application development company. She loves sharing latest information on mobile technology and provides concrete information on technologies like iOS, Android mobile apps development.