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Logging On to Public Wi-Fi Networks Is About to Get More Secure

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If you link up to a public Wi-Fi network like the one offered by your local coffee shop, you should know that your connection probably isn't very secure. Free Wi-Fi connections aren't encrypted, so other users on the network can potentially spy on what you're doing and steal your usernames and passwords.

But according to CNET, the Wi-Fi Alliance—a group made up of member companies like Apple and Intel that creates Wi-Fi standards and certifies products—has announced a major change to Wi-Fi security that's coming in 2018. A new security protocol called WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3) makes networks more secure against hackers, whether it's your computer, smartphone, or Wi-Fi-enabled fridge that's connected (just in case you take your smart fridge to Starbucks).

You're probably already familiar with WPA2, the security system many Wi-Fi networks already run on. This is just an improvement on that system—a much-needed update after a computer scientist discovered a major vulnerability in October 2017—with better data encryption and higher security requirements. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, it can protect users even if they use terrible passwords. (Which you shouldn’t.)

Right now, there are a few steps you can take to make your online experience more secure while you’re in public, but not everyone takes the time to put them in place. These new Wi-Fi protections don't require the extra step of going into your settings and making sure you've turned off file settings or subscribing to a VPN service.

The change is set to debut sometime in early 2018, according to a representative from the Wi-Fi Alliance. Until then, remember: A VPN really is your best friend. It may not completely protect you from hackers looking to steal your information, but it's a lot safer than surfing on your own.

[h/t CNET]

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7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
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Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

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The Only Way to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ In a Job Interview
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Thanks in part to the influence of Silicon Valley and its focus on the psychological probing of job applicants, interview questions have been steadily getting more and more abstract. As part of the interview process, today's job seekers might be asked to describe a vending machine to someone who’s never seen one before, or plan a fantasy date with a famous historical figure.

Even if the company you’re approaching isn’t fully on board with prodding your brain, at some point you may still come up against one of the most common queries applicants face: "What is your greatest weakness?"

"Some 'experts' will tell you to try and turn a strength into a 'weakness,' to make yourself look good," writes Inc. contributor Justin Bariso. "That advice is garbage."

"Think about it," Bariso continues. "Interviewers are asking the same question to countless candidates. Just try and guess how many times they hear the answers 'being a perfectionist' or 'working too much.' (Hint: way too often.)"

While responding that you work too hard might seem like a reliable method of moving the conversation along, there’s a better way. And it involves being sincere.

"The fact is, it's not easy to identify one's own weaknesses," Bariso writes. "Doing so takes intense self-reflection, critical thinking, and the ability to accept negative feedback—qualities that have gone severely missing in a world that promotes instant gratification and demands quick (often thoughtless) replies to serious issues."

Bariso believes the question is an effective way to reveal an applicant’s self-awareness, which is why companies often use it in their vetting process. By being self-aware, people (and employees) can correct behavior that might be affecting job performance. So the key is to give this question some actual thought before it’s ever posed to you.

What is your actual greatest weakness? It could be that, in a desire to please everyone, you wind up making decisions based on the urge to avoid disappointing others. That’s a weakness that sounds authentic.

Pondering the question also has another benefit: It prompts you to think of areas in your life that could use some course-correcting. Even if you don’t land that job—or even if the question is never posed to you—you’ve still made time for self-reflection. The result could mean a more confident and capable presence for that next interview.

[h/t Inc.]

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