11 Ways Technology Will Keep You Safe

istock
istock

Advancements of modern technology are actually making us safer—not only can new forms of password protection help to safeguard our digital files and documents, advances in voice recognition and gesture control also create a heightened degree of security for our devices and homes.

1. DATA ENCRYPTION KEEPS YOUR INFORMATION FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

As remote computer hacking becomes a greater concern, the marriage of data to a local hard drive—or better yet, to a small set of drives—can be the best course of action for any individual or company hoping to keep information safe. Hardware- and software-based data encryption systems encode your information so that only authorized parties are able to retrieve and read it.

2. TRACK DOWN AND LOCK YOUR COMPUTER IF LOST

You can safeguard all the prized data you have stored on a particular computer even if the device has been misplaced. New free apps (like Prey) and paid software (like LoJack) allow you to locate your missing device and lock your hard drive by phone or Internet on a trusted second device.

3. FINGERPRINTS REPLACE PASSWORDS

Traditionally, access to a secure personal computer is granted via a typed password. Now, many devices come equipped with an option to unlock with a fingerprint scan. Hackers might be able to guess your password, but it’ll be pretty tough for them to reproduce your fingerprint!

4. AS DOES FACIAL RECOGNITION

For another (and arguably even more impressive) option, the Intel Security True Key™ app can actually memorize the mathematical structure of your face and grant access to your files following facial scans. Minute details like the distance between your eyes register with your computer’s memory, enabling it to discern between your visage and somebody else’s.

5. USE YOUR MOBILE DEVICE AS AN ADDITIONAL MEASURE

To double down on the security of your personal files, make sure that you can only access one of your devices with another of your devices. The True Key app also allows you to program your cell phone to act as a “key” needed to unlock your laptop or tablet.

6. APPLY THESE PASSWORD SUBSTITUTES TO YOUR FRONT DOOR

The beauty of such security upgrades is that they are not exclusive to your laptops and cell phones: True Key will one day enable you to gain entry to your home.

7. LOCK YOUR DOORS AND ARM YOUR SECURITY SYSTEM REMOTELY

Say you left the house in a rush, forgetting to lock your doors or arm your home security system. Both tasks can now be done via mobile phone. This also comes in handy for house sitters, dog walkers, or any other trusted parties who might be stopping by while you’re not home. Keep the doors locked all day until the friend in question is scheduled to arrive, and then allow access as simply as flipping a digital switch.

8. RECEIVE ALERTS OF UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY

In the event that an intruder does manage to breach your front door, ADT home automation technology can send immediate alerts to your mobile device—whether you are in the house or miles away at the time of break-in—allowing you to take the necessary precautions to ensure your and your household’s safety.

9. IT CAN WORK FOR YOUR CAR, TOO

The same remote locking and unlocking capabilities applied to your computer or household could soon be available to your car. True Key is even working toward applying fingerprint and facial recognition technology to car security.

10. WIRELESS CHARGING

Connecting your phone to a strange charger, wire, or outlet can prove dangerous, as there is no shortage of means that hackers and thieves use to interlope computers and apprehend data. The integration of wireless charging technology, possible through the electricity-sharing capabilities of metal coils, into storefronts and business sites all across the world not only reduces the risk of connecting to a dangerous power source, but also leaves you far less likely to wind up without an active phone or computer in a time of need.

11. BANK MORE SAFELY

If you conduct your banking online, it might be worthwhile to sync up your personal computer to your digital bank account. On top of mandating your username and password upon login, the program necessitates that you access it through a specific device (or devices) previously decreed by you as safe. If you bolster these computers with fingerprint or facial recognition security, yours will be a tough vault to crack even if your account information does happen to fall into the wrong hands.

Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Is Officially the Most Streamed Song of the 20th Century

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a massive hit when it was released in 1975. After spending nine weeks at the top of the UK charts (it only broke the top 10 on the U.S. charts), it went on to become the third bestselling UK single of all time. Even as the way people listen to music has changed, the mock opera's popularity hasn't wavered. Now, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is officially the most streamed song recorded in the 20th century, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Queen's song has been streamed by listeners a staggering 1.5 billion times, putting it ahead of classic rock tracks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses. But when looking at overall streaming numbers, contemporary tracks still dominate. Combined, the original version of "Despacito" and the remix garnered 4.6 billion plays in just six months last year.

This latest milestone for "Bohemian Rhapsody" is even more satisfying when you know the song's backstory. The long play time and unconventional, operatic style made some music industry insiders—including the band's manager and Elton John—skeptical of its marketability. When the song debuted on the radio, listeners calling in to demand more quickly proved them wrong.

The track likely got a boost in popularity recently with help from the Freddie Mercury biopic that shares its name. Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek, hit theaters in early November and is now officially the second-highest grossing musical biopic of all time, just behind 2015's Straight Outta Compton. But it's not the first time a hit movie has led to renewed interest in the song: the tune saw a similar spike in sales—and it reentered the charts and hit No. 2—when it played an integral part in the hit 1992 comedy Wayne's World.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

The Pigzbe Wallet Teaches Kids How to Budget and Save Money

Pigzbe
Pigzbe

Fiscal responsibility isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, especially when you’re in elementary school. But, as Fast Company reports, Primo Toys is hoping to make the concept more child-friendly. The company’s new Pigzbe wallet works like a digital piggy bank to teach kids age 6 and older how to earn, budget, and save money by managing the cryptocurrency they receive from their parents.

Pigzbe connects to a smartphone app, which parents can use to set chores and tasks for their kids to complete, such as making their bed or washing the dishes. They can set a schedule for these chores (every Tuesday, for example) as well as monetary rewards in the form of Wollo, a “family-friendly” cryptocurrency developed by Primo Toys.

Tasks will be sent directly to the Pigzbe device, and once they have been completed, kids will receive their hard-earned Wollo tokens. The Pigzbe app helps kids visualize their earnings and how much they’ll need to save to get the items they want. "It’s a design that feels childlike, sure, but in a fun, self-aware way, almost like a Tamagotchi," Fast Company notes.

Although Wollo isn’t technically “real money,” the tokens can be used to purchase toys and other items from Pigzbe’s app. Parents can also order a specialized Visa card that will let them buy items using Wollo. Other family members can also send gifts and allowances to any Pigzbe user, no matter their geographic location.

The goal is to teach kids about financial responsibility at an early age, when they’re just beginning to form habits that will stick with them well into adulthood. “We believe that financially curious children become financially literate adults, and we designed Pigzbe to achieve just that,” Primo Toys, the maker of the Pigzbe wallet, writes in its Kickstarter campaign. The product has already exceeded its $50,000 fundraising goal, with more than 550 backers on board.

Backers who pledge $79 or more before the campaign ends on January 25, 2019 will receive the Pigzbe wallet at a 40 percent discount.

[h/t Fast Company]

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