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Experts offer 5 tips so the cyber Grinch won’t steal your fun

Experts offer 5 tips so the cyber Grinch won’t steal your fun.

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If you’re among the revenge travelers this holiday season, by now you must have already booked your flights, prepped your travel wardrobe and gadgets and made all other arrangements as you head to your most-awaited destination. At the same time, you must be feeling a little antsy and worried about leaving the comfort and security of your home to see a new place. After all, this time of the year is when cybercriminals get their Grinch on. 

“Right now, people are already aware of different types of online scams and data breaches. So, it’s understandable that some travelers would feel a certain level of anxiety when traveling. Outside the convenience and security of our homes, especially when we travel out of town or overseas, threats increase significantly. The environment changes drastically and presents unknown circumstances so this situation calls for a heightened sense of cyber security awareness and proactive practice of cyber hygiene on the part of the traveler,” says Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

A recent study has shown that 66% of Filipinos are eager to travel with their families, suggesting that they intend to create special memories through travel. The local airport authority expects the holiday to draw at least 125,000 travelers per day starting mid-December 2023 until early January 2024.

“With loved ones in tow, Filipino travelers would definitely wish for nothing but happy and successful trips. Planning travels for months far in advance explains that. During travel though, it’s inevitable to potentially run into issues like having a patchy phone or internet connection to immediately access services or help if needed. And this may prompt one to just connect to what’s readily available but not exactly secure. That’s why we keep on repeatedly reminding people about adopting cyber hygiene—even the basics and most common steps because they may not appear obvious and take a lot of practice until they develop into a habit. With the list below, I hope the Filipino travelers’ anxiety would be eased and they can fully enjoy their trips this holiday season,” adds Yeo.

  1. Never leave your belongings unattended. Leaving your backpack unattended in the airport for a minute or two can result in it being physically destroyed by security guards. It’s not just about airports, though. Keep the things that matter to you (such as your phone, your laptop, and so on) with you, at all times, wherever you go. Yes, take all of your gear when leaving your hotel room. No, don’t leave your laptop on the table in the café if you need to go to the restroom. It should go without saying that all your devices need to be password-protected and locked when not in use.
  1. Make sure your devices are encrypted. Carrying all of your stuff with you all of the time doesn’t mean your devices won’t be stolen. Yes, using high-quality antitheft backpacks helps, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. We all know that the information on the device is usually worth significantly more than the device itself, so it’s the information you need to protect the most. That’s why you need to make sure that the entire storage unit in your device is encrypted.

    Encryption is jumbling up data so it cannot be easily understood by those who are not authorized to do so. It’s used to keep prying eyes away from data that is in transit between sender and receiver (data sent over the web like during an online banking transaction).

    Devices with the latest versions of Android are encrypted by default, and so are iOS devices protected with a passcode or password.

    Encrypting your data when using risky public WIFI (if it cannot be avoided) for online privacy (such as when storing files to a hard drive) and encrypting your browser when making payments (for safe shopping while on a trip, for example) are possible if your device is installed with a security protection like Kaspersky Premium. Promotions are currently running on Lazada and Shopee offering huge savings of up to 20% on selected Kaspersky consumer products from today until December 31, 2023. Included products are Kaspersky Standard, Kaspersky Plus and Kaspersky Premium.
  1. Learn how to find bugs and hidden cameras and fool them. We’ve heard creepy stories about hidden cameras in Airbnbs. It’s still happening, and you never know who’ll be the next victim. And if you happen to be a businessperson, a politician, a human rights activist, or a journalist, someone may try to set up hidden microphones, or bugs, in your hotel room or rental apartment to eavesdrop on you.

    Fortunately, finding hidden surveillance devices is not that hard. You’ll need a small tool, costs less than $50 (P2500) in online stores, that has a radio frequency scanner allowing you to find sources emitting electromagnetic waves, which wireless bugs and cameras usually do. The tool also has a combination of light-emitting diodes and a red glass to look for hidden cameras. A camera lens reflects light significantly better than other surfaces do so if you use this tool, you’ll see a bright red dot when you point light from diodes at the camera and when you look toward it through the red glass.

    Also, if cameras that use infrared illumination are in the vicinity, you can spot them using your phone; cameras in mobile phones can detect infrared emission (but keep in mind that some phones, for example, iPhones, have too strong an infrared filter in their cameras for this trick).

    These techniques won’t find hidden wired microphones, but at least you can easily fool them using the sound of water running from the tap or just some noise that can be produced using services such as Noisli. Background noise nearly ruins all recordings, making it safe (most likely) to communicate in your room.
  1. Know how to spot a dual-view mirror. Remember those two-way mirrors from interrogation rooms in the movies? A person inside the room sees it as a mirror, but someone on the other side sees it as a window looking into the room. They’re rare, though. But they do exist, and if you unexpectedly find yourself deep in the plot of a spy movie in real life, now you’ll know how to protect yourself from such mirror tricks.

    Usually, it’s rather easy: Place a finger on the surface of the mirror, and if there is a gap between the finger and its reflection, it’s a normal mirror, with a layer of glass above the reflective surface. If there is no gap, the mirror may be a two-way one — and there might be someone on the other side looking at you or recording you. Or it might be a normal mirror that has no glass above the reflective surface — such mirrors do exist (for example, in your car).

    But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so you might not want to get undressed in front of such a mirror. The fix isn’t technical at all — you can just cover the mirror with some cloth, or at least avoid working with sensitive information in front of it.
  1. Use wired mouse and keyboard. You already know it’s a mistake to use the publicly accessible PC in the hotel lobby, or one belonging to your host. You probably brought your own laptop with you, anyway. But if you use an external keyboard or mouse, you should also bring a trusted wired version with you. Known attacks allow another person either to sniff what you type or click using wireless peripherals or to inject clicks — even if the communication between your peripherals and the computer is encrypted. Other examples of peripheral devices we usually use when traveling include microphones and external hard drives.

    You probably don’t travel with a wireless keyboard but remember to leave your wireless mouse at home as well. The touchpad in your laptop will do, and if you’re not comfortable with it, use a good old wired mouse.

Strategies

5 Tips for small business owners to help grow their business online

Choosing and registering a domain name for your business that’s memorable is increasingly important in an expanding digital marketplace, as it helps to shape your online business identity.

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Small businesses are embracing digitalization and catering to their customer needs through a variety of online channels. With new technologies emerging such as artificial intelligence, there is no time like the present to help your small business grow by taking advantage of the online world.

A GoDaddy 2023 global survey examined the status of small businesses including their ways to reach customers and survive in highly competitive markets. APAC countries surveyed, including Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, showed use of a business website, online store, ecommerce or a combination of them ranking at 57% of survey respondents. These results support having a strong online presence with multiple complementary channels can be vital for businesses to thrive and grow in today’s competitive digital environments.

With this in mind, GoDaddy shares five tips to help your small business grow with an online presence.

1. It starts with a domain name

When getting started, check availability of domain names for the desired name. A domain name can be considered a business’ piece of real estate and identity on the internet. It is a way for customers to easily find a business online.

Choosing and registering a domain name for your business that’s memorable is increasingly important in an expanding digital marketplace, as it helps to shape your online business identity. If the .com extension is not available, there are many new extensions available, such as: .shop; .co.; .photography; .tech, to name a few, for you to consider which can help define your business.  After choosing a domain name register it with a reliable hosting provider right away.

2. Build a website 

Websites help create visibility for small businesses and acts as a home base for your business on the internet, even if you have a brick-and-mortar store.  A website can help consumers easily find your business, learn about your product offerings and services, and contact you for more information.

A well-designed professional looking website can offer an engaging customer experience with the use of text along with photo images and video.  Having a website gives you control over the messaging about your business and can serve as a hub by linking with your social media channels.

3. Listen to your customers

The growth of your business is directly related to customer satisfaction. Listen to your customers and pay attention to the needs of your target market. Identify their problems and pain points. How can your offerings act as a solution? Is it possible to develop new products to help solve these problems?  Engage for customer feedback and keep an eye on customer behaviour changes and audience interests.

4. Develop a business support system

By developing a strong business support system, entrepreneurs can benefit from new ideas on ways to address a particular issue or ideas for growth. In addition to close family and friends, consider mentors and business coaches who can provide relevant insights into your business.

5. Review your business plan

Many entrepreneurs make a business plan at the beginning of their business journey, but do not take the time to revisit it from time-to-time. So, analysing aspects of that business plan like target audience and competitors, examining cash flows and what can make the business profitable, while also checking timelines to reach business goals is all equally essential to help ensure continued growth of your business.

For more information on how GoDaddy can help your small business: Domain Names, Websites, Hosting & Online Marketing Tools – GoDaddy PH.

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BizNews

Sticking with old technology can be a strategic move

As competitors adopt new technology in some markets, firms that stick with the old technology may experience an initial decline before actually rebounding and even reaching new heights.

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Technological innovation — especially disruptive innovation — is often heralded as the best strategy for a company. But new research published in Strategic Management Journal found that as competitors adopt new technology in some markets, firms that stick with the old technology may experience an initial decline before actually rebounding and even reaching new heights. While the rise of a discontinuous technology does pose a substitute threat to the old technology, it also further exposes niche segments where companies can gain a foothold with customers who favor the old technology.

The analysis by Xu Li, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, used archival data from the traditional Chinese medicine industry in China during the 1990s. In his interviews with managers in the field, he found that some chose not to innovate along with their competitors. In many cases, Li found these companies were performing well, if not sometimes better, by not making changes. Inspired by these conversations, Li chose to study under what conditions a firm may benefit from not innovating.

Li found some prior research on why companies would stick with older technology, but none explored why — during times of disruptive change in the market — sometimes firms are able to survive and even perform better within a small niche with old technology. What Li’s paper showed was that adhering to the old technology can, in some cases, be an effective strategy that ultimately improves firm performance.

The data showed a U-curve effect for traditional Chinese medicine firms that chose not to adopt new technology: The decline in performance began as a few competitors started launching a new technology, but later recovered and reached new heights as most competitors had adopted the new technology and exited the old technology market. But a lack of competition within the niche group of consumers who prefer older technology essentially gave these firms a monopoly within a smaller market as fewer competitors remained.

“Even though the new technology is often superior in terms of functionality, it doesn’t mean that every single customer or customer segment will be willing to move to the new technology,” Li says. “It’s important to understand what customers like about your product. We tend to assume that if a firm introduces something new, then customers must appreciate the new thing or the newness of the offering. But that’s not always true. The emergence of new technology can actually reveal people’s preference for something older.”

The research also refutes the idea that when the market is small, a company won’t perform better — but that depends on how many firms are still serving this niche. If only a few firms are left to serve this market, a company has far more power to charge higher prices among loyal customers with few other options.

“When you see a firm that is not actively innovating, we tend to believe the firm must be either incapable or is suffering — it’s always a bit of a negative tone,” Li says. “Sometimes staying with old technology might actually be a strategic choice, because by doing so it might also lead to better performance.”

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BizNews

Customers prefer text over video to provide service feedback

More people indicated they would likely leave written compliments or complaints about service on a restaurant-provided tablet powered by artificial intelligence. A video message option appeared to discourage leaving feedback.

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At a time when one viral video can damage a business, some companies are turning to their own commenting platforms rather than letting social media be the main outlet for customer feedback. Only one wrinkle: in this context, customers appear to prefer writing a message rather than leaving a video.

In a recent study, more participants indicated they would likely leave written compliments or complaints about service on a restaurant-provided tablet powered by artificial intelligence. A video message option appeared to discourage leaving feedback.

With more restaurants and hotels turning to AI to enhance their service, the findings indicate that methods that require “low self-disclosure” would work better, meaning ones that don’t require customers to provide very much identifiable information.

“Some restaurants and hotels actually ask customers to create video testimonials that they can share, but for general customers, it seems they feel more comfortable with low self-disclosure. This is probably because people still do not trust AI to that level,” said lead author Ruiying Cai, a researcher in Washington State University’s Carson College of Business.

With a lot of hype around AI technology, many people have misperceptions about what it can do, Cai pointed out, perhaps believing it is capable of a lot more than simply recording a message.

The study participants reported being concerned about what would be done with their information in all the scenarios, but this was heightened with the option to leave a video.

For the study, published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, Cai and her colleagues presented different online scenarios to a total of 439 people. The participants were first asked to imagine a restaurant where they had either good or bad service. Then they reported how willing they were to give the server compliments, or complaints, with either text or video on an AI-enabled tablet.

The researchers found that the participants were more willing to give feedback using text, whether positive or negative.

The scenarios also had participants receiving a theoretical immediate or delayed reward to provide feedback, namely a 5% discount of their current meal or a future one. For complaints, the reward timing did not appear to make much difference, which the authors said was not surprising as people tend to be more highly motivated to complain than compliment.

For compliments, the researchers found an interesting connection: with more participants choosing the delayed reward over the immediate one. This may indicate that giving the compliment itself is its own reward as it makes the giver feel good, Cai said.

“It’s a good start to think about how to encourage customers to leave more compliments which could be very important for frontline employees. It could also be beneficial for the customers themselves,” she said.

Even complaints are important to encourage, Cai added. As her previous research suggests, restaurants and hotels should make it easier for customers to complain to them directly rather than go elsewhere to air their grievances.

“There have been episodes when customers were not afraid of posting angry videos on their own social media,” Cai said. “If restaurants and hotels can encourage customers to complain directly to them, then they may be able to recover and solve that service failure before it goes viral online.”

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