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‘Overwatch’ debuts its fourth new hero: Doomfist

Blizzard’s hero shooter Overwatch released three additional characters in the year since it launched in May 2016, teasing through in-game hints and in-universe lore blogs. But the next hero is one we’ve been teased since the title’s very first cinematic trailer, when one of the boys takes a gauntlet that could “level a skyscraper” for his own stab at heroics. Fans, the wielder of that legendary glove is here: Doomfist has entered the fray.

Rise up and be remembered.

Witness the return of one of Talon’s leaders: Doomfist!

Learn more @

— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 6, 2017

Like the heroes before, Doomfist will go live on the (PC-only) PTR test servers before rolling into the main game in a few weeks. But then! Everyone will get to enjoy his heavy-hitting kit, which looks to include crowd-control and area damage skills.

Doomfist, of course, is the moniker adopted by three different people in the Overwatch universe. Players wandering around the Numbani stage can find posters advertising an exhibit about each person who wore the legendary gauntlet, and it seems we’re playing with the last in the line — the villain Akande Ogundimu, who broke out of prison to take his place in the shadowy Talon organization. The ‘fist itself features prominently in the game’s introductory trailer that dropped in November 2014, so it’s safe to say fans have been curious when the character would show up.

Source: Blizzard


Hulu Launches Live and On-Demand HBO as $15 Per Month Add-On Option

Hulu today announced that subscribers will now be able to add HBO’s programming into their Hulu subscription for $14.99 per month, as well as Cinemax for $9.99 per month (via TechCrunch). Hulu currently offers Showtime for $8.99 per month as an add-on package to the basic streaming service.

HBO will be available as an add-on package for both Hulu’s new live TV service (beginning at $39.99 per month) as well as its on-demand streaming tiers ($7.99 per month for limited commercials, $11.99 per month for no commercials). HBO’s East Coast and West Coast live feeds will be available, as well as every show and movie in the network’s back catalog.

Those interested will be able to access HBO on Hulu’s new app for Apple TV, iOS, Xbox One, and Android. Coming soon, additional HBO and Cinemax channels will be added, like HBO 2, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Comedy, HBO Signature HD, HBO Zone, MoreMAX HD, ActionMAX HD, ThrillerMAX HD, MovieMAX HD, 5StarMAX HD and OuterMAX HD.

Tag: Hulu
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Instagram Adds Photo and Video Replies for Instagram Stories

Instagram today announced that it has added an option to reply to Instagram stories with a photo or a video, allowing Instagram users to do more than simply comment on a friend’s stories.

When watching a story, you’ll see a new camera button that can be used to snap a photo/video or choose an image that was taken within the last 24 hours from your camera roll. There are options to use Boomerang or Rewind with videos, and there are stickers and filters to apply to both photos and videos.

Photos and videos that friends send as story replies will show up in the Direct inbox, where they can be viewed with a tap. A photo or video sticker will also be added to the story itself, but it is only viewable by the user who shared the story. When you view a story reply, friends will be notified of screenshots or replays.

Instagram users who have the latest version of the iOS app installed will see the new video reply options. Instagram can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Nintendo to Debut ‘Nintendo Switch Online’ iOS App Alongside Splatoon 2 on July 21

During a Nintendo Direct event this morning, Nintendo announced plans to release a new “Nintendo Switch Online” app on July 21, the release date for Splatoon 2. According to Nintendo, the Nintendo Switch Online app, available for iOS and Android, is designed to “enhance your online experience for compatible games on the Nintendo Switch console.”

At launch, the only game compatible with the Nintendo Switch Online app will be Splatoon 2. The app will let users voice chat with friends, invite people to online matches, create teams, and access SplatNet 2. SplatNet2 offers up online play statistics and info on upcoming game features.

The debut of the app means Splatoon 2 and other games are unlikely to have built-in voice chat capabilities, instead requiring the separate app, but Nintendo has been promoting an upcoming headset accessory from Hori that will combine audio from the iPhone and the Nintendo Switch for a more seamless play experience.

Nintendo Switch Online for iOS will let you invite friends with Splatoon 2 to Private Battles, League Battles, and Splatfest Battles across social media and “other services,” and it will support push notifications for instant alerts when an invite is received.

Though the app will launch with limited functionality, it will expand to encompass other games as Nintendo builds out its Nintendo Switch Online service.

The app’s functionality and the Splatoon 2 online play will be available for free until the full Nintendo Switch Online service launches in 2018. Following the launch of Nintendo Switch Online, most games with online gameplay will require an ongoing subscription. Nintendo Switch Online will cost $19.99 per year or $3.99 per month with a monthly subscription.

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Make Your YouTube Videos Stand Out in Four Easy Steps

The world of vlogging is incredibly exciting. More and more people are turning to it, either to share their passions, exchange help and tips, or to use as a career path. If you’ve decided that you want to make it big on YouTube, there’s quite a lot to consider. From promoting yourself as a brand to growing your followers, you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, there’s no point doing anything until you’re confident that you can produce high-quality videos that people will want to share. It’s not just about the videos themselves either. You need to ensure the whole process sparkles: from when a viewer first visits your channel, to when they read the information below your video.


First off, are you actually saying anything worth listening to? This is a hard point to evaluate, but you need to be really honest with yourself. Yes, everyone repeats themselves in the vlogging world, but the trick is to say old things in a new way. You don’t want to just sound like everyone else: it won’t make people want to follow you. Even though you might be super inspired by certain vloggers, don’t fall into the trap of sounding exactly the same. Take the bits you like, and put your own spin on it all. Likewise, it’s a good idea to jot down some notes about what you’re going to speak about both in your current video, and in future ones. That way, if you freeze up while on screen, you’ll have a few prompts to get you going again.

Camera and filming style

Now, once you’ve sorted the content and ensured that everyone wants to watch you, you need to make sure that this is possible. It might sound obvious, but so many people forget the basic things when filming. You need somewhere with the right lighting: lighting that flatters you, hides anything you don’t want to be seen, but it still bright enough to give your audience a good look at what’s going on. You should also decide if you’re going to film your vlog while holding the camera yourself, like on a selfie stick, whether you want someone else to film you, or if you’ll use a webcam on your laptop or PC.

Editing and extras

If you know that your content is great and the filming quality is high, then you need to make sure everything else looks as good. Try using a YouTube banner maker to give your channel a more professional look and feel. You could also try using a few interactive elements in your actual videos, to help bring your viewers into the story more. This might be as simple as using ‘view more like this’ links in the video, to more complex story ideas, like ‘choose your own ending’ features.

Clarity and quality

No one wants to watch a video with poor quality sound and picture. Even if you’ve got the most entertaining subject matter, it won’t matter if your audience can’t see you or hear you. So, you need to make sure that whatever camera you’re using to record your vlog is good, and that you’re sat in a quiet place with as little background noise as possible.


Honor 8 Pro review

The recently launched Honor 8 Pro is the beefed-up version of last year’s Honor 8. The Honor 8 was a well-rounded package, but the compact form factor and mid-range specifications didn’t really allow for the ‘flagship’ tag.

Enter Honor 8 Pro. There’s larger display, top-of-the-line specifications, and Android Nougat out of the box, yet it is not just a sequel or an XL version. The sum of parts is definitely greater than the whole, and the Pro moniker doesn’t tell the whole story.

On paper, the Honor 8 Pro checks all the boxes for a flagship smartphone in 2017, but does the form and function merit it being categorized along with more expensive flagship devices, and the mid-range ones like the OnePlus 5? Let’s find out in our comprehensive Honor 8 Pro review!


The Honor 8 was one of the best-looking devices of 2016, and the Honor 8 Pro sure can take a shot at the crown once again.

Honor 8 Pro sports a seamless metal unibody design that looks and feels solid, as well as premium. The blue variant of course is my personal favorite, and quite a head-turner. The Honor 8 Pro isn’t the thinnest phone around, but with just 6.97 mm in thickness, it manages to pack in a 4000 mAh battery.

For a smartphone with a large 5.7-inch display, the thin borders and rounded edges aid the grip. No, one-handed usage is not ideal, as one would expect in a phone of this size, but the ergonomics are quite good and the weight distribution is on point. It doesn’t feel as heavy as the specifications sheet suggests (184 grams), but it’s heavy nevertheless.

At the back, the dual-camera sits flush with the surface and the fingerprint scanner too looks neat. The antenna lines on the Honor 8 Pro actually accentuate the design.

Unlike the glass panel of the of Honor 8, the Honor 8 Pro sports a matte finish that improves the grip and is visually pleasing. Of course, some people liked that glass body, but it was a fingerprint magnet and quite slippery. The latter would’ve become worse in a smartphone of this size and weight.

Overall, the Honor 8 Pro is a stylish device with a dependable chassis and stands out in the sea of similar looking smartphones in the market.


The Honor 8 Pro sports a 5.7-inch IPS display with 1440 x 2560 resolution. The Quad HD resolution and a pixel density of 515 ppi make for a terrific display. The display is sharp and the colors are vivid. The contrast ratio is top-notch as well, and while the display is a tad reflective, sunlight legibility is pretty good.

The display on the Honor 8 Pro offers a maximum brightness of 560 nits, which is brilliant. The black levels are deep and while there’s a blue tint on white, it’s not too noticeable to the naked eye.

The Honor 8 Pro has a 2.5D curved glass which offers a nice swiping experience across the large display. There’s Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection as well which will keep scratches at bay and prevent shatters to a certain extent.

The Quad HD IPS LCD panel on the Honor 8 Pro is one of the highlights of the device, but the obvious flip side to a higher resolution display is the bigger strain on the GPU and a hit on the battery life.


Powered by Huawei’s top-of-the-line SoC, Kirin 960 with Mali-G71 MP8 GPU, the Honor 8 Pro packs in 6 GB of RAM. Developed by HiSilicon, Huawei’s in-house chipmaker, the Kirin 960 chipset is one of the most powerful smartphone chips out there and does well to take on the Exynos and Snapdragon ones in benchmark tests.

The Honor 8 Pro is a snappy performer that can handle aggressive multi-tasking as well as gaming without breaking a sweat. The generous RAM helps in fluid performance and there are literally no lags or stutters, as it sails through nicely as a daily driver. The device also does a good job at staying relatively cool even when stretched.

My only grouse with the Honor 8 Pro is its loudspeaker performance. It sports a single speaker at the bottom, which is almost a letdown, and the average audio output disappoints.

The Honor 8 Pro packs in a 4,000 mAh battery, and thanks to some great software optimizations, the phone can easily give you a battery life of two days. An hour of charging every day, and you could chug along nicely without getting anxious about running out of charge.

The phone supports quick charging with the bundled 9V/2A charger, and it helps charge to a third of the battery capacity in 30 minutes and from 0 to 100% in under two hours.

A large display with 1440p resolution is expected to impact battery life. However, Honor has done well to pack a large battery and impressive optimizations under the hood. Even as a heavy user, I could manage a battery life of over a day. Also, the GPU needs to push all those pixels to the Quad HD panel. There’s of course a performance delta, but the solid internals on the Honor 8 Pro wouldn’t let that get in the way.

All in all, the Honor 8 Pro stands tall in the performance race and is clearly a champion when it comes to battery life.


The Honor 8 Pro features a hybrid SIM slot, so you can either use two nano-SIMs or one SIM and one microSD card. A lot of multimedia hoarders who use two SIMs don’t usually like this arrangement, but the Honor 8 Pro packs in a generous 128 GB of internal storage and not many people would care for memory expansion anyway.

While the Honor 8 Pro sports a USB Type-C port at the bottom, yet oddly, the Type-C interface only supports the older USB 2.0 standard instead of USB 3.0 or 3.1. Most people though wouldn’t really care about it. Of course, OTG is supported.

The Honor 8 Pro has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and it works quite well. Rarely did the sensor failed at authentication, and it works across 360 degrees – your fingerprint is recognized regardless of its position on the sensor.


The rear camera on the Honor 8 Pro features a dual camera setup. There’s no Leica branding this time around, but Huawei was one of the first in the dual-camera game and has put out several devices with this feature already.

The dual camera setup boasts of one RGB sensor and another monochrome sensor – both 12-megapixel ones with f/2.2 aperture. And there’s a dual-tone LED flash. Both sensors work in unison to produce detailed photos with higher dynamic range. The RGB sensor processes all the color information while the monochrome sensor extracts the details from the shadows as well as highlights.

While the Honor 8 and Honor 8 Pro have identical camera setups, the shutter performance on the latter and the image processing is much better owing to the faster processor and all that extra RAM.

The Honor 8 Pro takes some great shots. The colors are beautiful without looking over-saturated. In daylight, the photos captured have a very good dynamic range with true-to-life color reproduction. The focusing too is pretty quick, except sometimes in close-up shots.

One of the primary advantages of the second sensor is improved low-light performance. The Honor 8 Pro relies on the monochrome sensor for capturing more light. Even at night time, the Honor 8 Pro manages to take some great shots without much noise and high level of resolved details.

And of course, the two sensors work well to create an optical background defocus effect, popularly known as bokeh. The camera on the Honor 8 Pro manages to capture the depth of field quite realistically. It’s top-notch and one of the best in the business.

Unlike the Honor 8, thankfully, the Honor 8 Pro has a dedicated monochrome mode that allows you to use the monochrome sensor to its full extent. This enables you to capture proper monochrome shots (not just black & white) with high level of detailing, contrast, and sharpness. While most people enjoy clicking portraits or photos with nice bokeh effects with a dual camera setup, I quite like to snap dramatic monochrome shots. With the Honor 8 Pro, the daylight shots are impressive with brilliant contrast and great amount of resolved detail. The low-light ones too are striking.

The 8-megapixel front shooter on the Honor 8 Pro comes with a f/2.0 lens and manages to capture quite detailed selfies even indoors and in low-light, like when you’re out for dinner with friends. There’s of course the beautification feature which masks blemishes on your face, if beauty is just skin-deep for you.

The Honor 8 Pro offers 4K video capture at 30fps. While the captured videos are sharp and colors look just fine, they lack the details.

The camera app on the Honor 8 Pro also offers RAW shooting mode as well as a manual mode so you can granularly configure focus, shutter speed, ISO, and other settings.


Out of the box, the Honor 8 Pro comes with Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1 on top. Huawei’s proprietary layer – Emotion UI – has matured well from its previous generations and has comprehensive under-the-hood tinkering that boosts overall performance. According to Huawei, almost 90% of core operations on the phone can be completed in three steps, and I can safely say that the claim is not misplaced.

The company claims that there are small, but very useful things, like improved mis-touch detection or better dictation algorithms. Then there’s the new Ultra Memory algorithm that learns from your app habits and speeds up app launch/resume by keeping what you consider important in the RAM. There’s also Ultra Response that allows for faster touch response and supports predictive finger tracking.

Huawei intends to use advanced machine learning to catalog and predict user behavior and allocate system resources accordingly for a better overall experience. SmartPower 5.0, the company’s intelligent power management platform, is an example of the same as it works towards improving battery efficiency.

While EMUI didn’t have an app-drawer like most Android skins from Chinese OEMs, but with EMUI 5.1, Huawei now offers the option between the usual ‘all-apps-on-the-deck’ one or a two-tiered interface with a homescreen and an app drawer. There’s also a Simple UI that’s useful for elderly or visually impaired users.

The Phone Manager app is the one-stop shop for all phone management (d’oh!) tasks. There’s a one-touch optimization button as well as a virus scanner powered by Avast. The Power Manager offers two battery savings mode – Power saving and Ultra power saving.

EMUI 5.1 is jam-packed with features all over – both in the UI as well as under-the-hood. While it offers a clean and intuitive user experience on the surface, there’s much more behind the scenes.

VR Experience

The Honor 8 Pro comes in a box that can be turned into a Google Cardboard-style VR headset. There are two VR apps pre-installed on the Honor 8 Pro – Jaunt VR and Cardboard.

The VR headset is easy to assemble but it’s just a gimmicky one, and not something you can use to indulge in VR extensively. The lenses are pretty good, but it’s hard to hold it comfortably and find the right viewing angle. But of course, it is good way for you to try VR apps and games, and if it works for you, maybe buy a third-party VR headset.


Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1
Display 5.7-inch QuadHD (1440 x 2560) LTPS-IPS LCD
2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 960
Octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A73@2.4GHz + 4xCortex-A53@1.8GHz)
Mali-G71 GPU
Internal Storage 128 GB
Expandable upto 256 GB with microSD card
Front Camera 8 MP
f/2.0 aperture
1080p @ 30fps video capture
Rear Camera Dual 12MP camera with hybrid AF
RGB and Monochrome sensors
f/2.2 aperture
Dual-tone flash
2160p and 1080p @ 30/60fps video capture
Battery 4,000 mAh
18W fast charging
Dimensions 157 x 77.5 x 7 mm
Weight 184 grams


Pricing and final thoughts

The Honor 8 Pro is nothing short of a fantastic flagship smartphone in 2017.

Launched in the UK in April for £474.99, and now in India for ₹29,990 ($463), the Honor 8 Pro has managed to squeeze in a well-rounded flagship device in mid-tier price segment. In India, the price is lower than that of OnePlus 5, and while the latter has gotten all the buzz in last few months, the Honor 8 Pro might just spoil its party.

While Huawei and Honor have been slowly and surely getting a foothold in the Indian market, the company was always in the hunt for a game-changing device that captures not just the mindshare, but also flies of the shelves. Looks like, the Honor 8 Pro might just be that.

It’s got the best chipset in the house, a high-resolution display that looks gorgeous, latest Android out of the box, and a good enough dual camera… all packed in a very stylish and solid chassis. There’s not much to complain, really. The Honor 8 Pro is nothing short of a fantastic flagship smartphone in 2017.


Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals available from the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

3D Earth

This unique application combines weather forecast, clocks, widgets, and a beautiful view from space to our Earth for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Available on:


Thanksgiving Wallpapers

It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit, and this app is here to prove just that with its collection of HD wallpapers optimized for your iPhone and other Apple devices.

Available on:


Therapy Buddy

Get the most out of your counseling or life-coaching sessions with Therapy Buddy. Developed by Thriveworks, this app provides users with tools they need to have a productive therapy session.

Available on:


Studio Music Player

This simple and smart player takes headphones like EarPods, and many other models, to a completely new level, providing the playback quality usually delivered by professional studio headphones.

Available on:


Phoenix Photo Editor

Phoenix is a powerful and fast photo editor with a lot of editing tools, and importing and sharing options. With Phoenix you will have the freedom to customize your photos with pretty filters, effects, borders, and fonts.

Available on:


Top 26 Hip Hop Radio

Hip Hop Radio is for all hip hop music fans. Now you can listen to today’s greatest hits all day all in one place. The app is simple — just tap to play and tap again to stop the music.

Available on:



SIM swapping scams can empty your bank account; here’s how to stay safe

If you haven’t experienced SIM swap fraud, count yourself lucky. It’s a relatively new, sophisticated form of fraud that allows hackers to gain access to bank accounts, credit card numbers, and other personal data. It’s tough to spot, and even tougher to undo the resulting damage.

It’s a growing trend. According to the U.S. Fair Trade Commission, there were 1,038 reported incidents of SIM swap identity theft in January 2013, representing 3.2 percent of identity theft cases that month. By January 2016, that number had ballooned to 2,658.

But there’s hope. Knowing SIM card fraud’s basics can help protect you against the most common forms, and recognizing an attack in progress can help you head off the worst of its effects.

What is a SIM swap scam?

A cellphone SIM card stores user data in GSM (Global System for Mobile) phones. They’re principally used to authenticate cellphone subscriptions — without a SIM card, GSM phones aren’t able to tap into any mobile network.

SIM swap fraud is a type of identity theft that exploits the SIM system’s biggest vulnerability: Platform agnosticism.

“Unlike mobile malware, SIM fraud attacks are usually aimed at profitable victims that have been specifically targeted through social engineering.”

“It’s a way attackers are attempting to gain access to their target’s cell phone communications,” Andrew Blaich, a security researcher at Lookout, told Digital Trends. “There are many public cases of attackers social engineering their way through a cellular company’s representative to get a SIM card issued for an account the attacker doesn’t own or have access to. It appears to be easy to do as all you need is a willing/susceptible representative at any cellular phone store.”

Emma Mohan-Satta, a fraud prevention consultant at Kaspersky Labs, told Digital Trends that a growing reliance on phone-based authentication has made SIM swapping an increasingly lucrative enterprise.

“A high proportion of banking customers now have mobile phone numbers linked with their accounts, and so this attack is becoming common in some regions where this attack was not previously so common,” Mohan-Satta said. “Unlike mobile malware, SIM fraud attacks are usually aimed at profitable victims that have been specifically targeted through successful social engineering.”

Laying the groundwork for a SIM swap scheme involves collecting as much information about the victim as possible. Fraudsters might send phishing mail — messages that impersonate legitimate businesses like credit card companies and health insurers — intended to fool victims into forking over their legal names, dates of birth, addresses, and phone numbers. Unfortunately, many people can’t tell the difference between real emails and phishing emails. Alternatively, they might scrape public websites, social media, and data dumps from criminals who specialize in collecting personal data.

Once SIM criminals have gathered enough information on a target, they create a false identity. First, they call the victim’s cellphone provider and claim that his or her SIM card has been lost or damaged. Then, they ask the customer service representative activate a SIM card or number in their possession.

Most cellphone service providers won’t acquiesce to those requests unless callers answers security questions, but SIM fraudsters come prepared, using the personal data they’ve collected from across the web to defeat the carrier’s security checks without raising any alarms.

Once they’ve gained unfettered access to a victim’s phone number, criminals target bank accounts.

“The attacker can read your SMS messages and see who you’re chatting with and what about,” Blaich said. “Many banks will send you a code to log into an account or reset a password to a mobile phone via SMS, which means an attacker committing SIM fraud can request and receive the code and access your bank.”

Next, SIM fraudsters mask money withdrawals using a parallel system. They create a second bank account under the victim’s name (banks where the victim is already a customer have fewer security checks). When the criminals execute a transfer between the two accounts, it appears to the bank’s computer system as though the victim is transferring funds between two parallel accounts.

Signs of SIM swap fraud

It’s tough to detect SIM card fraud before it happens. Most victims discover they’ve been compromised when they try to place a call or text. Once the perpetrators deactivate a SIM, messages and calls won’t go through. But some banks and carriers have instituted protections that prevent SIM swap fraud before it happens.

“There are multiple organizational and technical ways to combat SIM fraud — from introducing user alerting and additional checks for SIM reissuing to sharing knowledge of SIM swap activity between banks and phone companies,” Mohan-Satta said. “Banks can also consider looking for behavioral changes through behavioral analysis technology that can indicate a compromised device. This information may then be used by a bank to avoid sending SMS passwords to compromised devices and as an early way to alert the genuine customer.”

Some institutions call customers to determine whether they got a new SIM card or alert them that someone is potentially impersonating them.

Martin Warwick, FICO’s fraud chief in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, told that an increasing number of banks use the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) — a unique number associated with a specific GSM phone — to ensure one-time use codes are sent only to legitimate subscribers.

“It is possible to check whether your SIM card number and your international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) are the same,” Warwick said. “If there is a discrepancy, your bank could contact you by email or landline to check.”

Banks in the U.K., including the Lloyds Banking Group and Santander, say they’re working with network providers on the issue. Groups like the Financial Fraud Action UK actively partner with telecommunications companies to educate subscribers about  SIM swapping.

How to prevent SIM swap fraud

Major carriers in the U.S. offer security that can help protect against SIM card swapping.

  • AT&T has “extra security,” a feature that requires you provide a passcode for any online or phone interactions with an AT&T customer representative. You can turn it on by logging into AT&T’s web dashboard or the myAT&T app.
  • Sprint asks customers to set a PIN and security questions when they establish service.
  • T-Mobile lets subscribers create a “care password,” which it’ll require when they contact T-Mobile customer service by phone. You can set one up by visiting a T-Mobile store or by calling customer care.
  • Verizon allows customers to set an account PIN, which they can do by editing their profile in their online account, calling customer service, or visiting a Verizon store.

The easiest way to prevent SIM card fraud is by exercising a few common-sense rules, Mohan-Satta said.

“Users should avoid revealing too much personal data online, and check on what alerts can be set up with their bank or phone company to identify any attempts to access their account,” she said.

“Avoid using SMS as a primary method of communication because the data is not encrypted.”

Another good practice is using encrypted messaging apps that aren’t as prone to snooping as SMS. Blaich suggests enabling two-factor authentication, which requires a randomly generated passcode in addition to a username and password, on sensitive social media, credit card, and bank accounts.

“Users can best protect themselves by using services that don’t use SMS for their codes and use authenticator apps like Google Authenticator or any number of other apps that provide a similar service,” he said. “You should also avoid using SMS as a primary method of communication because the data in an SMS is not encrypted and is capable of being snooped on easily. Users should switch to messaging apps or services like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, etc. for any messages you wish to be private.”

It never hurts to exercise due diligence. Blaich recommends checking with your cellphone company every couple of weeks to see if any SIM cards have been issued without your knowledge.

If you’re the victim of a SIM swap scam, it’s not the end of the world. Mohan-Satta says that acting quickly can minimize the amount of damage inflicted by fraudsters.

“Inform the bank or phone company as soon as you have any suspicions to reduce the impact of the attack,” she said.


From camera to drone to gym clothes, the Alpaka Shift Pack can carry it all

Why it matters to you

When versatility matters, the latest bag from Alpaka can be converted to carry a variety of items.

Tech is becoming more versatile — but what about the bags we carry it around in? Today, July 6, Australia-based bag company Alpaka launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Shift Pack, a versatile backpack that can accommodate a camera or drone while also toting around a laptop or tablet.

The bottom of the Shift Pack holds a padded compartment that’s the key to the bag’s versatility. This space is big enough to accommodate a DSLR and a lens or even DJI’s small folding drone, the Mavic. A laptop sleeve in the bag’s main compartment can house up to a 17-inch laptop or tablet. Different bag packages offer users the extra inserts and options needed to convert the bag for different carrying options.

The bag’s roll-top main compartment is what allows the backpack to convert from gym bag to a day at the office. The roll-top allows the bag to expand to an even larger top compartment allowing users to quickly adjust the bag to accommodate more gear. That main compartment is also accessible via a front zipper. The Shift Pack also hides away valuables like cash and a passport inside a hidden pocket.

The Shift Pack can also be expanded using a modular utility pouch system that adds extra storage on the bag’s shoulder straps.

Alpaka says the Shift Pack is designed for comfort while traveling, with a leather-wrapped carrying handle, contoured back, and padded shoulder straps. The back of the bag also has a sleeve for attaching the bag to the handle of a rolling suitcase.

The options continue on the bag’s exterior, with users choosing from either a black weatherproof nylon or a faux wool high-end finish in blue or gray, both complimenting a rip-stop nylon interior. The design is rounded out with waterproof zippers and magnetic latches for quick access pockets.

The Shift Pack is Alpaka’s follow-up to the 7ven messenger bag, which successfully launched after a Kickstarter campaign in 2016. The Shift Pack is looking to crowdfunding for the launch as well, with the campaign opening on Thursday, July 6. Backers can support the Shift Pack launch by making pledges, which start at $159.


SpaceX finally gets its rocket off the ground after two failed efforts

Why it matters to you

You’d have thought that landing the rocket was the tricky part, but this week launching the thing has proved a greater challenge than expected.

SpaceX finally got its Falcon 9 off the launchpad on Wednesday following two aborted efforts earlier in the week.

The mission to send the Intelsat 35e communications satellite into orbit went without a hitch this time around, lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday at 7.38 p.m. ET. The satellite deployed just over half an hour after launch, SpaceX said.

It’s SpaceX’s 10th launch this year and its third in under two weeks. Elon Musk’s private space company has made it clear that it’s keen to ramp up its launch frequency with its reusable rocket system, eventually to as many as one a day if the demand is there.

In contrast to SpaceX’s previous Falcon 9 missions, this one didn’t include bringing the rocket back to terra firma. Considering the large weight of the satellite and the high orbit to which it was heading, the Falcon 9 didn’t have enough fuel left to attempt one of its spectacular landings. Of course, as this is a reusable rocket system that SpaceX is developing, the team hopes that one day even these more fuel-hungry missions can conclude with perfect landings.

The launch attempts on Sunday and Monday were aborted with just seconds to go due to computer glitches. The failures marked a setback for SpaceX, which had been enjoying a decent run of launches since returning to flight in January following a rocket explosion in September 2016.

But it’s easy to forget just how far SpaceX has come — and how much it’s achieved — with its ambition to build a reliable and efficient reusable rocket system to significantly reduce the cost of space travel. The feat of launching an unmanned rocket into space and bringing part of it back to a specific landing spot would’ve sounded absurd just a short while ago. But SpaceX, which was founded in 2002, has pretty much nailed the procedure.

And SpaceX CEO has far bolder ambitions. Musk wants ultimately to put humans on Mars, even to build a city there. In the meantime, his team will continue deploying satellites for an array of private firms, and launching supply missions for the International Space Station.

And as if all that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, in 2018 the company is aiming to send two space tourists on a trip around the moon.

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