The Case of Bad Love: Getting Scammed on Romance

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With thousands (if not millions) of people getting into the digital and online economy every single day, it is not surprising to see the rise in cybercrimes as well. Scams, frauds, and hacks have victimized internet users by the thousands every year, making everyone susceptible, even those who don’t consider themselves as risky.

There are victims of extortion, where cybercriminals take money or other material objects from their victims who they have coerced. Extortionists online can employ methods such as ransomware, bomb threats, and even sextortion conditions.

There are also victims of phishing scams that have not only taken the form of emails but also SMS and instant messages. The scammers usually pretend to be established and legitimate business and persuade customers to make their account information updated. Of course, when updates are done, personal information is provided.

Finally, there is a rise in what has been termed as love scams. In these online dating scenarios, virtual relationships blossom between a fraudster and the unsuspecting victim. Armed only with a fake profile on one or more dating sites, these scammers earn their victims’ trust and before they know it, the latter would already get swindled to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Let’s look deeper into this and see if there are any solutions.


How do romance scams begin?

Here’s the deal: According to the Better Business Bureau, victims of online romance scams in the US and Canada have lost more than $1 billion. What’s worse, because of embarrassment and other personal reasons, victims tend to not report these scams. As a result, cybercriminals get more emboldened, gathering more victims who they scam hundreds of dollars until everything piles up and they end up getting thousands.

Romance scammers use dating websites, apps, Facebook, and other social media. Many use stolen credit cards to join the sites and post fake profiles. They meet victims, interact with them, and quickly try to get them to move to a different form communication such as email or texting. This way, if the dating site identifies the scammer as being bogus and shuts them down, they are already in contact with their victims elsewhere. The scammers will often make fake Facebook pages for their aliases to help bolster their fake identity.

(Via: https://www.augustachronicle.com/news/20200219/bbb-beware-of-online-romance-scams)


Are senior citizens at the most risk?

Here’s an extreme case: an elderly (80 years old, to be exact) widower in Oregon lost $200,000 to an online romance scam. That’s how grave these situations can go.

The elaborate con job started with an unidentified person stealing a Florida’s woman identity, the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation said in a statement. The scammer then used the stolen identity to befriend the 80-year-old widower through an online dating service, and worked to steal his heart and his money.

(Via: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/14/us/happy-valentines-dont-fall-for-romance-scams-trnd/index.html)


How romance scammers work

So, how do …

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Take Advantage of User Profiles

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With how our internet lives almost depend on it, we may think we already know all there is to know about our web browser. However, there’s one feature of it that gets pretty much ignored, if not taken for granted. You know what user profiles are, but chances are high you overlook this feature, not giving it the time of day and not utilizing it to its full potential. The thing is, most browsers, whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Edge, allow multiple user profiles that can make your web browsing experience all the more enjoyable. Once you get the hang of using user profiles, you will wonder why you didn’t use it before.

As the name implies, user profiles allow separate browser profiles for different users, exactly like how you can have different user accounts when you log into Windows. The difference is that this is working at the browser level, so there’s no need to log in and out of the user accounts set up on your OS. What profiles do is that they separate the stuff different users collect as they use the browser to surf the web. This information includes saved passwords, browsing history, installed extensions, and bookmarks, among other things. This allows you and whoever may user your laptop separate browsing experiences. Take note though, that user profile switching in browsers can be done easily, so having a separate user profile is not a guarantee of your browsing life’s privacy.

What’s more, you as a user can have multiple user profiles. You can have a work profile and personal profile, which lets you keep your two worlds separate. When you serve for leisure using your personal profile, for example, you won’t be bothered with anything work-related like bookmarks and suggestions.

On Chrome

Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world currently, but not a lot of its users take advantage of creating their user profiles. What’s great about doing this on Google is that you can actually have not just one, but multiple user profiles.

If you use Google Chrome as your main browser, you probably didn’t know it, but you can create multiple profiles. You may want to do this to share your device with other people without the need to create a new Windows 10 account.

Also, the ability to use multiple profiles can come in handy if you have more than one account, and you want to keep your things (such as work and personal) separate.

(Via: https://pureinfotech.com/add-new-user-profiles-google-chrome/)


On Microsoft Edge

The new updates of Microsoft Edge have continuously excited netizens, thanks to its newly introduced Chromium engine. With the change comes convenience, as it is now way easier to use a new user profile in Microsoft Edge, with process comparable to that of Google Chrome’s. But of course, you will need to have the new Edge …

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Don’t Be Scammed on Your Phone

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Phones these days are ubiquitous to the point that our lives are quite tied to them. Our phone has our social media accounts, which means our social network is with then, as well as online banking, shopping, and delivery, which means our addresses and places of work are in our phones as well. This is why keeping our phones and the information they hold secure and safe is of utmost importance.

However, we cannot stop unscrupulous people from trying to victimize unsuspecting phone users. By hacking into your phone, they get your information as you may end up swiped of all your money, not to mention your identity may also be duplicated. So, without further ado, here are the common scams on your phone and ways you may stop them.


Phones can also be “phished”

We usually associate the term “phishing” with email, but crafty cybercriminals have expanded their activities to include instant messaging and SMS, too. In other words, various electronic communication methods can also victimize you on your phone, and before you know it, a stranger can access your device.

Security researchers have discovered a phishing campaign that specifically targets users of Android devices, which could result in compromise if unsigned Android applications are permitted on the device.

The campaign seeks to deliver Anubis, a malware that was originally used for cyber-espionage, now retooled as a banking trojan. Anubis can completely hijack an Android mobile device, steal data, record phone calls, and even hold the device to ransom by encrypting the victim’s personal files, said a blog post by researchers at Cofense.

(Via: https://www.scmagazineuk.com/phishing-attack-infects-android-phones-anubis-infostealer/article/1673350)


More on “smishing”

In fact, there is already a word specifically for smartphone phishing – smishing. Recipients do not get a scam email, but instead a scammy text message on your smartphone. In a new wave of smishing scams, text messages allegedly from FedEx contains a tracking code with a link that allegedly lets you “set delivery preferences.”

If you tap that link on your phone (and you shouldn’t), you’ll end up on a fake Amazon site (a phishing site) with a fraudulent “free reward.” The site will request your credit card information for “shipping fees.” If you provide payment details, you’ll be billed $98.95 every month.

(Via: https://www.howtogeek.com/526115/what-is-smishing-and-how-do-you-protect-yourself/)


Smartphone fake calls

Of course, instead of messages, there are some scammers that result in good ol’ call. What sounds like a legitimate call can turn out to be a scam with you already giving away sensitive information. Also, there have been an increase in the number of scammers posing as FBI or government agents trying to extract information from unsuspecting people who answer their calls.

But, anyone can fake or spoof a number and make it show up on your smartphone. If you let the call go to voicemail, when you listen, you will know it is a fake

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How to Clean Up Your Cookies in 4 Browsers +1

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Cookies can be a good thing when you’re talking about satisfying your sweet tooth. But for our online lives, it can be both a good and bad thing. Cookies in internet-speak happen when web browsers write these short text files containing information about your interaction about specific sites. Your log-ins, usernames, and things you may have purchased on retail websites would be included in these cookies. Having cookies is supposed to make your web surfing life more convenient as they make loading times for websites you frequent faster. Moreover, you don’t have to keep on typing in your information every time you try to log in a site, as the cookies have your information ready.

Quite harmless, right? But then, these cookies tend to accumulate, taking up space on your system. Moreover, with the current situation of heightened privacy and security concerns, cookies aren’t particularly the poster kids of web safety. Advertisers have access to these cookies, which is why you may notice the same things you look for on the internet get advertised to you on your social media and email accounts. Thus, removing them on a schedule is recommended.

If you’re the type of web user who is security conscious, then we have something for you: Steps on clearing your cookies depending on the web browser you’re using.

Google Chrome

The most popular web browser makes it easy for you to delete cookies, control the data that comes out when you are browsing data, and point out which files are accepted or should be blocked. However, take note that Google will be doing away with cookies in two years.

Like other browsers, Google Chrome tracks your history — but you can easily clear that history.

You can clear your browsing history in Google Chrome in just a few simple steps by accessing the “History” menu. You can choose to delete your history from the last hour, day, week, or month. You can also clear all of your history since you started using Google Chrome.

(Via: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-clear-history-on-google-chrome)


Mozilla Firefox

The browser more known for its add-ons, the open-source browser Firefox is one of, if not the most, customizable web browsers when it comes to privacy settings.

The open-source browser has tons of add-ons and actually offers more options than Chrome when it comes to customizing these settings. Here’s what you need to know to clear the cookies it stores.

Visit any web page and click on the Cookie Quick Manager button on the Firefox toolbar to view the add-on’s menu; it displays six options. The first one is Manage All Cookies which opens the manager dashboard in a new tab in the browser. The dashboard lists each and every cookie that has been stored by your browser. Use the search bar to quickly find a particular website’s cookie to manage it.

(Via: https://www.ghacks.net/2020/01/18/cookie-quick-manager-is-a-firefox-extension-that-lets-you-search-delete-protect-site-specific-cookies/)



In …

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What Browser Will Go Well With Windows 10?

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The internet browser is one piece of software that is so commonly used but also oftentimes overlooked and underappreciated. Whether we spend most of our lives online checking our social media accounts or trying to see what’s the best steals on Amazon, or passing the time by getting into a YouTube rabbit hole of cat videos, we heavily rely on a trusty browser to give us what we need. But then, choosing one to stick to can be difficult, as there is quite a number that goes well with the latest version of Windows 10.

But then, with our needs of browsing through various websites ably performed by most if not all web browsers available today, what should set the wheat apart from the proverbial chaff? The name of the web browser game these days has shifted to other factors such as user security, user privacy, functionality, and customization. That is why we have come up with this list – to make sure you have the right browser to what you prioritize as most important to your web surfing experience.

UR Browser

The UR Browser was, like most web browsers available these days, developed based on the Chromium open-source project. But then, it sets itself apart from being just another version of Chrome as it offers the user various built-in tools, with strengthened safety and privacy features for the user. With so many users putting a lot of importance in the security and privacy of their online lives, UR Browser answers that need very well, along with its other benefits such as reliability and intuitiveness.

What is UR Browser, you may ask? The simple answer is that UR Browser is a cross-platform web navigator or web browser based on Chromium and created by AdaptiveBee, with security, privacy and friendly user interface in mind.

Another way to look at it is that UR Browser is more than a simple navigator. It won’t just help you browse the web seamlessly.

(Via: https://windowsreport.com/ur-browser-review/)


Google Chrome

Who doesn’t know Google Chrome? Who hasn’t used it even just once in their online existence? It’s currently the undisputed leader when it comes to the number of users and how they have grown so accustomed to using it. Since Chrome is preinstalled on smartphones and Android is still stronger compared to iOS in terms of user numbers, it’s no doubt that it has become ubiquitous.

Google’s Chrome browser is the most popular browser in the world, but it’s also notorious for gobbling up RAM and battery life faster than market share – but it looks like Microsoft has found a way to reduce its battery consumption – on Windows 10 devices, at least.

(Via: https://www.techradar.com/news/chrome-may-soon-be-less-of-a-battery-guzzler-in-windows-10-thanks-to-microsoft)


Mozilla Firefox

Through its existence, Firefox has often been considered the best and most valuable alternative to Google Chrome. Its reputation has been solid in terms of its …

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How to Get Your Email (and Save Your Reputation) Back

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It’s a nightmare most, if not all of us email users, may have experienced at least once in our online lives. You click on send for an important email and milliseconds later see in terror as you spot one, two, three typos and two grammatical lapses. Worse, you hit Reply All, which has everyone at work the recipient of your email.

Undoing your accident may be a lot of work for you, considering your reputation has already taken a dive. However, all is not lost as there still may be one solution for you, particularly if not everyone has opened their emails to marvel at your travesty of an email: You may recall it. A lot of email clients actually have this feature, so let’s see how this can be used, depending on your email service.


Gmail, along with its Google brother Chrome, have become the most popular email service and search engines, respectively. Over the years, Gmail has undergone an evolution from being a handy online email service into one of the most indispensable tools for some businesses, not to mention being an important part of Google’s G Suite productivity offerings. And through the years, tons of improvements and updates have been done to Gmail, some of which can be considered successful, while some just earned the chagrin of users for making the platform slower. The update on the service’s message recall feature has been viewed positively since it came out, though. After all, Gmail users aren’t perfect!

The Undo Send feature is on by default on Gmail. Hence, you don’t need to play around any settings to enable it.

As soon as you send an email, you’ll see a pop-up on the bottom left corner of your screen, having the option to View, and Undo message. You can use the same to recall your messages, which will retract the email back to your drafts section. The View message button will not appear for messages sent from within the existing thread, though.

(Via: https://gadgetstouse.com/blog/2019/12/09/how-to-unsend-an-email-on-gmail/)


Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is perhaps the most popular email services in companies and offices, as it provides seamless integration with other Microsoft products, particularly the ubiquitous MS Office. While it used to be that recalling your email was a challenge in Outlook’s older versions, it cannot be said anymore with the newest updates. Microsoft now allows users to retract an email in Outlook, though there are some requirements for the retraction to be done successfully.

Both the user and recipient require an Exchange server email account and use Outlook as the email client.

The recipient’s mailbox should be open when an Outlook recall process is attempted.

The original Outlook message has to be unread and is in the recipient’s inbox.

Finally, the message cannot be affected by any process, such as a rule, spam filter, or add-in.

(Via: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/1171131/outlook-login-how-to-recall-outlook-email-microsoft-outlook-365-guide)


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What SSD to Buy

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The name of the game these days is storage. But not just large storage, but large and speedy storage. And when it comes to large and speedy storage, the market acknowledges solid-state drives as the gold standard. It is a good thing that consumers are now spoilt with choices, as options for SSDs are now faster, bigger, cheaper, and compatible with most systems already present in the market. Thus, there’s never a better time to purchase an SSD.

The wealth of choices in stores can be overwhelming, so we’ve done the curation of the best options for you. Besides, you also need to consider which is the best drive that would suit your laptop the best. But before you read on, take note that some SSDs have rounded off issues. While some claim to have 250 GB and others is at 256 GB, you may consider them to have similar capacity. There’s not common for drives to claim its exact capacity, but the difference is usually more or less 10 GB.

Samsung 970 Evo Plus

Samsung’s newest release, the Samsung 970 Evo Plus, boasts of being faster and more affordable than its predecessor, the 970 Evo. However, generally speaking, it seems that the Samsung 970 Evo Plus is still in the middling crowd, as there are a number of other SSDs that perform better than it.

The 970 Evo Plus therefore looks like more of an attempt at a do-over rather than a chance for the 2018 model’s redemption. The Plus and non-Plus versions aren’t drastically different, both having Samsung-made Phoenix controllers and a maximum advertised read speed of 3,500MB/s, but there have been some key changes. The first is that write speeds have had a big boost on paper, jumping from a maximum 2,500MB/s on the 970 Evo to 3,300MB/s on the Evo Plus; a vast improvement for something that isn’t a full generational leap.

(Via: https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/samsung/1411554/samsung-970-evo-plus-review)


Samsung 860 Pro

Although this has not been as updated its Evo counterpart with its last update dating way back 2018, the Samsung 860 Pro is still considered to be one of the best in the market. It is recognized for its great SATA performance, endurance, and consistent performance. The model is quite high-end, though, which discourages budget-conscious shoppers from buying it.

The 860 Pro is also the first NAS-rated prosumer SSD and it should work well in RAID. The EVO series tends to be more reasonably priced and has better performance in general applications, which keeps the 860 Pro firmly in the professional user category.

(Via: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-860-pro-ssd-review,5434.html)


Intel Optane SSD 905P

The Intel Optain SSD is known for two things: speed and endurance, both at exceptional levels. For a high performer, though, it might be expected that it consumes a lot of power and has a high price tag. However, its capacity has also left a lot …

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Satisfy Your Preference for Huge Flash Drives

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The way storage technology has progressed recently has been staggering. Solid-state drives are now packaged into the size of chocolate bars, while portable hard drives are so powerful that terabytes of data can now fit into these devices that look like passports (pun intended as this is a WD hard drive model).

But even if these devices shrink in size, there is still a sizable market for the USB flash drive. After all, USB 3.0 ports are already built in most laptops, especially the newer models. Of course, even if SSDs and external SATAs are getting smaller, USB flash drives are still the smallest. What’s more, these minute devices now pack so much punch with their storage capacities. Let’s see which USB flash drives have impressed users with their storage capacities.

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT

When it comes to sub drives, Kingston has earned the reputation of producing record breakers. In 2017, when the manufacturer released the Ultimate that comes in 1TB and 2TB capacities, it seems that they have outdone themselves again. The staggering capacity of the DataTraveler Ultimate GT should make most users look past its chunkiness.

Shipped in a silver metal case, the Kingston Ultimate GT 2TB USB 3.1 flash drive is available in 1 or 2TB capacities, comes with a blue USB 3.1 Gen 1 cable and Kingston branded black mesh carry bag, and it is capable of speeds up to 300MB/s read and 200MB/s write.

(Via: http://www.thessdreview.com/featured/kingston-ultimate-gt-2tb-flash-drive-review-space/)

Western Digital SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe

A new line of SanDisk Ultra Drive Luxes was introduced in January 2020’s CES event, and with capacities of up to 1TB, it has established itself as one of the biggest flash drives in terms of capacity. It’s also USB-C, which makes it a speedy and powerful machine. But those owning laptops that don’t have USB-C yet need not fret as the flash drive is also compatible with USB-A drives too.

Indeed, it features a dual USB connectivity: on one side, there is a USB Type-C connector, and if you flip it 180°, there is a traditional USB Type-A connector. The design of the SanDisk 1TB Ultra Dual Drive Luxe is smart.

(Via: https://www.cinema5d.com/sandisk-shows-a-8tb-portable-ssd-prototype-1tb-ultra-dual-drive-luxe-usb-flash-drive/)

Patriot Supersonic Rage

Patriot, maker of various computer-related devices including gaming keyboards, headsets, solid state drives, and mice are no slouches when it comes to producing flash drives. The Supersonic Rage has an Elite variant that comes with a 1TB capacity, making it one of the largest, but also most affordable flash drives.

While the GTX is the high performance play (topping out at 256GB), the GS is more of a capacity play (the top end version has 512GB of flash memory).

(Via: https://www.anandtech.com/show/9573/corsair-flash-voyager-gs-usb-30-512gb-flash-drive-capsule-review)

Corsair Flash Voyager GS

The Corsair Flash Voyager GS USB 3.0 combines reliable speed with the largest capacity of any flash drive from the manufacturer. Housed in sleek metal alloy, …

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Is Your Browser Promoting Your Privacy?

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With the number of people using the Internet in the millions, online privacy has been one concern that has never been more important. Fortunately, a good number of today’s browsers have been implementing changes to ensure its users that they are serious in providing them with more online privacy.

The most used browsers have come up with a number of tools to help in protecting you from first-party (used for things such as retaining your login information) and third-party (mainly used by advertisers to get information and track your behavior online) tracking cookies. Other efforts are directed towards fingerprinting, which tracks you by collecting details about your system configuration, which are then turned into your “fingerprint.”

Firefox introduces enhanced tracking protection

Trackers have already been blocked by Firefox way back September 2019. The browser utilizes Enhanced Tracking Protection, a customizable feature. This feature blocks trackers on a list of known trackers called the Disconnect list, which means not every third-party tracker is blocked. However, cookies that track across sites are also blocked by Firebox’s feature.

You can check if Enhanced Tracking Protection is enabled by checking the small shield icon to the left of the address bar. If the icon is purple, Firefox is blocking trackers. If it’s gray, there are no trackers to block. If it’s gray and crossed out, tracking protection is disabled for that site.

(Via: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/7/21121202/firefox-privacy-tools-private-network-browser-settings)

What has Chrome done?

Chrome’s December release, Version 79, was all about improved security of passwords. In February’s update, Version 80 sees a new system for sorting cookies and blocking them from being slowly implemented. While first-party cookies are still allowed, third-party ones would need to have a same-site setting, ensuring that secure connections are used to access the sites.

Google also says that Chrome will phase out third-party cookies in two years in favor of an alternative system to cookies using new technologies Google is developing.

(Via: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/11/21126427/google-chrome-privacy-tools-private-network-browser-settings)

On the edge, but secure

Not to be outdone by Chrome and Firefox, Microsoft’s latest update of its Edge browser has user privacy as a priority. Many have praised the new Edge’s privacy settings that are allegedly easier to use and understand compared to Chrome’s. Edge’s privacy settings are so powerful that users are being asked by the websites to disable their ad blockers even though they don’t have one installed. That means that the privacy settings of Edge can be an ad block in disguise.

Edge offers a one-click-to-fix experience that’s easy for anyone to control the degree of privacy they want while browsing the web. That’s to say, it’s quick and easy if you don’t really know what to look for, and you’re simply looking to be left alone by trackers – a basic method to browse the web without being, well, tracked.

(Via: https://www.businessinsider.sg/microsoft-edge-privacy-ad-blocker-google-chrome-comparison-2020-1/)

Chrome and its eventual separation from cookies

However, in a rather …

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Take Your Pick From the Best File Sending Apps and Services

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Whether for work or for friends and family, we usually must share documents and files. The thing is, there are a lot of cases when what we share is larger than what our email services allow us to attach.

Take note that for these recommendations, we have to consider those three factors: (1) The service has to send the files fast, or at a speed that most, if not all of us are accustomed to. It’s the speed that we expect from these services – once we’ve told mom that we’ve already sent the files, all she needs to do is log in and click the link on her email so that she could download the file from her end. (2) The service has to be secure – not prone to hacking and access by third parties, although most services and cloud drives can’t promise end-to-end encryption, or the practice of these services not having any access to your files at all, even for law enforcement. (3) Lastly, these services or apps need to be as flawless as possible. The fewer hiccups, the better, of course.


One of the more ubiquitous file-sharing services, Dropbox provides users with free storage (2 GB), as well as plans starting at 2TB for $12 monthly. It also offers some value-added services like file-sharing enabling across the web, files and folders syncing between devices and the cloud, file collaboration with those you’ve shared the file with, among others. A new app was also introduced to the market in January 2020.

However you feel about it, the new Dropbox will start rolling out to everyone today. Those shared folders are now “Dropbox Spaces” — a hub, effectively, built around your shared files.

(Via: https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/25/dropbox-will-start-rolling-out-the-new-dropbox-app-to-everyone-today/)



iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage service, maybe a bit behind its file-sharing rivals, though there have been strides for the product’s improvement. A free 5 GB of iCloud storage comes with every Apple ID, and paid options start at $2 monthly for 50 GB. iCloud is best of course, just like with anything Apple, if you and your network of friends and family also use Apple software. If not, there can be hitches. In terms of security, full back up encryption has been dropped though, and it has been reported it is because of law enforcement pressure.

Reuters is reporting that Apple made the decision not to let users create and store personal encryption keys for iCloud Backup under pressure from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(Via: https://tidbits.com/2020/01/21/apple-allegedly-dropped-full-icloud-backup-encryption-under-fbi-pressure/)



Microsoft cloud storage, One Drive, aims to be as permeating as other products of its parent company. Thus, for those who work extensively with MS Word, Excel, and other Windows and Office programs, OneDrive as your file sharing platform of choice makes perfect sense. 5 GB is given for free, with the most affordable option at $2/month …

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