4 Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Trusting a Free VPN Provider

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |VPN|4 Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Trusting a Free VPN ProviderThere are some free deals you come across that seem to be a real no-brainer and well worth taking advantage of but there are also plenty of scenarios where get something for free may not be the best option for a number of good reasons.

For example, there is a fundamental difference between cheap VPNs and a free alternative that comes with strings attached.

Here are some things to look out for and some reasons to think carefully before being tempted by the offer of a free VPN deal.

When the numbers don’t add up

There is an understandable boom in the VPN market at the moment and it is easy to appreciate why so many people are looking to use a virtual private network when you consider all the security issues attached to going online.

You will clearly want to protect your personal data from hackers and may also want to enjoy the freedom to access and browse sites with the degree of anonymity that comes with connecting via a VPN.

You are putting your trust in your chosen VPN provider to have adequate resources and protocols in place to provide a decent level of security. However, investing in the right hardware doesn’t come cheap and that can often mean a free VPN provider takes shortcuts, making them potentially unsafe to use.

A free VPN could infect your device

If you were tempted to download a free VPN for your Android device, for instance, some estimates suggest that as many as a third of free Android VPN contain malware.

All of a sudden your free VPN deal doesn’t look so good when you are subjected to a ransomware attack and have to spend money resolving the issue.

You are a sitting target for advertisers

Clearly, free VPN providers need to earn money somehow and the preferred route is often to let you have access to the network in return for watching some adverts and being subjected to pop-ups.

There have also been allegations of unacceptable privacy violations through the use of trackers that allow your provider to sell marketing data to a third party.

There might be times when you might be prepared to watch a few annoying ads to get something for free but if a free VPN offers this sort of deal you might want to think twice.

Problems watching your favorite shows

One of the reasons you might decide to use a VPN is because it gives you the chance to stream content that you might otherwise not have any access to if geographical constraints apply.

Being able to watch your favorite Netflix box set wherever you are in the world should be an option when you connect via a VPN but you might discover that a free VPN provider could be taking some of your bandwidth from you.

If you don’t mind interruptions to your viewing caused by buffering issues in return for a free VPN deal you are in the minority.

A lack of bandwidth is definitely a plausible reason why you might want to avoid using a free VPN service. When you also consider the potential security issues and the prospect of being subjected to loads of pop-ups, it doesn’t make the offer as appealing as you first thought.

The Best Safety Tips for Running an E-Commerce Business

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |E-Commerce|The Best Safety Tips for Running an E-Commerce BusinessAs a growing volume of retail transactions become ‘etail’ transactions, it’s becoming even more critical that your e-commerce business takes all necessary precautions to protect your business interests, your customers’ interests, and their data.

Here are some important safety tips you should bear in mind if you’re planning to launch an e-commerce business.

Online Security

Without a secure website, there is no e-commerce business that is safe. Not only does your website have to be user-friendly, attractive and built with shopping features for the user, it must be secure. If your website is ever hacked and your data is breached, this could mean a swift end for your business as consumers will no longer trust your brand when shopping online.

An e-commerce site should be hosted by a company who offer back-ups and are operational 24/7. Criminals don’t keep to office hours and neither should your web hosting service provider. A good web host will have maximum uptime and offer data protection and detection services that can quickly detect and fix malware or breaches.

Hypertext transfer protocol secure, or HTTPS, is the secure version of HTTP which is utilised for the secure movement of information on a network. Your e-commerce website should be hosted on HTTPS to avoid hackers gaining valuable information on your website.

Before you can move your website to HTTPS, you will need an SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificate. SSL is security technology which encrypts links between a website and an internet browser. An SSL certificate can be purchased, installed, activated and updated on your website. SSL certificates do expire so ensure you renew the SSL before the expiration.

Avoid the Fraud

Unfortunately, credit card fraud on e-commerce sites is quite common. To avoid being the victim of credit card fraud, make use of AVS or Address Verification Services, which compares billing addresses supplied by the consumer to the address registered by the bank for that consumer. Add technology that can detect IP or Internet Protocol addresses which may seem bogus in relation to the shipping information as an added security process.

Privacy Concerns

Ensure you use secure payment gateway platforms on your site which releases security patches and provides shipping method extensions for better privacy. Doing this alone is not enough as consumers must be reminded to shop responsibly and safely. Reminders to consumers, preferably through an automated system, to use strong passwords and to change them monthly is a great way to help your consumers protect themselves too.

Never store sensitive financial information such as credit card details on your website. Hackers are particularly fond of gaining this data to commit online crimes with. To avoid this extremely serious data breach, employ the process of Tokenisation. Tokenisation identifies, removes and encrypts the sensitive information for you, such as credit card information, to prevent hackers from gaining access to this data.

Insurance for Your Delivery Service

A growing number of bricks-and-mortar businesses are launching ecommerce solutions, enabling customers to place an order through their website and then have the product couriered to their home or office. While this is a great way for offline businesses to compete in an increasingly online retail environment, it does mean you will need to take out courier insurance alongside your online safety precautions.

Courier insurance can be found through a comparison site like Quotezone.co.uk, and will protect your delivery vehicle as well as the goods that are being transported. There are greater risks attached to courier vehicles because of the potential value of the goods they are transporting, and therefore it is essential to be adequately covered when delivering or collecting goods.


The final consideration to implement is the process of trademarking your company or brand name and logo. This will protect your website as well as your brand in the event of domain theft or duplication. Ensure your name and products are protected by trademarking them; often other companies will duplicate your entire site for profit and if you are not protected, you can lose your business. Ensure your copyright notice is clear and visible on your site and related documents.

Taking your business’s cybersecurity, insurance and brand name seriously will protect and safeguard your bottom line in the event of crime. Although the process of establishing an e-commerce website is relatively easy these days, the security and service you provide will set you apart from the competition and ensure your business thrives.

Increasing Trust: Engineering Autonomous Vehicles that Are Safe and Secure

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Increasing Trust: Engineering Autonomous Vehicles that Are Safe and SecureThe concept and aspiration for fully autonomous vehicles has been around for at least 40 years. The reality in 2019 depends on who you talk to; it’s either here today, a few years away, or a decade or more before they truly become mainstream.

The Society of Automotive Engineers has defined six levels of autonomy from level 0 – 5. While manufacturers have been working hard on the development of autonomous vehicles, the reality is that today the vast majority of vehicles for sale are only capable of providing level 2 assistance features. Level 2 automated driving is defined as systems that provide steering and brake/acceleration support, as well as lane centering and adaptive cruise control. The human at the wheel must be driving and constantly supervising the automated features. A few OEM’s in-market today have been working towards Level 3 & 4 automation, meaning the car can take over most driving functions , but the driver must still be able to intervene at any time.

For most automakers, in order to reach this goal, incremental technological and commodity changes will not be enough. Instead, to achieve the full road map of autonomy will require a transition to a complete automotive platform inclusive of AI-enabled microprocessors, software, new architectures and levels of performance to be deployed scalably.

Navigating the Path to Pervasive Autonomy

Because of the emphasis on commodity-based engineering, workflow in a typical OEM has a very long lead time and cycle. Worst case cycle times have ideas begin in the research factory maturing over several years leading to product engineering where they take around 3-4.5 years.

For these main reasons and many smaller ones, this approach is not scalable nor cost effective as we move into the 21st century.

One of the cornerstones of the new architecture is the concept of a layered software-based platform which allows for the addition and deletion of software defined capability in each layer (see below). This facilitates features to run as “applications” executed on top of the service platform like PC or mobile phone which provide the ability to change (extend or restrict) the performance.

The impact of these rationalization and transformation initiatives are providing significant value for the OEM as well as the end-consumer:

  • The amount of wiring can be reduced (cost)
  • This allows further weight reduction of the car
  • Increased performance and/or driving range (performance/emissions)
  • Reduce manufacturing cost and time.

The end-picture and future benchmark to consider is provided by Tesla. Through digital connectivity within the car an ultimate level of rationalization will bring cabling requirements from about 5 km of wiring today to 100 m in a Tesla Model Y.

Tesla also recognized early that hardware rationalization and connectivity capabilities outside of the vehicle system would be paramount to unlock and accelerate the uptake of the ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared Mega-Trends) trends, which would ultimately not only provide the revenue streams of the future but also leverage AI benefits across the different functionalities inside and outside of a vehicle.

The commercial confirmation and practical demonstration of this flexibility can be seen at Tesla where they have already established this software working environment and pushing new autonomous and AI benchmarks as announced in April 2019.

In a world of static automotive features, closed systems and changes made through recalls and other legacy methods, such an architecture is viable. However, to achieve the three automotive pillars of being safe, secure and smart, fully autonomous vehicles need to have a more open, integrated hardware and software systems architecture vs. siloed and disconnected. Autonomous vehicles must possess architectures that allow subsystems to work together to harness and exchange data in real-time to make intelligent decisions.
The sooner this transformation happens, the sooner Level 5 autonomous vehicles will become a reality.

Solution for Autonomous Driving

Wave Computing, for instance, offers a full range of SoC solutions designed specifically for the automotive industry. The company’s MIPS technology-based ISO-26262 certified processors enable OEMs to design, develop and scale their vehicle software architectures in a secure environment. The architecture includes hardware multithreading with support for up to four threads and the ability to run two instructions simultaneously during every clock cycle. And Wave Computing’s TritonAI 64 IP platform enables developers to address a wide range of automotive AI use cases with a single comprehensive platform, including optimized AI libraries.

Whether next year, five years or a decade, the dream of fully autonomous driving will become a reality. To fulfill that dream, however, automotive manufacturers must make major changes to their automotive architectures and supply chains. Transforming what was once a rigid hardware platform of siloed features and functions, to a fully systems-based software platform won’t happen overnight, but it’s a critical component to delivering Level 5 autonomous vehicles that are safe, secure and smart.

About the Author

Steve Brightfield, Senior Director of CPU and AI IP, MIPS Machines Div, Wave Computing. For more information, please visit www.wavecomp.ai.

Learn About Alarm System Technology

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Alarm System|Learn About Alarm System TechnologyNearly 70 percent of the homes in the United States don’t have a security system in place. Without a home security system, you are giving burglars an invitation to come in and steal whatever they want. Millions of home burglaries occur each year, which is why taking preventative measures to protect your home is important.

Learning about and investing in the latest alarm system technology is crucial. While this security technology will be expensive, it is definitely a great investment. The more you know about how to navigate the world of alarm system technology, the easier it will be for you to find the right elements for your residence.

Here are some of the things you need to know about alarm system technology.

Choosing a Smart Hub is Important

Do you already have a number of smart home devices in place? If so, being able to pair them with your new security system is a good idea. The only way to accomplish this is by investing in a smart hub. In essence, a smart hub acts as the centralized control system for your smart home. With this hub, you can control everything from your lights to your security system with the sound of your voice.

Instead of rushing out and buying the first smart hub you find, take some time to do a bit of research. Making sure the security hub in question is compatible with your devices and security system.

Monitoring is a Must For Modern Security Systems

One of the main goals you should have when having a security system installed is protecting your family and your possessions. If a burglary does occur, you want the authorities to be notified immediately. A security alarm will be useless if it is not being monitored, which is why working with a company like Alarm Grid to get this monitoring is so important.

A security system with monitoring will dial out to the authorities and the security company as soon as the alarm is tripped. This means that the burglars will be caught and brought to justice for robbing your home. The extra money you pay for this monitoring will be worth it considering how helpful it can be in the long run.StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Alarm System|Learn About Alarm System Technology

Choose a Security System You Can Easily Operate

When trying to find the right security system for your home, be sure to do your homework. Ideally, you want to choose a system that is easy to operate. If a system is hard to operate, the chances of mistakes happening will increase substantially.

Looking at the reviews a particular security system has can be helpful. With this information, you can start to narrow down the selection of systems at your disposal. Failing to do this type of research can lead to problems in the future.

Allow Professionals to Install Your New Security System

One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is trying to install their own security system. Rather than deal with the problems this can cause, you need to hire experienced professionals to help you out.

An Office Safety Checklist Everyone Needs

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Office Safety|An Office Safety Checklist Everyone NeedsAn office is a place which seems like it is super safe. There are no moving vehicles, no heights, and no moving machinery. However, like any other workplace, there are still safety issues which we face as office workers. Today we are going to share with you the essential safety guidelines that you need for your office this year.

Protect the body

The most important tips to consider are the ones which will directly help to keep you safe and protected all year long. Here are the top tips you need to follow to keep yourself safe at work:

  • Sit upright – There is nothing worse than slouching at your desk. We know it might be comfier at the time, but after some time it will hurt your back and can cause real health issues.
  • Look where you are going – This might seem obvious, but with most of us burying our heads in our phones, it is important to reiterate this fact. Look ahead at where you are going to avoid tripping over and having to contact social security disability lawyers for compensation for an injury.
  • Don’t run – ahhh, the old school adage. As kids, we thought out teachers were killjoys for saying this, but as a safety tip, it is paramount.
  • Hold the handrail – For some reason, a lot of us don’t bother holding the handrail when climbing up and down the stairs. It might seem unnecessary, but if you lose your footing you could seriously hurt yourself if you don’t hold on.
  • Get up and move – it is important now and again to stand up and move around. This will allow blood to circulate and reduces the risk of blood clots.

Equipment and Furniture

As well as us, the second most common reason for accidents at work is issues surrounding equipment and furniture in the office. It is important for us to take the chance to make the office safer in this regard:

  • Move cables – it is incredibly important if you are to stay safe in the office that there is no risk of falling over loose cables on the floor. When installing cables, there are many ways to keep them tidy and away from the open floor such as cable organisers and ties.
  • Try not to eat and drink – this is more of a risk for the computer itself than you, but when you eat and drink often at your desk, you run the risk of spilling food or drink onto your machine and breaking it.
  • Close your drawers – one simple thing you should always do is keep your drawers closed. This will make life a lot easier and will ensure that you are able to avoid walking into your drawers and hurting yourself.
  • Don’t store heavy items high up – This is an incredibly important one to consider. When storing your items in cupboards and drawers never store heavy items in high up places. This can be a huge risk if you try to take items down because if you lose your grip they could fall onto you and hurt you.

These handy safety tips will keep you happy and healthy in the office all year long.