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Better customer experience can turn travel searchers into bookers

plane smartphone

When people are booking travel, companies like travel agencies, hotel chains and airlines have an opportunity to gain a loyal customer.

But a new survey of more than 500 travelers from data science specialist Boxever suggests that the window to turn searchers into bookers and beat the competition is a narrow one.

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Electronic toys maker wants to blame parents for data breaches

finger point pointing accuse accusation

Electronic toys maker VTech has recently been a victim of a cyber-attack, which has seen the data of more than 6.3 million children exposed. The hackers got access to chat logs and photos.

Following the breach, VTech has updated its End User License Agreement, saying the company can’t provide a 100 percent guarantee that it won’t be hacked. It also shifts the responsibility back to the parents:

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Get your legs moving, Asics buys RunKeeper app

Runner

As a society we tend to put an emphasis on being physically fit. There may be more diet plans out there than there are people to follow them. But honestly, there's no substitute for a smart meal plan and exercise, nothing fancy is needed.

If you exercise then you're likely familiar with the name Asics, a popular manufacturer of running shoes and clothing. To keep it all in the family, the company has now purchased FitnessKeeper, maker of one of the top running apps available in the mobile space. The app can track more than just runs, though. It handles walking and cycling as well, using GPS to calculate distance and pace.

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Samsung Gear S2 Classic smartwatch now available in rose gold or platinum

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While Apple did not invent the smartwatch, it certainly pioneered the luxury-focused variants. Before the Apple Watch, many smartwatches were merely geeky extensions of smartphones -- now, they can be fashion statements (with premium prices).

Today, Samsung goes the luxury route too, with its Gear S2 Classic. The existing device is now being sold with beautiful 18k rose gold or platinum plating and genuine leather bands. Should you pay the premium?

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Best Windows apps this week

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One-hundred and sixty-seven in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows 8.x and Windows 10 in the past seven days.

Microsoft revealed information about the highly anticipated game Quantum Break this week. Initially thought to be an Xbox One exclusive, the company announced that it will also be made available for Windows 10 on the same day.

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Adblock Plus wants to know why you're blocking ads (!)

why

Adblock Plus has been in the headlines quite a lot recently. Adblocking is certainly popular, but the company needs to strike a balance between keeping users happy, and maintaining a good relationship with advertisers. The Acceptable Ads program is part of this, but at its second #CampDavid session there have been some further ideas about the future of adblocking.

There was talk about what should be viewed as an 'acceptable ad', and an Acceptable Ads Committee will oversee this. But the discussion between Adblock Plus and advertisers brought up an important question: just why do people install adblockers?

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Social engineering tops the hacking pops

Faceless cyber criminal hacker

Hackers are constantly seeking new ways to attack systems and gain insider access to data. A new survey from IT security company Balabit reveals the 10 most popular hacking methods to help companies understand how to protect themselves.

The survey of almost 500 IT security practitioners reveals that social engineering is the most popular means of attack. Hackers aim to get a 'low level' insider user account by means of phishing and escalate its privileges.

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ISP filters could be harming UK users’ love lives

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Content filters are supposed to protect you from bad stuff, but they can have unexpected side effects and block things you want to access.

As we approach Valentine's Day a new survey by UK broadband comparison site Broadband Genie has discovered that filters may be preventing Brits from finding love by blocking online dating sites.

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What makes Cryptowall 3.0 the most successful ransomware?

ransomware

Cryptowall 3.0 is the most successful ransomware of all time, a new report by security firm Imperva says. Ransomware is a type of malware which, once active on a device, encrypts all the data and demands payment from the victim, typically through Bitcoin.

In its report on the dangers of ransomware, and the impotent attitude of the FBI, which usually advises victims to pay the ransom, Imperva says Cryptowall 3.0 has caused $325 million (£225.7m) in damages so far.

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Cinemax makes its debut on Sling TV

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When Sling TV launched it already had a number of deals with major networks such as ESPN and CNN, bringing real-time TV viewing over an internet connection, and doing so for a reasonable price, especially compared to cable and satellite providers. There were also a number of add-on packages for such things as extra sports and news channels.

Last year, just in time for Game of Thrones, the service landed HBO, and now it has another prize in its lineup, one that may attract even more customers.

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Changing the date could permanently brick your iPhone

Dead Phone

There have been a few serious iPhone issues discovered recently. Some phones got bricked by the iOS 9 Slide to Upgrade bug, there was a website that instantly crashed browsers and rebooted iPhones, and -- most recently -- Error 53 bricked devices repaired by non-Apple technicians.

Now a new iPhone-bricking bug has reportedly been discovered. And I say reportedly, because I’m certainly not about to try it.

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Gmail now warns you if your emails are not TLS encrypted

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To celebrate Safer Internet Day the other day, Google gave away an extra 2GB of cloud storage to anyone who completed a simple security audit of their account. At the same time the company also introduced a couple of important security enhancements to Gmail.

The first change sees the appearance of a simple indicator that makes it clear when an email is received through, or is about to be sent through, a service that doesn’t support TLS encryption.  A broken padlock icon indicates that TLS encryption is not available, serving as a warning that there is the potential for the email in question to be dangerous or for the message to be intercepted.

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Mac tool vulnerability exposes lots of apps to man-in-the-middle attacks

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A security specialist has discovered a flaw in Sparkle, a third-party framework that Mac apps use to receive updates, which makes a man in the middle attack possible when unencrypted HTTP connections are used.

If the attacker has the ability to intercept the unencrypted data stream for example on a public Wi-Fi hotspot they could possibly inject malicious code.

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SourceForge pledges to clean up its downloader act

Trust

Likely just about everyone has installed software from SourceForge at some point in their computing history. In 2013, the software repository enabled a feature called DevShare which developers could opt-in to. This wrapped developer software in SourceForge’s own installer, which also, unfortunately, came with bundled junk  -- something many users might breeze right past during an installation.

But last month Sourceforge, along with Slashdot, was sold to BIZX and some changes are going to take place under the new ownership, and that means no more DevShare.

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Microsoft is slowly conquering Android

Victory Winner Free

Microsoft may not have a strong presence in the smartphone market as a vendor, but the software giant is trying to make a splash in a different way, by partnering with other players to make its mobile apps available on as many devices as possible. And it stands a very good chance of making serious inroads.

Microsoft has so far teamed up with 74 companies, in 25 countries, to ship its apps on their Android smartphones and tablets. The latest major player to partner with Microsoft is Acer, which will preload some of the software giant's most-prominent Android apps.

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