Friday, September 18, 2020

Hard Drive Recovery Associates Offers Advice on How Not to Get Victimized by a Romance Trickster

Hard Drive Recovery Associates, a data recovery service company based in Irvine, California, has recently published a blog post on how avoid becoming a victim of a romance trickster. These tricksters make use of dating apps, websites, Facebook, and other social media apps to meet potential victims and interact with them and try to gain their trust. Once they have established a relationship, they will encourage a shift to a different form of communication, such as texting and email. They usually steal an attractive person’s identity to cause the would-be victim to fall in love with them and later on they may ask for money.

The article points out that there are some tell-tale signs of a potential romance trickster. First of all, they usually don’t agree to meet-ups, even if there doesn’t seem to be any inconvenience for them. Second, they often have physically attractive profiles and their English is not on the same level as a native speaker, although they may claim to have college degrees and to have traveled to many places around the world. They may also be reluctant to use video chats because they are likely to be using another person’s identity.

Love tricksters tend to make use of stock images of models, such as pictures of them posing with a particular product. One way to check if they are real is to ask for a family photo, which they will likely not be able to provide because the model they have been impersonating may not have such a photo publicly available.

It should also be noted that many romance tricksters have been shifting from the usual online dating platforms to apps that are apparently safe and neutral, such as Words with Friends and Google Hangouts. They do this because most people consider such apps to be wholesome and they will not be expecting to be contacted by someone who intends to trick them.

Meanwhile, Jack Edwards, a representative for Hard Drive Recovery Associates, says, “We hope that nobody falls victim to these unscrupulous activities, just like we hope for everyone to not be victimized by data recovery concerns. If you feel like you lost data, we can help you recover it.”

The company provides data recovery services to people who have lost valuable data for any reason and they want to get back those files. Loss of data is often caused by a hard drive failure, which can really make computer users worried because those files contain documents, pictures, and other content that are considered to be irreplaceable. Fortunately, Hard Drive Recovery Associates can help them avoid panicking or feeling stressed. More often than not, they are able to retrieve important business data, family pictures, business documents, and other important files from a failed hard drive.

They can offer data recovery services for hard drives for laptop computers, including external drives. External hard drives have been becoming ubiquitous because of the convenience that they offer. However, these drives tend to have a higher risk of failing, causing the data they contain to be inaccessible. For such a situation, Hard Drive Recovery Associates offers expedited 24-hour laptop pickup and delivery to customers. They can also provide data recovery services for Apple devices, such as the iMac, MacBooks, iPads, and even iPhones.

For businesses, they offer RAID and server data recovery solutions. Server technologies remain the dominant form of computer storage for enterprises, particularly with the rising popularity of cloud computing. Although servers and RAIDs have better ways to protect data, it is still possible for a server or RAID to fail. They offer a specialized 24-hour drop shipment program to allow businesses to get their server back and running as quickly as possible.

People who are searching for a data recovery services provider may want to visit the Hard Drive Recovery Associates website, or contact them through the telephone, or via email. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the week, but may have a different schedule for holidays.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

HDRA Explains How User Profiles Can Be Used To Improve Internet Browsing

Irvine, CA based Hard Drive Recovery Associates (HDRA) is taking new steps to educate their community on how they can improve their internet browsing experience by explaining the concept of ‘user profiles.’ While the company specializes in retrieving data lost to hard drive failure or damage, they also make it their mission to help the members of their community get more out of their computers and other digital devices.

“With how our internet lives almost depend on it, we may think we already know all there is to know about our web browser,” they state in a recent blog post, which can be found on their website. “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.”

User profiles are quite similar to user accounts, which HDRA’s readers may already be aware of if they share the device with other people. Profiles are tailored to their individual user in a similar manner to an account, but they work only at the browser level (which means that multiple user profiles can be set within a single browser if the Windows account is shared by several people, etc.). This may be more convenient for users who primarily rely on their computers for access to the internet and do not have many personal files stored locally on the device. Similarly, users may find it more convenient to simply switch user profiles on the browser instead of switching to an entirely different account each time they want to access the internet.

HDRA elaborates, “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 use 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.”

Crucially, however, this feature also allows a single user to have several profiles of their own, giving them the ability to tailor each to a specific purpose. HDRA suggests that users can have a dedicated work profile and personal profile, each of which offer a different browsing experience based on what the user wants to do. A work profile can be set to exclude all their personal social media accounts, for example, reducing distractions. On the other hand, a personal profile can eliminate all traces of work, allowing them to relax more thoroughly.

The blog post goes into further detail on how user profiles can be set on popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. Those who wish to learn more are welcome to read the full post on HDRA’s website. However, customers who have experienced data loss due to hard drive failure and other issues are advised to contact HDRA directly for assistance.

The company has years of experience rescuing data from storage media despite seemingly impossible circumstances. They have successfully recovered data from storage media that have undergone everything from minor mechanical failure to major water or fire damage. They believe there is always a solution to retrieve lost data, and they have been working on their customers’ behalf for the past 20 years.

More information can be found on their website. The company also encourages their customers to reach out to Jack Edwards of Hard Drive Recovery Associates in order to discuss any issues they are experiencing with their hard drives, particularly if they fear data loss. The company is always ready to help their community recover their valuable files, be they personal or commercial in nature.

Rolling in the Deep(fake)

In this era of fake news, it’s almost a given that you’ve come across videos like Jon Snow apologizing for the rather underwhelming finale episode of Game of Thrones, Mark Zuckerberg boasting of being the owner of people’s stolen data, and Steven Buscemi attending the Golden Globes wearing what people remember as Tilda Swinton’s gown. These videos have been our exposure to deepfake, the 21st century equivalent to photoshopped pictures. These videos are possible through artificial intelligence that produces fake images of events that have never happened. Most deepfakes have become tools for personalities to be embarrassed and have their reputations ruined, with some becoming effective in “fooling” unsuspecting viewers and in millennial-speak, “canceling” personalities.

Given how gullible we have all become to these fake videos, we need to inform ourselves of them lest we are fine with being unresisting victims. How they are made, how to know the difference between real and deepfake graphics, what the consequences of deepfake are, and possible solutions are some things we need to know. After all, there will come a time when technology becomes more common and accessible to just about everyone. When this time comes, deepfake will not only victimize celebrities and world-renowned personalities but even ordinary citizens like you and I. You definitely wouldn’t want to be left scratching your head when you fall target to a deepfake item.

What do you need to make a deepfake?

As of the moment, it takes a lot to produce deepfake. A standard laptop or desktop PC won’t do. You need a high-end desktop armed with professional-grade graphic cards and storage capacity. After all, one deepfake video alone may need a least 40,000 high definition pictures of the person you would like to be put in the video. HD photos are huge files that cloud storage is actually preferred. Fast computing power is also a must, or you will end up taking a month just to come up with a video that’s two minutes long. You also need tools and apps, which cost according to the quality of their outputs.

Right now, it’s actually not difficult to make deepfake videos, thanks to free apps and programs that allow even ordinary people to make them. Cost-free source codes and machine-learning algorithms are abundant online, and the only things you need to make yourself a video are time and materials.



Can you tell the difference?

Prior to 2019, when technology experts were asked how one can detect a deepfake, they will readily answer that it’s all in the eyes. Eyes in deepfake videos don’t naturally move, much less blink. After all, you can’t really see a lot of photos where a celebrity blinks or closes his or her eyes.  But then, deepfake technology is fast to provide solutions, so it was no sooner when the blinking weakness was revealed that a solution emerged.

It comes down to being super vigilant. Organizations can help by making sure employees undergo a thorough cybersecurity awareness programme that is updated frequently to inform them about the latest threats, and how to react.



Will deepfakes destroy the world?

Deepfakes are meant to embarrass, intimidate, and destabilize individuals. The best ones might send beloved celebrities into retirement or away from the limelight. Will it affect entire countries and societies? Not really, especially since a lot of countries have their own intelligence agencies that employ state-of-the-art security imaging systems. But deepfakes can definitely affect economic markets and voters, not to mention cause religious tension and other areas that are not directly under government control.

However, the ability to generate realistic simulations using artificial intelligence will, on the whole, be only a positive for humanity.



Is there a solution?

Artificial intelligence, which produces deepfakes, is also what can stop deepfakes. AI has also been proven to be effective in detecting deepfakes that feature celebrities because of millions of hours of available footage. Technology firms are now looking into how detection systems can spot deepfakes, whether or not they feature a known personality or not. There is also talk of having an online ledger system on a blockchain that will house original copies of videos, audio, and photos so that any file can be cross-checked for any manipulation.

In fact, the detection methods are similar enough to the methods used to make deepfakes that the research on detection inadvertently provides a roadmap for improving the fakes. Worse, the deepfake detection models themselves can be used directly in the deepfake generation process to improve their output.



On the other hand, if you are certain that you’ve become a victim of your laptop’s struggling hard drive, we’ll help you recover. If you would like to know more about hard drive errors and data recovery, read here:

Rolling in the Deep(fake) was first published on


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Getting Financially Fit Even During a Lockdown

While our ancestors have braved pandemics before and we have also had our fair share of crises and dealing with them, I do not think the world has faced a disaster of this magnitude. The various ways we cope with the COVID-19 calamity are quite pragmatic, as this is the first time we are facing problems like this. There is no blanket, one-size-fits-all solution yet, so we try to manage the best we can.  But then, there may be suggestions on how we can secure our survival that we can all try and apply. Thousands are losing their means of income with mass layoffs happening daily. Businesses have contracted, with some deciding to shut off permanently.  We can try and extend a hand to everyone in need of help, but before we can do that, we need to look out for ourselves as well. After all, if we are not that strong ad secure financially, how can we help others?

Thus, with still months (and even years, according to some) to go before we adopt a “new normal”, let us assess ourselves and see whether we can be confident with our state of fiscal being. That way, we can ease mental stress, focus our energies on the more important things such as keeping physically healthy, and be our full selves so we can possibly have something to give other people. Here are some ways we can be assured of strong financial health during this COVID-19 crisis.


Try to scrap unnecessary expenses

As you may already be working from home for the past weeks, if not months, try to do an inventory of your expenses since the lockdown started. See which areas you can cut down and calculate how much you can save. Be detailed down to the last cent. Remember, you should already have been saving on gas and transportation costs since you haven’t been using your car anywhere. But then, you might already have been using your savings to buy something online or add to the grocery budget. Set aside these savings instead of funneling them on things you don’t necessarily need.

There are ways to boost your saving skills while you’re stuck at home, though, to get your finances looking a little healthier (even if only to blow everything you have on holidays, pub trips, and fast food the second this is all over).



Get reminded of how important an emergency fund is

Remember when you were encouraged to set aside a portion of your income so that you can have something “for a rainy day’? Well, that rainy day is the present, with people losing jobs and getting their salaries cut. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start as soon as possible. Three to six months of what you usually earn a month would be best practice for an emergency fund. And if you have this fund already, congratulations! Just make sure you don’t spend your emergency fund on frivolous and unnecessary things.

An emergency fund forms the basis of financial security in any household. Having one has become even more important in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. In case you haven’t created one yet, you have little time to lose. This emergency, like others, has come unannounced and has the potential to disrupt your finances.



Get your budget game on

As you continue to meticulously list your expenses, you need to plan your finances as well. Categorize your expenses according to your basics that include food, utilities, rent or mortgage, and wants such as snacks, alcohol, subscriptions, and delivery services. You may consider trimming down the items on your “wants” category, especially if you don’t have an emergency fund and you don’t have incoming income in the near future.

Budgeting is essential, particularly at this moment. For the last decade, many have struggled from month to month and we often don’t know the full scope of what is going in and out of our accounts every day.



Hustle a side gig

You may still have a job, you may be anxious about how secure your job is, or you might not have a job anymore, but this lockdown presents the bet time for you to join the gig economy. Side jobs and part-time work opportunities abound during these times since almost all businesses are operating from home as well. If you know how to bake, get those muffins from the oven to your bank account.  Are you proficient in graphic design? Look into opportunities on social media and freelance websites. There’s no better time to monetize your skills and talents.

So, why not make the most of it and do something productive — like learning a new skill or taking on a new side hustle? Picking up a new side hustle can not only help you earn some extra dollars but also it could help drive away negativity to a certain extent during these troubled times. And, it always feels nice to do something productive, rather than sitting all day before the TV and mindlessly binge-watching whatever series you can get your hands on.


Now, if you have a damaged hard drive on your laptop, get help ASAP! Don’t let water damaged laptop or lost documents that you need to recover add to your problems in this already-stressful time. Read on to see how we can help:


Getting Financially Fit Even During a Lockdown Find more on: The Hard Drive Recovery Associates Blog


Monday, August 17, 2020

HDRA Helps Community Address Smartphone Issues

Irvine, CA based Hard Drive Recovery Associates is attempting to help their community avoid being scammed through their smartphones. The company is primarily known for their ability to recover data from hard drives and other forms of storage media, but they also share information on life in the digital age through the blog hosted on their website.

One of their most recent posts is titled ‘Don’t Be Scammed On Your Phone,’ and it explores how smartphone users can find themselves at risk of losing their money or even personal details to scammers. The article seeks to inform its readers how scammers can use certain vulnerabilities in their phones and other tricks to victimize them in this manner. By exposing these tricks and raising awareness in their community, however, HDRA hopes that their article will help readers identify when they are about to be scammed—following which they can extract themselves from this situation before any harm is committed.

smartphone recovery

“Phones these days are ubiquitous to the point that our lives are quite tied to them,” states the post. “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.”

The first term HDRA wants their community to be aware of is ‘phishing,’ which is a play on the word ‘fishing.’ It refers to situations where a scammer may pretend to be an official entity that the user trusts, such as a banking institution or even a social media platform, in order to obtain pieces of personal data that can help them access the user’s account for a variety of purposes.

The issue posed by a compromised bank account is obvious, as accidentally giving an attacker access to such an account will likely lead to money being stolen from it. However, social media accounts can also be used for many harmful purposes, such as spreading misinformation, harassing the user’s friends/family and so on. Hackers who have gained access to a victim’s social media accounts via phishing have even been known to hold them for ransom, requiring that the user pay a large fee before access is restored to them. Notably, it goes without saying that hackers attempting to hold an account to ransom should not be trusted. If a bank account is compromised, it should be reported to the bank immediately so the account can be frozen until access is restored. There is also no guarantee that a social media account will be returned if a ransom is paid.

HDRA’s post adds, “We usually associate the term ‘phishing’ with email, but crafty cybercriminals have expanded their activities to include instant messaging, browsing 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.” This type of phishing, using smartphones to gain information or access, has its own term as well: smishing. Instead of a scam email, recipients may receive an SMS message from an institution or entity they otherwise trust. HDRA uses the example of a message, supposedly sent by FedEx, that claims to allow the user to set delivery preferences by clicking on a link within the message. However, links delivered in this manner can be used to download harmful code to the user’s smartphone. It may be used to record all their data, uncover login details for all their online accounts and even encrypt all the user’s personal files in order to hold them for ransom.

More information can be found on HDRA’s blog, and the company urges their community to educate themselves on the dangers posed by phishing. They also welcome any inquiries regarding data lost due to failed/damaged hard drives and so on. Jack Edwards of Hard Drive Recovery Associates can be reached for further details as well, and the company is always ready to communicate with customers via their social media platforms.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What Will the New Normal Be Like?

We are indeed living in some of the most interesting times. There have been some events in the history of the human race that has changed the way we live, that is true, but these happenings took years to effect drastic changes. Wars raged on for years before affecting the entire world, whole continents used to be spared from medical pandemics. Now, COVID-19 has affected each and single country directly or indirectly. In a matter of weeks, the way we lived has changed. What is exciting and a bit scary is that months from now when we will eventually come out of our lockdowns and quarantines, there is a huge possibility that there will be no going back from the way we live only months ago.

The new normal as pundits have coined the period pos-COVID-19, will indeed be new and will be markedly different from how we used to do things in February. The COVD-19 pandemic is one for the history books – so devastatingly major that we humans may already define our lives as everything that happened pre-COVID and months from now, post-COVID. This can be both good and bad. The environment’s condition has improved, we now have a deeper appreciation for personal relationships, health has become a priority. But then, freedoms we used to take for granted such as mobility and assembly have been curtailed. The new normal does have pros and cons to it.

Our current lockdown situations are serving as a dry run for the major effects the COVID-19 will eventually impose on our lives after its reign. The question is, are you ready for this “new normal”? Here are some changes you need to be aware of now:

Commerce and the nature of work

Not only has this pandemic changed the nature of business and work, it has forced some of its facets to mature. COVID-19 has created a survival of the fittest scenario among commercial and work practices, and what remains will not only survive, but will compose what will be the “new normal.” And we realize that some of our pre-COVID habits are actually impractical and don’t make sense, so that’s good. After all, there’s really no need to constantly use the ATM and get cash, drive to a store to buy things, and use your cash to pay for your purchases when you can have anything delivered to your house. Why waste an hour of two to commute to work when you can finish everything at home and even extend your work hours for an hour or two?

So, perhaps the conversation that we should be having as a society isn’t about where we are going to work after the post-covid dust settles, it should be how we are going to work.



Healthcare gets the spotlight

Even before COVID-19 started wreaking havoc, the health sector has already been subject to huge structural pressures and undergoing rapid advances in technology. For one, the global population, particularly in Europe and East Asia is ageing, posing a major challenge to governments in ramping up efforts for elderly care and geriatric medicine. COVID-19 has been overwhelming healthcare facilities anew, not to mention presenting a new race for experts to produce a vaccine and medicine for it.

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic, treating sick patients flooding hospitals. At the same time, the outbreak has brought to a halt many of the most lucrative parts of the industry, such as surgeries and procedures, threatening the financial futures of hospitals and leading to pay cuts and furloughs for workers.



What are your priorities and where does the money go?

So, what happens to caring for people with other medical conditions? How will medical professionals in fields outside virology and pulmonology deal for their patients? Will the private sector step up and handle what the government cannot? Finally, will everyone, including and especially the government, recalibrate their spending habits and prioritize healthcare over other expenditures like food, leisure, and entertainment (for individuals and families) and education and defense (for governments)?

Households worried about their health and finances will save more and spend less. Companies will be less efficient and less global as they rearrange supply lines and bring production back to the U.S. to improve resiliency rather than to cut costs. Government involvement in the economy will be greater as officials place a premium on domestic supplies of medical equipment and other products deemed essential.



What happens to travel?

If there’s any sector that will be most adversely affected, it’s travel and tourism. Business and leisure travelers have been singled out as the primary cause of the COVID-19 pandemic and air travel has long been criticized for its poor environmental effects. With businesses opting to use video conferencing instead of sending people overseas and physical distancing being a commandment of the new norm, flights will skyrocket in costs, even if oil prices are at an all-time low. Leisure companies that serve the lockdown market and eventually, those who are more keen staying at home, will be the only ones that will survive.  Companies like Disney will have to find a way to invest in intangible services and away from brick-and-mortar assets that will continue to suffer losses in the foreseeable future.

Here, then, lies a bit of friction, and the Shanghai operations represent a bit of a microcosm of a larger issue. Disney’s earnings results this past quarter, as announced earlier in the week, showed the parks, experience and products segment at $5.5 billion in revenues, down 10 percent. That, of course, does not reflect the full impact from the pandemic. In the meantime, the company took a $1 billion hit to operating income due to the sales lost from the closures.



How about you? Are you ready for the new normal? If you need assistance with recovering your files you may have lost pre-COVID, we can certainly help you on that. Read on to see how we can aid you in your document recovery and hard drive challenges:

What Will the New Normal Be Like? Read more on: HDRA


Friday, August 7, 2020

Hard Drive Recovery Associates Offers Browser Tips in New Blog Post

Hard Drive Recovery Associates, a data recovery service company based in Irvine, California, has recently posted an article on their blog site that shows how to clean up cookies in a number of web browsers. While cookies are usually harmless, they tend to occupy space in the hard drive and if they are allowed to accumulate, the space they occupy may become substantial. Also, advertisers may use these cookies to show the user certain products or services on his or her social media and email accounts. The steps to take on cleaning up those cookies will depend on the browser being used. The article shows how to clear up cookies in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera. It also discusses how to use CCCleaner to eliminate files that the browser and apps create.

For Google Chrome, it is easy to delete cookies. It also allows the user to control the data that comes out while the user is browsing. The user can also specify which files should be blocked and which should be accepted. It should also be noted that Google Chrome will no longer use cookies in two years. And like most browsers, Chrome tracks the user’s browsing history but this can easily be cleared by going to the browser’s History menu.

Meanwhile, Firefox offers more options than Chrome on customizing the settings. The user can manage the cookies being generated by Firefox by clicking on its Cookie Quick Manager button on its toolbar. This offers options to the user on what to do with each and every cookie.

With Safari, the built-in web browser for the Mac computer, it stores only those cookies from visited websites. And it is a simple process to clear cookies. This can be done by clicking the “Clear History” button in the menu bar. As for Opera, a browser that based on Chrome, users may have to perform a slightly unique procedure in accessing the options for cookies.

With regards to CCCleaner, it is not a browser but it is a tool for clearing out the clutter that may have accumulated in the computer due to web browsers, including temporary files, history logs, and cookies that store information about the user.

Meanwhile, Jack Edwards, a spokesperson for Hard Drive Recovery Associates, says, “In the process of cleaning your laptop, you may have overdone it and also deleted files you shouldn’t have. Don’t worry, we have you covered! Talk to us and see what services we offer to help you recover those important files.”

Hard Drive Recovery Associates offers data recovery services to users who have suffered loss of data for whatever reason and they want to recover those precious files. Loss of data is often due to hard drive failure, which is one of the most difficult situations for any user to deal with. But with the services that they are offering, there would be no need for users to panic or feel stressed. Most of the time, they are able to recover business documents, accounting data, family pictures, and other important files from the hard drive.

They can offer data recovery services for external drives and hard drives for laptop computers. While the portability of external hard drives and laptops is something that many people desire, it also tends to increase the possibility of hard disk failures. Fortunately, Hard Drive Recovery Associates offers expedited 24-hour laptop pickup and delivery to customers.

Another important category is Mac data recovery. This includes not just the MacBooks and the iMacs but also the iPhones and iPads. They have gained the experience and the skills on how to recover data from these devices.

And finally, they also offer server and RAID data recovery solutions. Servers and RAIDs continue to be used by businesses and other organizations and these will require special knowledge and expertise to recover data from failed servers and RAIDs but the experts at Hard Drive Recovery Associates are capable of doing it.

Those who are interested in knowing more about the hard drive recovery services that can be provided by Hard Drive Recovery Associates may want to visit their website, or contact them on the telephone, or through email. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.