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Series 3 – 2FA; How to Set Up Authy

series 3 2fa how to set up authy
2fa authy
Series 3 – 2FA; How to Set Up Authy 3

Strong passwords suffice? Think twice about it, as strong passwords don’t exist anymore – using 2FA is recommended (as observed in series 1 and 2). In simplest terms, it means to use an authenticating codes generator, where in series 2 recommends Authy. It is convenient, powerful, and compatible with all devices.

We have also discussed with the SMS based 2FA. Authy is a more civilized application that provides you with a better encrypted password option linking to your cloud, with an option to restore backup to your new phone. Authy is compatible with Google Authenticator, where you can scan the same code to Authy as well. Interestingly, some sites offer Authy-specific integrations as well.  

Is Authy handy?

Authy is simple and easy to use. You can download it from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Once installed, you need to fill the gaps, your phone number and your email address. Afterwards, you will receive a PIN on your number for confirmation. Congrats, Authy has been enabled on your device!

Simply visit 2FA setup page which is available on the account service of choice and QR code will be pulled up, just click the add button (on the bottom of Authy screen) and scan the QR code. The account will be needed to Authy. Open the Authy app and you can tap on the account you need a code for. 

There’s a copy paste option for your code on your device rather than typing. You can even add a protection pin (or Touch ID for an iOS) if you want to prevent individuals from accessing your phone, especially when you have signed in. You can go to settings and then to my account to protection PIN to enable it.

How to Back Up and Sync the Codes from Authy

Authy can create automatic encrypted backups of your data and store it on the servers – FYI, data is encrypted with the provided password. There is an option to skip this feature if you want to. However, if your phone is lost, you won’t be able to recover your codes using Google Authenticator app. This is why Authy works wonder.

Open Authy – then go to Settings and Accounts – ensure Authenticator Backups on the top screen and enable it.  For backup decryption, you will need a password link and you can access these codes while signing into your Authy account. Authy can sync codes on different devices, while offering code access on Chrome app on any computer.

There is an announcement to be made for a macOS beta app and a Window app. This information can be obtained on the download page of Authy. Syncing up your code between a phone and a tablet is your choice. If you want to add devices to your accounts, go to settings and then devices in authy option where you can toggle on the multi-device switch.

Pro-TIP: You can also create an encrypted backup password in the cloud, in order to access them in the future. The 2FA scheme for Authy is different and is only available for you to sign up. You can also make changes to your codes (for instance, removing or adding accounts) will be synced. The list of devices can be seen by tapping on settings > devices screen in Authy > remove/add devices.

Once you add the device you can head back to disable the multi device option in devices in authy in the settings section. Just to inform you, the multi feature sync feature will routinely function but the option to add more devices will be disabled. This actually combats the risks of adding devices via SMS. But if you are adding a new device you can toggle on this option and disable afterwards.

Please also note that if you have disabled this option you will need to sign in on your new device, as you won’t be able to continue with Authy if your phone was stolen, lost or damaged. You will need to re-enable the disabled multi-device feature. If you have Authy on a single device, you won’t be able to access codes and have an account recovery option, it may take 12 to 24 hours to get a response.

This is a start over option, this step will be reverted if you have your data backed up, you will get your codes afterwards. It is recommended by the Authy officials that adding more devices to your Authy account, while disabling the feature once the controlled devices are added to the Authy account. No one will gain access unless multi-device have been re-enabled.

This is beneficial as if you lose one of your added devices, you can remove it and add a new device instead. However, if you have a single device, you will still want to keep backups of code in case you lose your main device.

Conclusion

Privacy should never be compromised. EFANI understands how precious your privacy is and is aiming to provide a solution that not only prevents you from critical cyber threats like SIM swapping but to give you mental peace.

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Series 2 – How to move Your Google Authenticator to Your New Phone

series 2 how to move your google authenticator to your new phone
google authenticator
Series 2 – How to move Your Google Authenticator to Your New Phone 6

In series 1, we understand the concept of two-factor authentication which is undoubtedly a famous and handy security precaution for many individuals, but at the same time it is an additive anxiety that adds to more cyber threat vulnerabilities. Since, you must have upgraded your smartphones with the Google Authenticator changing cellular devices require manual migration of Google Authenticator to your new phone – as the codes do not migrate automatically.

Fast-Forward:

  • You can migrate Google Authenticator to your new upgraded device in order to obtain maximized security through two-step verification.
  • You have the option to set up Google two-step Authentication on your device in use.

Gratefully it is not that technical to move the codes obtained from the Google Authenticator from one device to the other one. However, admittedly, the process can be time taking and cumbersome for the few.

Brief history to traditional single password

Two-step authentication provides greater accounts check and balance for your accounts, unlike the convention single password method, as it requires “two steps” to get into your applications powered by Google.

Google Authenticator is a step forward to verify two-step codes before accessing your accounts, it’s an identity check to mitigate the risk of identity thefts.

Migration from older to newer phone

Since, you are an old user of Google Authenticator 2FA, you will require to move it from one phone to another. Here are some straightforward steps:

  1. Install the Google Authenticator app to your iPhone or Android device,
  2. Open Google’s webpage for two-step authentication on Mac browser and login, when you get in your account, you can see the option to “Move to a different phone,”
  3. Click on the move to a different phone and then click continue,
  4. You will be prompted to show a QR code displaying on your screen,
  5. You need to open your phone, not an older one but newer one, and follow the instructions shown on your screen. You can tap on the QR code of “scan a barcode,”
  6. A six-digit code pops up immediately after you successfully scan the barcode. The code is subject to revision every few minutes because of security concerns, please type the code on your desktop and then clicks “verify,”
  7. Congratulations, it is all set on your new device.

The whole premise of these actions were to retrieve codes only from authenticated or registered devices (especially those devices which are under your control), otherwise the value of the entire 2FA concept would be moot. The migration steps listed above would not have any issues IF you are jumping from one universe (iPhone) to another Galaxy – Android.

The steps were straightforward or plain easy, the only cumbersome part is to connect other applications to Google Authenticator, please migrate each application one-by-one. This is why we labeled this process as time consuming.

The point of concern here is that we perform such measures to secure ourselves from cyber threats, most notably – SIM cloning/hijacking/swapping or whatever you call it. Despite having 2FA, your phone is still vulnerable to SIM Swap so criminals can get into your accounts. Your current carrier will not protect you so switch to EFANI who are experts in preventing this attack. Make better choices and as a second resort you can use Authy with Efani as a blend of both make things easier.

With your new phone you can choose Efani – a new carrier with 60 days’ money-back guarantee and with Authy codes syncing across the device is convenient. You do not have this (flexible) sync option with Google Authenticator. Authy works as 2FA on multiple devices. The codes and the provided passwords are encrypted and the cloud system stores this data. This makes migration easier – offering a balance of convenience and security. We will be talking about syncing cloud codes in the next blog.

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Series 1 – All about 2FA (Two-Factor Authorization)

series 1 all about 2fa two factor authorization
2fa
Cloudways

2FA is a real thing. Passwords are frangible walls keeping unauthorized hackers far away from your accounts. Preserving our digital wallet containing hard-earned dollars is our keen concern in the 21st century. In response to these protective measures, 2FA is the most famous yet effective defense available.

What is 2FA?

Two-factor authorization is often shortened as 2FA and it is basically a security login that is required as a second “separate” factor beyond the password (as a second piece of information). So this independent piece of information is a code (which expires in a few minutes) and it is delivered by a device which is under your control – say, your mobile phone. This doesn’t mean it is an SMS generated code, it could be biometric, such as fingerprints.

Please note that you might have heard about interchangeable terms such as multi-factor authentication or two-step verification, but in this guide we will focus only on 2FA.

Why should you use 2FA?

In the modern world of cyber attacks, where the password breaches are more frequent on a larger base – and it continually takes place – your precious information is sold for minimal bucks and swapped in the dark web market (or hacker forums).

The motives of hackers could ideally be:

  • These attackers break into the source for entertainment or harassment;
  • Some for $$’s or payday (especially during virtual working environment – it is typically not a personal but financial attack);
  • In one of the rare circumstances, the targeted individual must be in the crosshairs.

Did you know?

Email accounts are most worthy, why? This is because your emails are the second source for your (potential) accounts recovery. Here’s how the mechanics work when your account is likely to fall for hijacking:

  • Your passwords are predictable, so most of the time intruders guess are successful;
  • These large-scale password breaches make things easier for trespassers. These attackers will use the script (that is available on dark web) to try to login. These hacked credentials are useful because they can be perused on multiple accounts.
  • Attackers are impersonators and crafty – they create fakes pages to trick aka phishing experiments. This indulges you and at some point they ask you to share your credentials. Let me explain in detail – grab a cup of tea/coffee/water. Bookmark it in the meantime. So the hackers will send you an email that could be in your spam/junk folder. This will come from a trusted source (for instance, Twitter). This will direct you to a credible website, but unfortunately “all that glitter is not gold” this website is under hacker’s control. This means you have to look closely at the sender field, or the login page URL. This is what we call phishing.
  • One of its forms is targeted phishing or spear phishing. It is important to understand that hackers always do their homework, especially when they have targeted someone. Your secured information is gathered from public records or your holy grail social media. This helps them create a brilliant pretext for the spear phishing email. Modern hackers are born impersonators (perhaps?), while they impersonate someone in order to direct you to a forged page (login). 

These regular phish-y emails disrupt the email services, where enabling of 2FA is deemed to be useful (especially for emails). Make sure to check if your favorite service works in liaison with Twofactorauth.org, where you can follow the handy instructions to Turn On 2FA.

A pretty handy option (both for user and hackers): SMS based 2FA

This is one of the painless ways to access your device, but it is as trustable as your network. This option is useless when you travel around the globe or where there are network issues. When you login to your account, you receive a “ping” on your device, containing a treasure i.e. a confirmation code which could expire if it remains unused. You need to enter the code when you’re prompted while logging in.

Illustration – One of the hackers convinced Verizon to redirect phone messages to a newer sim card on a remote device, this person is none other than Deray McKesson, BLM activist. The interception was made easy by enabling SMS based 2FA.

Did you notice that the password guess work was much of a pain as compared to SMS-based 2FA? Instead of hackers, looking for your physical device, they are looking for remote attacks of stealing your number instead, how? Tricking people is easy. Just in case, if you are wondering how the sim swap works, here is a guide for you: https://www.efani.com/blog/everything-about-sim-swap/

In order to turn on 2FA for Gmail, you have to click on the top right corner (account icon) which will give you an option to open my account, then you can click on sign-in & security, while signing into your Google you can click on two-step verification to get things started.

Punch in your seven digits’ number once your device has been registered. You have the option not to use your number, as you can remove it subsequently. For confirmation you will enter the code sent on your device. Now you can use SMS based 2FA.

Why SMS based 2FA is not too successful?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular method is the least secure. Wait a minute – what? Trust me, the juicy details won’t end here. SMS based 2FA has too many insecure vulnerabilities deprecating the SMS 2FA use. 

If you lose your device and your precious SMS-based 2FA is within it, this means you lost it all, especially when you do not have 2FA recovery codes, correct?

Indeed, therein lays the rub.

People can obtain these valuable short-lived codes in numerous ways (as listed in the next segment). Sim cloning makes it easier for hackers to obtain not your smart phone but your valuable connections, money (subverting SMS 2FA on crypto accounts) and even worse – blackmailing. SS7 phony protocol intercepts make things easier for the hacker who can get rid of all in a few seconds and hack YOU.

What is the better option?

Privacy is precious and costless. There are many options such as Authy, Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, etc. that works well with the temporary code generation. This is where multifactor authentication helps, where multiple authentication could be attached to web services. They work well without the network as well. These solutions cannot be easily intercepted either, unlike SMS based solutions.

In order to activate the authenticator app, you need to download it (per your choice). You have an option to select from Authy to Google authenticator or Duo Mobile. You can scroll down to the authenticator app, where you can click set-up on the 2-step verification page. If you want to register a new service, you will need to scan a barcode that displays on your screen.   

This doesn’t mean that multifactor authentication is an absolute answer but these could be entered into phony websites with the premise to steal your login details. We need to think ahead. 

Security keys

These are efficient USB based (physical options to attack with your device) used for account authentication. The most successful and popular (yet cheaper) one’s are Yubikey giving you a sense of security for 20 bucks only. In order to set Yubikey as an option, you first need to purchase it and scroll down to security keys where you can see an option to add a security key. You can rename your newly registered device and physically insert it to Yubikey to tap it when prompted.

NOTE – it is a little expensive to afford Type-C Yubikeys which are used for the Macbooks 2016 and beyond. For USB 2.0 and 3.o port holders, you have the option to use security keys with a Type-C USB adapter.

This is easy when you just have to attach your device or insert security key to the trusted device instead of typing regular codes. Their resistance to phishing attacks make them popular amongst all. Okay, so the problem is you will want to use Yubikeys for everything, but they cannot be used everywhere. These are used to login into Dropbox, Facebook, Google and major other browsers.

Bonus option – Backup codes

If, on a bad day, you lose your authenticator app or security key you have the option to use backup codes. You need to scroll down to backup (numeric) codes and click on set up. Keep these valuable codes.

You can also use a password generator for your accounts, as a second you can secure your deviceas well.  

Tip – EFANI

Since everything roams around sim swapping, every second, 3 Americans like you become a victim of cyber-criminals from across the world. Criminals are trading your personal information such as where you live, who you live or work with, your call and SMS records, and your family and relatives’ information. All of this is sold for as little as 20 cents. Criminals use your personal information to steal your number & get into your accounts to drain your finances, disrupt your business and destroy your reputation. We guarantee you protection against these criminals & back it with a $5M Insurance Policy. Our proprietary technology provides 11 layers of client-side integrity, privacy and authentication.

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How To Remove Bloatware from Android? (2020)

how to remove bloatware from android 2020
bloatware android
How To Remove Bloatware from Android? (2020) 11

Congratulations – for your new android phone. Is it in contract with any wireless provider or an OEM? If your answer is yes – this means it could be a home to preinstalled apps in your device. This process is known as bloatware, since most of the users won’t require it at all. The second issue here is that these are impossible or very difficult to uninstall, but we can still crack here. 

Brief background

Most of these unwanted apps come with no use but take precious space – at worst, worsening your device’s productivity and efficiency. It would have been nice if these apps were straightforward and “easy to uninstall”.

The issue is that it is really not stupidly easy to get rid of these bloatware – unless you have completely jettisoned or rooted the device. This guide won’t teach you how to root your device but will help you hide these apps from sight on unrooted devices.

Advice – please have a full backup of your device, and to use caution while deleting apps. Do not delete critical system applications, this will disrupt with a non-functioning phone.

What is a software bloatware?

The term software bloatware means that the preinstalled software on your device by carriers. These “value-added” applications are the revenue streamers for carriers as they need you to pay extra to use them.

The pre-installation is because of the contracts numerous carriers have with the manufacturers, leaving you with little to no choice to uninstall it. This bloatware often gets attention as bad reputation even though they are necessarily not malicious or bad.

How can I get rid of bloatware?

Don’t fret because you cannot get rid of them. Some of these bloatware can be uninstalled, but not deleted. We have options for you.

  1. You can disable bloatware on your device;
  2. Purchase device without bloatware

Let’s get into the details of both specified options.

Disable mobile bloatware apps

These bloatware disability steps are for devices running on Android 4.X and latest versions. The steps are as follows:

  1. Go to your device settings à you need to slide on the screen top and select icon with five squares “settings”
  2. Click on Apps and swipe right to highlight All at the top (to enter the app drawer)
  3. Simply scroll to the app you need to disable and tap on it, then Press disable
  4. When the warnings open, tap OK and once done, you can see the app removed from your home screen. This means it will not run in the background as well.

NOTE: You can also delete applications using the same steps but it will show you uninstall sign rather than deleting, you need to click YES or OK to the disclaimer and continue the process.

Purchase new devices without bloatware

If you are looking to upgrade your current device, you have the option to purchase a device free from bloatware. There are devices that can be purchased separately from carrier-interruptions, this means phones will won’t have carrier-specific or value added apps. 

Bonus – System app remover and root app delete (unique approach)

It is a free bloatware removal tool. This contains ads. You need to grant access to root your device when you open this app and categorize all apps you want to get rid of. Click on the uninstall button to remove the bloatware apps. The app will be contained in the recycle bin and you can restore them whenever needed. There is a unique approach offered by Root App Delete dealing with bloatware apps primarily. On the System Apps button, you will be given two options – Pro or Junior route. The Junior route of to hide or disable apps. The Pro route is to delete or completely remove these apps with no backups. It is advised to go for pro route as it is safe, but if you are virtually certain to delete an app (or more than one app) you can opt for the Pro route.

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The COVID-19 feature: Is there an unwelcome tracking application in your device?

the covid 19 feature is there an unwelcome tracking application in your device
covid apple application
Photograph – Apple

There has been a flood of new applications during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, one of the innovations (i.e. the Apple-Google Contact Tracing Plan) has called for privacy concerns and the newer exposure to COVID-19 logging is unsettling to many. However, other half of the world has discovered the tool has already been in place and has been used by the governments (as well as tech companies) to keep a track on people’s health.

What is this application Apple-Google Contact Tracing Plan all about?

Apple and Google rarely work together, however, because of this pandemic solely they formed a partnership enabling contact tracing API to limit the spread of coronavirus. Few misconceptions have limited the views of the “real rationale” for the development of such applications, these are presented in the next paragraph.

Let’s arrange the facts behind the pantomime:

  • Social media has created buzzing complaints from individuals that the update has not been authorized and has been updated without permission.
  • The “track and trace” rant took over the internet like a gazing fire. This application has been downloaded automatically under COVID-19 exposure notifications.

Facts: Privacy Nightmare or COVID-19 Panacea?

The claim that the application has been downloaded “on its own” is false and theExposure Notification API has been added to both devices – Android and iPhone. It is wrong to label this underlying developed technology as an application. In fact, this underlying technology has allowed the creation of a coronavirus tracking application which is needed by the health professionals.

Fast Forward: Google and Apple have also suggested to work on the creation of an environment that operates without the application need. They, however, are unclear of how it will work in the current capacity.

Learning point: Based on the fact, we have learned that neither Google nor Apple have uploaded the application without the explicit permission, ensuring that no automatic installation has taken place.

How can I turn on or off this update?

For Android: There is an entry in the settings section at the top of Android phone that states “COVID-19 exposure notifications.” Or you have to tap on Google and then onto the option COVID-19 Exposure Notifications. You will gradually see a lot of ways about how this tracking feature works. You will then see two settings that need your intervention to install the app compatible to your device. In other words, once you click it in your settings panel, you will be given an option that takes you to a screen detailing the need to install and finish the setting up to a level unless the activation to exposure notification has been made. One of the options is to delete the ID’s (random in nature) that your device has actually collected. The other salient feature is to turn off this feature entirely. The picture referenced below shows how the image looks in the Google Play Store section.

google application
The COVID-19 feature: Is there an unwelcome tracking application in your device? 17
google support
The COVID-19 feature: Is there an unwelcome tracking application in your device? 18

For the iPhone, this notably altered and improved the face recognition features, while fixing bugs. The settings can be installed by going to General > Software Update. Once the update has been done, the Face ID will promptly display your PIN in case of inability to recognize. Recently it has been an issue that Face ID keeps displaying PIN multiple times when it fails recognizing your face, especially when you are wearing masks in public.

apple google app
Apple/Google

This feature is also part of iOS 13.5 and you can find the feature by tapping on Settings > Privacy > Health > Covid-19 Exposure Logging. This provides you alert based on the recent (14-days based) contacts and based on these contacts there is a possibility that you could test positive for coronavirus. You can toggle this on or off. In order to get rid of the random IDs within your phone storage, you have to just click the Delete Exposure Log option, which can be seen at the bottom of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m concerned about my privacy; will it breach privacy concerns?

A.   There are privacy concerns, however, most countries are adopting this and are placing health concerns above privacy concerns. The concerns have been raised that the data must be limited to healthcare professionals/ agencies and anonymity has to be respected, yet protected, while using the information.

This statement is important – “Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” the companies (Google & Apple) said in an April joint statement announcing the partnership. “We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze.”

Will this application drain my battery?

A.   There are concerns that Bluetooth is not accurate and not everyone uses it. On the other hand, Bluetooth drains the battery. Location details can be fetched from other sources such as GPs and cell towers, other than Bluetooth. GPS is more accurate and gets down to (>5 and to 20 meters).

What do I have to do to keep this feature working on my device?

A.   You need to have your location and Bluetooth on for this tracking feature. Relax, your actual location is not tracked – the app has nothing to do with how many times you left your home or where in the world you are. The rationale of the app is to know which random ID your device came in contact with, that’s all.

How does the app work?

A.   God forbid, if you are tested positive, this application will record the information and send it to the server through rotating ID’s, this in turn will get other devices notified about the situation. Those who have been in contact with you will be notified via an alert. This will prevent the coronavirus spread as those individuals will start taking test and self-isolation precautions – therefore, ceasing its transmission.

As of now, we are not aware of the number of devices using this app and it varies state-to-state in the USA. For instance, Utah is not interested in the implementation of this collaborative framework and is looking to work on its own tracking app. The steps we have learned from this guide are:

  • We have the choice either to download the application or not,
  • If installed, you have the option to notify those you have been in close proximity to,
  • If you met someone who has contracted COVID-19, your phone will notify you accordingly, please note that this feature will not display the name of the individual who has been tested positive or which location they last visited, the alert is subject to your concern/ risk only,
  • No personal information identified will be accessed by Apple/ Google.
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How to Secure Your Important Voicemails? (2020)

how to secure your important voicemails 2020
voicemails
How to Secure Your Important Voicemails? (2020) 24

The preservation of voicemails could be emotionally important to you or have a scholastic value to it. Unfortunately, hackers could disrupt it with one SIM swap. In this quick guide, we will teach you on securing your important voicemails [indefinitely] on any device, either Android or iPhone.

Gone are the days of preserving valuable voicemails on a cassette tape. Since digital space occupied all medieval modes, securing voice mails is simply too precious – or perhaps, too important to delete.

This is inevitably important to secure a voicemail, and you can technically keep voicemail saved in your mailbox, but this is not a viable long-term option. There is an option that the voice mailboxes may fill up and the apps will automatically delete older messages. There are chances you could lose your valuable voicemails if you buy a new device, or swap to another carrier.

Saving voicemails on iPhone

Let’s start with iPhones. Apple provides certain ways of securing/ saving your voicemails and sharing them, as well.

voicemails on iphone
How to Secure Your Important Voicemails? (2020) 25

Pro Tip: You should enable your iCloud backup throughout.

NOTE: Sync your iPhone with iTunes for automatic backup of your Voice memos. This will backup it with your iTunes Library. This is only possible if syncing is ON, this way you can export files to Dropbox and other cloud storage services, like Google Drive and AirDrop.

  • Simply go to the phone app, and then Voicemail that is available on the far right bottom of your screen.
  • Tap on the voicemail you wish to save, after that click the share button (share button resembles an arrow that is pointing out of the box).
  • The sharing option gives you an option to share your Voicemail via Voice Memo, Messages, Mail, AirDrop.
  • Click on the Notes or Voice Memo, in order to save your voicemail. You have the option to access saved voicemails again in other apps and play it whenever you want to hear it. The apps will automatically backup, only if you have enabled iCloud backup.
  • In order to save the voicemail to your PC, desktop, or computer, you need to select AirDrop and then tap on your computer’s name, please note that the devices should be connected to the same network. After accepting AirDrop on your computer, you can proceed with saving your voicemail wherever you want.
  • If you want to send the voicemail to another individual, you can select the contact and send via Messages or Mail or AirDrop.

The procedure is different when it comes to visual voicemail from FaceTime. You have the option to save it from the Files app.

  • Open the file you want to store and tap select, file name and subsequently organize
  • Under “On My [name of device],” choose folder or you can tap o the folder icon with a “+” sign to create a new one.
  • Tap Copy and you’re welcome.

Saving Voicemails On Android

voicemails on android
How to Secure Your Important Voicemails? (2020) 26

There are numerous manufacturers who manufacture android phones, so saving voicemail would vary slightly. Here are some notable guidelines:

  • Open voicemail app, tap and hold the voicemail you want to save;
  • You can see save, export, archive option that appears in the menu;
  • Tap “OK” or “save” to save the voicemail in the selected storage location.
  • There are not all providers offering voicemail apps safety that is compatible with your android device. Some third-party applications will prompt the Voicemail saving option, while others will cost you a few bucks. For instance, Google voice gives you a featured option to send your voicemail via email as an MP3 option. To opt this, you will need to sign up for this service and enable the setting, the messages you received previously will be stored in some other manner. You can also use VoicemailSaver that costs $3.99 only, but it saves your voicemails even if your phone is stolen or broken. For cost-free options you can try InstaVoice or HulloMail.
  • There is another option to store your voicemails to HDD, SD cards and other physical storage like USB flash memory.

Retrieve Voicemails from an Older Phone

voicemails on older phones
How to Secure Your Important Voicemails? (2020) 27

There might be circumstances that you won’t be able to save your voicemail through your device (neither the apps you trust) and would require the intervention of a PC or desktop to save them. This option is available for both of your devices. You may require some software and equipment.

If you have your voicemails saved in a non-smart device, it is best to save them on your desktop device or your smartphone devices. You need to have a male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable that connects the device to your computer.

  • Download Audacity (audio recording program) to your PC, you can use something similar as well; Garageband is applicable if you use MAC.
  • Find out the headphone and microphone port on your old device.
  • Jack in your 3.5mm cable in your old device and the other corner into your computer jack.
  • If you prefer to use Audacity, you first need to:
  • Do change your source of recording to “Line-In mic
  • Furthermore, proceed with clicking on Edit>Preferences>Recording
  • Then click on software playthrough.
  • Open your voicemail service on your phone. Click the red button on audacity and put the speaker on the phone if you are recording it through mic. Audacity’s timeline will show you the captured audio.
  • You can use the editing tools of Audacity to trim and save it by clicking on file>export to the designated file you want to save it to.
  • Open your phone’s voicemail that you want to save, click record on your audio recording program and play message, stop the recording when the message is done.
  • Save your computer file to preserve it.

NOTE: The audio quality won’t be perfect, but the message will be saved forever.

Bottom line

Whatever you save on your device needs to be private unless someone has permission to go through your device, images, apps, and files. Unfortunately, the embedded settings structure isn’t secure or password-protected. It is advised to protect your device from any malware activities and protect your privacy.

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WiFi Calling – All You Need To Know in 2020

wifi calling all you need to know in 2020
wifi calling efani
WiFi Calling – All You Need To Know in 2020 30

As the name implies, WiFi calling allows your network to place calls over-the-internet. Yes, you heard it right! We all spend time within signal-blocked locations or where voice service is unavailable or weak, then only WiFi calling and texting can save our day. 

It’s clear that WiFi calling option replaces spotty cellular signal issues, but this isn’t where it ends – there is much more to it.

What is WiFi calling?

Just like your regular (traditional) calling, WiFi (audio and video) calling doesn’t rely on your carrier network, instead your carrier routes the option to call using a “reliable” internet/ WiFi network. The algorithms are plain simple, i.e. while calling your phone opts for the best networks (based on strongest WiFi signal in the room), and boom you hear the calling tune.

What does it cost?

It is not charged at all on the compatible devices. WiFi calls to US numbers are at no additional cost (FREE) even while travelling around the world. Carriers, therefore, found this substitute as a threat to their income and thus, they treat your WiFi calling just like a regular sim enabled call (in the US). This implies that, whatever fees and rates are applicable to your conventional calling, the similar case will be applicable to WiFi calls, which includes monthly allotment on an unlimited plan.

It is better to use it as international calling because there’s typically no overseas charge or roaming for sending texts or making calls to your valued one’s. There are numerous carrier calling plans available allowing free calling to Mexico and Canada. Mind you, you will still be charged an international rate for placing an international call while using your smartphone. Please note that WiFi calling is not yet supported in some countries like China, Singapore, Australia, Cuba, and India.

How to make a WiFi call?

Let’s learn about the prerequisites before. Previously, we’ve learnt the service region of this excellent service and cost scope. However, you’d still require some “stuff” here:

  •  Compatible devices – by this it means HD Voice1 capable when it catches your WiFi signals.
  • International long distance rates.
  • How to enable2 or activate WiFi calling on your device? [We will look into this, later.]
  • FYI, Efani offers WiFi calling plans with sim preventative benefits, it is never too late to take your privacy seriously.

This is where VoLTE (Voice over LTE) technology comes in. This technology comprises 4G LTE network, traditional voice networks wouldn’t provide natural sounding audio and clear.   

In order to enable Wi-Fi calling on your device on iPhones and Android are listed below:

iPhone Android
Grab your phone and while swishing on your home screen and tap Settings and then Phone Open settings and tap for connections,
You will find an option termed as WiFi Calling and enable it. You will see a Wi-Fi calling option there
You will see a screen pop up enable it, while you continue, read relevant information under Wi-Fi Calling Important Information, Once you tap it, you will read the information here and then “accept” it
Whilst you agree, tap in emergency address for verification i.e. 911 address, Enter your 911 address,
Once everything is done, keep it ON for Wi-Fi calling.   HURRAY!! It’s enabled. 🙂 Verify it and then click on done.     Here you go!

Roaming process

 Note: Devices Roaming On/Off

Device 1: Android

Wi-Fi calls derive from USA, even when you’re outside America.

  • Call to American number (except for 411 premium numbers),
  • Calls to numbers outside USA are billed as per international long distance plan.

From Home screen, you need to navigate to the Apps icon > (tap on settings) Advanced Calling

  • Since Android varies per manufacturer you need to navigate to settings and more and then advanced calling
  • Samsung devices are straightforward go to apps>settings>connections.
  • Once it is figured out, please click on WiFi calling and tap roaming [for Samsung OS and pie OS you need to choose Mobile Data or Wi-Fi]

You have two options now – either to choose from your preferred network provider or WiFi, whatever option you chose, tap save, but note that other networks may charge roaming depending on their fee structure.

Device 2: iPhone

Prerequisites:

  • Please ensure HD Voice and WiFi calling has been activated,
  • WiFi should be turned ON
  • On Home screen you need to search for settings and tap on cellular
  • For e-Sim individuals, opt for primary or secondary line then click on step 2
  • Tap WiFi calling (and toggle ON),
  • You can see WiFi Roaming switch option that you have to toggle on/off per your preference

Frequently Asked Questions

How much data does WiFi calling consume?

Generally, audio calling uses 1MB/data, on the other hand, 60 seconds video call consumes 8MB data on average. Please note that the actual usage depends on the minutes your audio/video calls take and may vary.

How to update an Emergency Address on my device?

For Android – Apps icon > Settings > Advanced Calling;

  • Oreo OD, Apps icon > Settings > Network and Internet > Mobile Data > Advanced > Advanced Calling,
  • Once you have opted for WiFi calling you will see an option to Update Current Emergency Address right below where you toggle the WiFi calling option,
  • Once the address has been updated you need to SAVE it.  

For iPhone – you need to tap On Home screen you need to search for settings and tap on cellular

  • For e-Sim individuals, opt for primary or secondary line then click on ”step 2
  • Tap WiFi calling (and toggle ON)
  • Okay, since you will find the option to update emergency address beneath toggling on the Wifi calling, you will need to make sure that it is correct, this means while you are transmitting the information the dispatcher gets the information you updated over the WiFi network and will need prompt validation, unless it is entered.
  • Once you proceed, you need to accept terms and conditions screen, click on radio button then continue
  • Press Home button (iPhone 8 and precedent models) OR swipe up on iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR.  

How much does it cost?

Fundamentally, it is not under any cost tag (FREE of charge) if it is for US numbers, irrespective of your location, however, some plans charge it within your existing plan as an opportunity cost of switching. Please note that 411 and other premium calls are not part of “free charge”. International calling while in the US or International Long Distance terms are used interchangeably which means billing applied to international WiFi calling. If you have an international rate plan already, you will be billed in accordance to those terms.

What will be the impact on WiFi calling if I keep changing locations?

You need to keep an updated address register whenever moving. If you call 911 outside your registered address zone, WiFi calling will use your registered or (approved or) updated address (refer to iPhone FAQ 2 for better understanding).

Can I call 911 outside the US?

No, you cannot WiFi call 911 outside the US. You will need to observe and reach out to local emergency services.

Will 911 use my registered address?

Yes, they will. 911 calls will use local service first even if your device is on Airplane mode or switched off. The registered address will be routed to when there’s no service and the user has enabled WiFi calling.

What are the demerits of WiFi calling 911?

If there is no registered address, the call will be routed to an emergency service provider who is in closer proximity. ISP will be under outage if they call 911 or may face congestion, leading to poor call quality.

Conclusion

Google Fi (formerly known as Project Fi), WhatsApp, Viber or Skype, all these mediums serve as Wi-Fi calling as they catch Wi-Fi to make calls. The carrier technology and Wi-Fi calling goes hand-in-hand. Point to notice is, the recent Distributed DOS attack would mean stringent action plans to combat rising cyber threats.

Despite all, make sure to read T&C’s thoroughly before agreeing and potential charges on your way.

Source
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Majority of Ghanaians see media as free of government interference (Correction)

A majority of Ghanaians say the country’s media is “somewhat free” or “completely free” of government censorship and interference, the most recent Afrobarometer survey shows.

Due to a coding error, survey findings on this question were reported incorrectly in a press release issued 3 May 2020, which has since been corrected.

Afrobarometer regrets the error. Comparing preliminary 2019 data from eight African countries, Ghana records the secondhighest perceived supply of media freedom.

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Lessons from COVID-19 in Africa: Crisis and opportunity

lessons from covid 19 in africa crisis and opportunity

Originally published in GovernanceLink, the African Union’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) newsletter.

Carolyn Logan is director of analysis for Afrobarometer. [email protected]. Twitter: @carolynjlogan.

Brian Howard is head of publications for Afrobarometer. [email protected]. Twitter: @twitbh1.

E. Gyimah-Boadi is board chairman and interim CEO of Afrobarometer. [email protected]. Twitter: @gyimahboadi.

Many African leaders have taken decisive steps to limit the effects of COVID-19 in their countries. They have also made a compelling case for why anything short of an ubuntu response – a truly global operationalization of the mantra that “we’re all in this together” – would not only be unethical but would also be doomed to failure (Ahmed 2020; Oladokun 2020).

It’s too early to know what COVID-19 will ultimately mean for Africa and the rest of the world. But it’s not too soon to collect insights, reminders, and warnings that the pandemic affords us, both to guide our response to the current crisis and to be better prepared for the next one.

Three preliminary “lessons” draw on the realities and views of ordinary Africans:

  1. Long-standing vulnerabilities are being magnified by the pandemic.
  2. Freedoms often taken for granted are being stress-tested by the pandemic.
  3. Listening and trust are essential but often scarce resources.

Long-standing vulnerabilities

Data collected from more than 45,800 survey respondents across 34 African countries during Afrobarometer Round 7 (2016/2018) highlights some of the vulnerabilities that Africans face as they confront the coronavirus. Hundreds of millions do not have access to clean water, making frequent handwashing and cleaning – a major prevention tool for COVID-19 – all but impossible. Almost four of every ten Africans (38%) went without clean water multiple times in the year preceding the survey, and more than one in five (22%) lack clean water frequently (Howard and Han 2020) (Figure 1).

Just as many (38%) report that they or someone in their family went without needed medical care in the previous 12 months; almost one in five (18%) did so frequently (Howard 2020).

Figure 1: Frequently going without medical care and clean water (%) | 34 African countries | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or anyone in your family: Gone without enough clean water for home use? Gone without medicines or medical treatment? (% who say “several times,” “many times,” or “always”)

Many African families also lack the economic resilience needed to weather a lockdown (Harrisberg 2020). Two-thirds (66%) of households report going without a cash income several/many times or always during the past year (Mattes 2020). Fewer than one-third say government efforts to improve living standards for the poor (31%) and ensure food security (32%) are effective (Bratton, Seekings, and Armah-Attoh, 2019).

Stress test for rights and freedoms

The pandemic presents risks that extend beyond the necessities of daily life. As African governments implement temporary restrictions that are necessary to protect their citizens from the coronavirus, concerns are also growing that unscrupulous regimes may take advantage of the crisis to roll back rights and freedoms on a more permanent basis. At a time when governments may have to postpone elections and ban public protests to avoid spreading the virus, reports are emerging of leaders using otherwise legitimate lockdowns to strengthen their hold on power (Allison 2020).

Fearing COVID-19, citizens may accept restrictions they would resist in ordinary times. When Afrobarometer asked respondents in 2016/2018 about their willingness to tolerate government-imposed limits on freedom of movement when public security is threatened, majorities said they would accept such a trade-off (Logan and Penar 2019) (Figure 2). As the pandemic progresses, citizens’ willingness to tolerate restrictions may well be tested. It is unclear whether the public will accept repression if harsh measures prove unsuccessful in protecting them from the virus’ health and economic effects. At the same time, opportunities for the people to voice grievances may be constrained.

Thus, while rapid international support is badly needed to respond to the pandemic in Africa, it is especially important during this crisis that development partners also insist that restrictions be time-limited and transparent, that media freedoms be assured, and that elections be protected or rescheduled in a timely way (UN Human Rights 2020; Freedom House 2020).

Figure 2: Support freedom of movement vs. government right to limit movement to protect security | 34 African countries | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: Which of the following statements is closest to your view?

Statement 1: Even if faced with threats to public security, people should be free to move about the country at any time of day or night.

Statement 2: When faced with threats to public security, the government should be able to impose curfews and set up special roadblocks to prevent people from moving around.

(% who “agree” or “agree very strongly” with each statement)

Listening and trust

Civic activists have been urging African governments to avoid inflexible, one-size-fits-all lockdown decrees. Governments must instead engage local communities in shaping adaptive, context-sensitive measures that accommodate the uniquely difficult circumstances many African communities face (De Waal 2020].

But developing effective local responses will require leaders to listen – not typically regarded as a strength of most governments in the region. Barely one in five Africans (22%) say that members of their local assembly try “often” or “always” to listen to ordinary people, and even fewer (16%) think national leaders such as members of Parliament do so. In only two of the 34 surveyed countries – Burkina Faso and Mali – do majorities (55% each) think that local leaders listen to them. In Morocco, not even one in ten (8%) agrees (Figure 3). Achieving the necessary collaboration will require that leaders unaccustomed to listening to citizen voices urgently commit themselves to more open and effective engagement.

Figure 3: Do leaders listen to people like you? (%) | 34 African countries | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: How much of the time do you think the following try their best to listen to what people like you have to say? (% who say “often” or “always”)

Governments may also face challenges in communicating their coronavirus messages to wary publics. Recent research in Guinea (Grossman 2020) confirms earlier findings from the 2014-16 West African Ebola epidemic (Jerving 2014) that trust in the messenger is critical, especially when it comes to transmitting health messages and inspiring citizens to participate in the response. In many communities, this means that neither national nor international leaders are the ideal conduits. In fact, many of Africa’s elected leaders face a trust deficit. Fewer than half (46%) of citizens trust their elected leaders, when we average trust in the president (52%), Parliament (43%), and local government council (43%) (Figure 4). But governments can and should call on other, more trusted leaders to boost their communication efforts. More than two-thirds (69%) of Africans trust their religious leaders, and a majority (57%) also trust traditional authorities. Engaging these leaders in campaigns to communicate with the public about their role in responding to the crisis may generate critical buy-in.

Figure 4: Trust in elected, traditional, and religious leaders (%) | 34 African countries* | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say? (% who says “somewhat” or “a lot.” *Note: The question about traditional leaders was not asked in Cabo Verde, Mauritius, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe.)

Learning lessons, early and often

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still in its relatively early stages in Africa, it is not too soon to learn from initial national and global responses, and to adapt where appropriate. Doing so could improve outcomes in ways that save lives and secure livelihoods while also better protecting Africans’ rights and freedoms. We have already witnessed the folly of trying to enforce social distancing by decree in vulnerable communities that have neither the space nor the household resources to make this approach viable. African governments must instead expand channels of communication, listen more to their people, and be significantly more responsive to their needs. Evidence suggests that they will be more effective if they also collaborate with leaders from outside of government who enjoy citizens’ trust, especially religious and traditional leaders.

Even governments with poor records of responsiveness and communication with their citizens would do well to recognize that their response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be an opportunity to re-boot. Engaging with citizens in open and receptive exchanges will not only critically strengthen their response to the current crisis, but also leave them better prepared to face the next one. Likewise, as the international community provides support to backstop these efforts, it should seek to do so in ways that foster and facilitate stronger relationships between African governments and their most vulnerable citizens.

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Global response to COVID-19 in Africa must protect lives, livelihoods, and freedoms

global response to covid 19 in africa must protect lives livelihoods and freedoms

Originally appeared on OECD Development Matters.

By E. Gyimah-Boadi, Board Chairman and interim CEO of Afrobarometer, and Carolyn Logan, Director of Analysis for Afrobarometer.

As COVID-19 gains a foothold on the continent, fears are growing that Africa’s fragile health-care systems and economies will provide little protection from the pandemic’s potential ravages. At the same time, trust in government institutions – one of the most critical resources needed to mount effective societal responses that depend on widespread public cooperation – is sorely lacking in many African countries. Concern is also growing that regimes that are either unscrupulous or desperate may take advantage of local fears and global pressures to place not just essential, temporary restrictions on public freedoms, but to roll back hard-won gains on a more permanent basis.

While citizens may be ill-equipped to speak or act in defense of their freedoms during an emerging crisis, perceptions that governments are abusing their powers and taking advantage of the situation could undermine public trust still further. Limiting the effects of the pandemic on Africa and saving lives requires an urgent global response. But the international community must also provide support in ways that strengthen, rather than undermine, Africans’ freedoms.

Manifest vulnerability

Data collected from more than 45,800 respondents across 34 African countries during Afrobarometer Round 7 (2016/2018) highlights some of the specific kinds of vulnerability that Africans face as they confront the COVID-19 threat. At the most basic level, hundreds of millions lack access to clean water for frequent handwashing and cleaning, a critical tool to limit the spread of the virus. Nearly four of every 10 Africans (38%) went without clean water multiple times in the past year, and more than one in five (22%) lack clean water frequently (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Frequently going without medical care and clean water (%) | 34 African countries | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or anyone in your family: Gone without enough clean water for home use? Gone without medicines or medical treatment?

Just as troubling, the same number (38%) say that they or someone in their family went without needed medical care in the past year, and nearly one in five (18%) did so frequently. Similar numbers (41%) live in areas with no easy access to a health clinic. And among the 61% of the population who say they had some kind of contact with a public health clinic in the past year, nearly half (45%) reported that it was difficult to obtain the medical services they needed. Even for those who succeed in accessing health care, weak capacity within the system is a widespread problem.

Many Africans are also economically vulnerable. As nearly all of the continent’s 54 countries go under coronavirus lockdown, survival for many may be threatened not only by COVID-19, but also by an inability to put food on the table. Traders and hawkers, retail workers, and unskilled manual laborers – who account for nearly one-third of survey respondents who reported an occupation – will be among the most vulnerable if lockdowns force them out of work.

A summary table here captures some of these vulnerabilities. All of the 34 surveyed countries have at least one point of vulnerability. Even Mauritius and Botswana, which score in the best-performing third on four indicators of health-care quality, are average or worse in terms of the numbers of people in vulnerable occupations. And the situation is far more dire elsewhere. Togo and Zimbabwe score in the middle or bottom category on all five indicators of vulnerability. And even in countries scoring in the top third, levels of vulnerability may still be very high (e.g. up to one in three citizens who went without water or medical care).

A trust deficit

Past epidemics such as the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa have highlighted the extent to which trust in government is a critical resource for securing the public cooperation necessary to overcome such crises. And initial evidence suggests that trust in government has helped countries like South Korea control the spread of the virus. Yet here, too, the signs for many African countries are troubling. Fewer than half (46%) of citizens trust their elected leaders, when we average trust in the president (52%), Parliament (43%), and local government council (43%) (Figure 2). One piece of potentially good news is that some of the countries facing the largest vulnerabilities in accessibility and quality of the health-care system, including Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe, enjoy some of the higher levels of trust in government, a welcome resource. And analysts have frequently noted that trust in other community leaders – especially traditional and religious leaders (trusted by 57% and 69%, respectively) – is typically more robust. Given the trust deficits they face, most African governments will do well to engage these leaders in their messaging about the public’s role in responding to the crisis.

Figure 2: Popular trust in government (%) | 34 African countries | 2016/2018

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Respondents were asked: How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say: The president? Parliament? Your local government council? (Figure shows national averages of responses to all three questions.)

Political gamesmanship

Unfortunately, governments that lack the capacity and moral authority to cooperatively engage their citizens in the COVID-19 response may instead resort to harsh coercive tactics. In recent weeks we have witnessed Kenyan police tear-gassing ferry riders before their curfew was even set to start, and South African police beating citizens with sjamboks and shooting at nurses in their efforts to enforce lockdown restrictions. While public cooperation with temporary restrictions is critical, violent enforcement will likely undermine trust even further. In contrast, governments in Botswana, Mauritius, and elsewhere have announced major investments in helping vulnerable citizens survive lockdowns.

Of perhaps even greater concern are the clear signs that some countries already edging toward more authoritarian governance may take advantage of the moment to impose greater restrictions intended to become permanent. Newly granted presidential powers, and new limits on public freedoms, may not be so easily be reversed. Concerns are rising as reports emerge of leaders using legitimate lockdowns, inspired by coronavirus, to strengthen their hold on power at a time when elections are inevitably delayed and opposition protests are necessarily banned. And fearing for their health and their lives, citizens may acquiesce. When Afrobarometer asked respondents in 2016/2018 about their willingness to tolerate state-imposed limits on freedom of movement when public security is threatened, majorities expressed a willingness to accept the trade-off. We don’t have data on how ordinary Africans perceive the threat of coronavirus, but as death tolls rise, the public’s willingness to tolerate restrictions, whether temporary or permanent, may well be tested. It is also unclear, however, whether citizens will continue to endure repression if harsh measures fail to contain health and economic crises.

International stand for health – and freedom

Many African countries will need international support and resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to minimize the loss of life and to protect and restore livelihoods. While time is short, and providing assistance shouldn’t be bogged down in complicated conditionality arrangements, donors must keep concerns about the potential political abuses of the pandemic on the radar. Both fear of COVID-19 and temporarily legitimate restrictions may limit African voices that would demand preservation of critical rights and freedoms. Donors can use their leverage to insist that restrictions be time-limited and transparent, that media freedoms be assured, and that elections be protected or rescheduled in a timely way.