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Not all cameras and security equipment work the same way or offer the same capabilities. It’s thus very important for you to understand the options that are available at your disposal so that you can choose the one that works best for you.

The following article will help you learn all the things that you might need for protecting your house and office through security camera systems.

What is video surveillance and why do you need it

Video surveillance is anything that involves the installation of security cameras and other sensors to monitor the areas where you reside. With such a system installed, you can view the things that are going on in and outside your home or office, track where your pets might be, get alerts, detect movement at your premises, so that you and your belongings stay intact.

Even if that’s not the case, surveillance systems will help you track the thief or intruder from within your premises, so that the law enforcement agency can use that to catch them. An ideal video surveillance system includes cameras, motion detectors, alarms, sirens, key input devices, network equipments, and solar panels.

If you’re still unsure about whether you need security cameras at your place, the following are some reasons why you should buy one:

To stop break-ins and burglaries

To prevent theft by employees

To provide a definitive visual deterrent

To examine when you’re not around

To increase the security of people at your house/office

To have evidence of a crime

To identify passing vehicles and number plates

To alert you in case of environmental mishaps like fire, smoke, etc.

Determining your purpose – Indoors or outdoors

Most security cameras can be used both inside and out but if you have an idea of where you want to keep an eye on, you can find the equipment that suits you best. If you’re thinking of setting up surveillance, you first need to decide where the camera(s) goes.

Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor Security Camera

Indoor cameras are mainly installed at your home but if you need a sense of security at your workplace or want to keep an eye on your employees, you can set up one for your office. Indoor security cameras are generally cheaper than their outdoor counterparts and can be lightweight, smaller and less intrusive. Motion detection can be optional as it won’t be necessary for offices but could be a significant deal if you want to be alerted whenever there’s movement inside your house during the night or when you’re not at the premises.

A distinct feature for outdoor cameras is how it withstands internal conditions. If you want a security camera to be installed outdoors, it should be able to avoid damage from any type of weather, lighting condition and should be rugged enough to avoid being tampered with. There’ll be an IP (Ingress Protection) rating associated with an outdoor security camera that would determine how well it will resist dust and water.

To make it simple, we can say that all outdoor cameras can be installed indoors but not all indoor cameras can be used outdoors.

To be discreet or not to be

Besides choosing between indoor and outdoor cameras, you have to decide whether your camera should be discreet, which in simple terms means hidden or do you want it to be on display. Surveillance units, if hidden, can detect thieves, criminals, and intruders without them knowing and can serve you with evidence of the crime when needed.

Box cameras are one of the largest and most obvious security cameras and will serve the purpose of reminding people that they’re being monitored. While discreet cameras can offer evidence of a crime, non-discreet ones can prevent one from being committed by being a visual deterrent.

Key components

A surveillance system consists of a number of other materials that let it work properly.

Cameras

First and foremost, cameras are what make up most of the security setup. You can choose a range of cameras from different categories – indoor/outdoor; discreet/non-discreet; Infrared cameras; Dome cameras, Analogue cameras, IP cameras, HD cameras, Pro box cameras; Pan tilt zoom camera; and much more.

Base stations and range extenders

If cameras are the eyes of a security system, the base station is its brain. The device connects the camera to all the other sensors and components and then links them all back to the internet or the local network.

In addition to cellular connectivity, these device feature backup batteries and can be coupled with range extenders that can expand the connectivity range of the base station to a few more feet. Range extenders are needed in homes/offices that span across a space larger than a few hundred feet.

Besides a camera, you can install two types of sensors to your security system. Contact sensors can be installed to doors and windows to alert you when you’re opened or closed. Motion sensors will be able to detect the movement of people in a room and can be tweaked to not go off when a pet is moving around.

Key fobs

Some security systems come with key fobs that have buttons to arm or disarm security without needing to reach the base station.

Additional components

You can opt to get more components for your security system besides the basic ones that are listed above.

Environmental Alarms

These sensors can detect fire, water leaks, and other mishaps in order to prevent any damage to your property. Environmental alarms include leak sensors, freeze sensors, smoke sensors, carbon monoxide alarms, and alarm listeners inside the house that listen to these alarms.

Sirens

Sirens are a way to alert you of a mishap even if you’re away from your phone. Installing them could also notify your neighbors in case of an incident during which time you might be out of the premises.

Doorbell

Some security cameras are designed to work as a doorbell. You can use them to see, hear and speak to people who’re visiting your premises. Modern doorbells come with their own camera, mic and speaker combination for the outdoor unit and you can interact with the visitors through your phone, smart TV or PC with two-way audio.

Glass break sensors

As the name implies, these sensors look out for the sound of glass breaking like an intruder breaking a glass window to get into the house.

Panic buttons

While a majority of the things listed here will do the work of keeping you safe by itself, you can also install Panic buttons that will allow you to manually alert your neighbors or an emergency service about a mishap.

Understanding the type of cameras

Surveillance cameras in the current market can be distinguished in two different categories – quality and design. In most cases, a type in one category could match along with another in another category. In terms of quality, security cameras can be classified into Analog, HD or IP cameras. When it comes to design, you can buy anything from Infrared, Dome, Pro box, Pan tilt zoom, and hidden security cameras.

Analog, HD or IP cameras

If you wish to add more than a handful of cameras, you will require more DVRs to monitor the footage. Images and videos will have grains and will lack quality when being enlarged. Most analog cameras have a smaller field of view, meaning you will end up installing multiple cameras for the same area. The only plus point beside their price is that with the low image quality, you most likely wouldn’t end up using a major part of your network bandwidth during transmission.

HD cameras: HD cameras are relatively new offers a higher resolution picture, something in between analog and IP cameras. These cameras allow you to zoom in digitally and identify details like faces and number plates.

HD cameras allow you to get around the high price of an IP camera without compromising on video quality (at 1080p). This could also be an alternative for those who’re looking to upgrade their analog security system but don’t want to spend a fortune on getting IP security cameras.

IP cameras: Internet protocol or IP cameras can go beyond the 1080p resolution and offer the highest image and video quality. You can watch videos remotely from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. IP cameras also allow room for two-way communication and alerts when detecting suspicious activities.

In contrast to analog cameras, IP cameras connect to an NVR or Network video recorder unit but the same connection is also what powers it as well. There is no restriction to where cameras can be placed and the cameras also support digital zoom, object detection, motion sensing, and mobile alerts. Besides their expensive character, the only other dowsed to IP cameras is that they will take a toll on your bandwidth consumption.

Infrared, Dome, Pro box, Pan tilt zoom, and hidden cameras

Infrared (IR) security cameras: IR cameras can record color videos at high resolution at daylight and black and white videos during the night. The cameras are accompanied by infrared illuminators that allow the video to be captured in low light and no light conditions. The cameras are suitable for indoor and outdoor purposes since they can withstand warm and cold temperatures without the need for a protective housing.

Dome cameras: These are bulb-shaped cameras that are installed in the ceiling of a room so that they are harder to reach and be tampered with. They offer an additional layer of surveillance as the intruder will have a tough time figuring out where exactly the camera is being pointed.

Pro box cameras: These cameras are generally installed in public places like supermarkets, banks, and malls and offer high-quality video recording. You can change the lenses in these sets of cameras to enhance the field of view or to zoom in on a particular area. Box cameras are generally preferred where you need to obtain quality videos during daylight.

Pan tilt zoom cameras: As the name implies, these cameras can be tilted horizontally and vertically using DVR and a joystick. They can be coupled with software that helps it to monitor areas periodically using different presets. PTZ cameras come with zoom capabilities and can be used to get a full picture of a wider area without needing multiple cameras in the same place.

Hidden cameras: While they offer the highest degree of surveillance, you will not be protected by visual deterrent, meaning hidden cameras will not be able to prevent an incident from happening. However, these can be used in places where you don’t want others to know that there is a camera. Hidden cameras can be embedded in motion detectors, clocks, fake smoke detectors, signs, and water sprinklers.

Multiple areas and camera positions

Everyone’s security needs are different and thus the areas they should install their security systems will vary as well.

Exterior positions

Front door: A camera on the front door makes sure that everybody that comes in and out of your home is being monitored. For many, this could be their primary and the only camera they might need as it would allow you to see who’s at the door before you open it. Video doorbells are what could make the most out of this scenario as they will allow users to interact with visitors using two-way audio.

Ring Video Doorbell

Back door or side door: In homes that can be accessed through more than one entrances, you should also install cameras on the back and side doors of the house, as they’re equally vulnerable.

Driveway: To keep an eye on vehicles inside and outside your premises, you can install a security camera in your driveway, which could be exploited by anyone attempting to get in.

Garden: Installing a camera in your garden will look for anyone who’s surveying your house from out and will come in handy if you want to keep an eye on your kids and pets.

Interior positions

Kitchen and living room: You can place a camera in common areas inside the house like your kitchen and the living room which are the two places where everyone comes in and out.

Stairways and corridors: Besides your common areas, installing cameras on stairways and corridors will ensure that you’re alerted if someone’s moving around inside the house.

Power source

Security cameras, just like any other piece of electronic, need some source of power. Some get their juices through an external power source while others have power sources housed inside the unit.

Traditional Wireless

Traditional wireless cameras required external power sources and are thus connected with power cords that are plugged into the wall. While they’re easy to install in indoor and outdoor environments, they are susceptible to exploitation as anyone with a decent knowledge about surveillance will be able to cut off power from the camera and thus rendering it useless.

Wire-free Wireless

A growing number of security cameras are Wire-free Wireless, meaning their power source is untethered. Wire-free cameras are battery-powered with replaceable or rechargeable batteries that can be exchanged whenever the battery runs out. Some cameras come with solar panels attached to them which enable them to be recharged automatically using solar energy.

Connectivity

Wired cameras: Available in abundance, wired cameras often offer higher video quality than their wireless counterparts. They also offer a longer lifespan and doesn’t take a toll on your network bandwidth.

Wireless cameras: Modern security cameras are connected wirelessly to your home Wi-Fi network They transmit video footage to your router and can save them to the cloud periodically. They’re also easier to install as they require lesser cables and are often used for general surveillance and baby monitors.

Video quality

The quality of the video can be determined in resolution and frame rate. A higher resolution enables more details are visible from the videos while a high refresh rate ensures more frames have been capture in a minute so that you don’t miss a thing. Older analog cameras used to output videos at less than 480p quality while HD cameras got it up to 720 or 1080p streaming quality. High-end IP cameras can record and transmit videos beyond 1080p resolution with frame rates as high as 60fps.

Viewing capabilities

Field of view: This will determine how much you want your camera to see. While a camera with a smaller FOV will provide you with more details of a confined space, the one with a larger FOV will get you better visibility of a room or area. There are cameras in the market than go as wide as 180 degrees and 360 degrees.

Night vision: Most cameras will have some level of night vision with their specifications listed in terms of feet. Night vision enables these cameras to record and view your premises even when there’s no light or during the night. Till now, the security cameras with the furthest visibility are dome cameras that can reach up to 200 feet.

Motion sensing: Security cameras now also offer motion detection without needing additional equipment. You can buy one that is programmed to detect movement of people alone so that you’re not alerted when pets are moving around in the house or the leaves on the tree are moving because of a breeze.

Is audio important

Security cameras can help you catch a suspect, thief or intruder by recording videos and images. For added benefits, you can integrate audio into the system to hear what the perpetrator is up to. Modern security solutions include two-way audio so that you can interact with visitors and you can also control them using voice assistants.

Storage options

Whether you’re recording from your security camera on an occasional basis or continuously, you’ll need the means to store all the footage safely. Your choice of storage will affect which camera you should be buying, its power source and also its connectivity options.

DVR: As explained above, analog cameras save the footage into DVR systems with BNC connectors.

NVR: These systems are used to connect to IP cameras using a LAN cable.

Hard drives and memory cards: These are the most common way of storing recorded footage from a camera. Memory cards can be mounted on cameras that aren’t recording at high resolution as they lack large storage and transmit data slowly. Hard disks can record videos at higher resolution and are thus compatible with HD and IP cameras which record high-quality videos.

Cloud: Cameras that are connected to a WiFi network are often enabled with cloud storage. Some companies offer free viewability for a period of time while some let you store and play older footage for a pre-calculated sum. If you wish to economical, you should consider saving footage both locally and over the cloud, so that you won’t have to pay for viewing the footage when you want to.

Cross-platform support and Smart Home Integrations

A majority of security cameras that are available in the market can be controlled via an app on iOS or Android. Some companies also offer web versions of their apps so that users can view and monitor their homes and offices on their computers.

The apps or web apps are also quite a necessity when it comes to setting up security cameras for the first time. Apps can also be used to remotely view your premises when you’re out of town and are essential when interacting with visitors that can speak and listen to you.

Security systems these days have gained the ability to imitate and function like smart home hubs. They can be used to control smart bulbs, refrigerators, locks, smart TVs, and thermostats that are connected to the same WiFi network. You can choose to arm or disarm your security based on the status of your smart lock or trigger smart lighting when the camera senses movements around the house.

Buying with/without installation

Selecting a camera from your options is one thing but setting it up is equally important. For getting your surveillance system to work properly, you’ll have to connect it to all your network components, power source, storage, and other elements. If you’re using a simple camera with its own source of power (rechargeable or solar battery), things will be pretty easy to install as you’ll only need to mount the camera and then configure it to your home WiFi network.

If you’re purchasing a security camera on Amazon, you’ll notice that there are installation charges on some of the items as they require more than the usual amount of work to set up your security camera. If you have no prior knowledge of electronics or security camera, then you might want to opt for buying the product with the installation option selected.

Professional-monitoring vs Self-monitoring

If you think by setting up surveillance at your house or office, you’re good to go, then you’re wrong. The next step and probably the most important aspect of surveillance is monitoring. You can either opt for self-monitoring or professional monitoring.

Self-monitoring involves monitoring your system by yourself by constantly looking out for alerts on your smartphone and viewing footage from all of your cameras in the area.

With professional monitoring, you will be helped by a team of trained individuals who will be monitoring your system throughout the day and alert authorities if deemed necessary.

Professional monitoring comes with a monthly fee that the former doesn’t. Some self-monitoring systems can be bundled with on-demand monitoring as an optional feature, giving you a sense of freedom as well as protection when needed.

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How To Become A Network Security Engineer? A Simplified Guide

The following article includes a simplified guide on how to become a network security engineer

There is an ever-increasing demand for professionals in network security. According to the IT security non-profit ISC2, there is currently a workforce gap in the cybersecurity field of nearly 4.1 million workers, which would necessitate a 145 percent increase in the number of professionals (2.8 million) currently employed. Governments and businesses working to safeguard data assets face significant security risks as a result, and this highlights the need for increased cybersecurity professional education.

What are the Duties of a Network Security Engineer?

Accused of keeping up with the respectability of an association’s information, an organization security engineer consistently screens the organization for security breaks, completes mimicked assaults to recognize weaknesses, and creates security conventions to frustrate likely dangers. A network protection engineer manages infections, phishing assaults, spyware, deceptions, and other normal weaknesses.

Skills related to data security, such as installing firewalls and data encryption programs that safeguard sensitive information, are beneficial for those interested in becoming network security engineers.

Steps to Become a Network Security Engineer

Hopeful innovation experts can seek after an organization’s security engineer profession by making the accompanying strides.

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree:

Most situations in network security expect a four-year college education, ideally in a PC-related field, like software engineering or programming. For instance, graduates of management information system (MIS) programs have the opportunity to acquire knowledge about cutting-edge technologies and other topics that will help them succeed as network security engineers. A designated degree program, like web-based unhitched males in online protection, gives an immediate establishment in network security profession preparation.

Careers in network security can also be made possible with degrees from other fields. For instance, students can learn about the differences between public, private, and nonprofit businesses and organizations by enrolling in online business administration programs. Graduates may be able to apply their general knowledge to more specialized fields thanks to the foundational business knowledge they acquire. In addition, gaining an understanding of the various organizational structures can lead to a deeper comprehension of the various types of data generated by each structure and the differences in data protection requirements.

Step 2: Achieve a Master’s Degree:

Master’s degrees may be preferred by some employers because they can better prepare graduates for leadership positions. For example, graduates of an online master’s program in software development can build adaptable abilities that can be used in a range of job routes. The skills covered include enhancing and developing programming abilities; mastering cloud and database environments; and developing user-friendly interface designs. The educational program is colossal and exceptionally particular.

Step 3: Obtain Work-Based Experience:

Past schooling, hands-on experience, and the drive to propel one’s range of abilities go quite far toward catching everyone’s eye. One method for acquiring traction as an organization security engineer is to become conversant in related PC fields, for example, information systems administration and programming dialects.

Obtaining certification in network security skills, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional,

Taking the initiative to remain up to date on trends affecting large amounts of data, and

The qualities and abilities that are most suitable for careers in network security are: Technical network security engineer skills include the following:

Problem-solving abilities for swiftly identifying and resolving network flaws

Analytical skills for carefully examining computer systems and networks and identifying vulnerabilities

Detail-oriented approach avoids sneaky cyberattacks

Resourcefulness or ingenuity for anticipating security risks and implementing new ways to neutralize them

Problem-solving abilities for training coworkers and leaders on threats and protection protocols

Ability to test for, track, and detect threats

Infrastructure documentation and event reporting capabilities

Knowledge of cyber laws and compliance

The U.S. Department of Work Measurements projects a 32% development rate in network security designing vocations from 2023 to 2028. development in the field is driven by a more prominent comprehension of the significance of information security amid a consistent ascent in assaults, including enormous scope information breaks, portable malware assaults, and ransomware dangers to foundations going from regions to wellbeing associations.

Concerning pay, the field of organization security by and large rewards insight with a more significant salary. The following sliding pay scale for network security engineers has been confirmed by PayScale:

Work experience of one to four years: US$74,000

Experience ranging from five to nine years: US$88,000

Experience ranging from 10 to 19 years: US$103,000

Over 20 years of involvement: US$114,000 Obtaining education and training in network security may also open doors to higher-paying positions in the field, such as chief information security officer and lead software security engineer.

Imyfone Anyrecover: A Complete Solution For All Your Data Recovery Needs

Losing your data can be a nightmare. Whether it’s due to a corrupt software problem or accidental deletion, losing your precious data is never a good thing. The sad part is both macOS and Windows operating systems do not offer any way to recover data. Thankfully, there are third-party apps that let you recover lost data. One such app is iMyFone AnyRecover that lets you recover lost data on your PC and Mac. In this article, we will tell you why AnyRecover is a one-stop solution for all your data recovery needs.

Key Features

AnyRecover not only lets you recover data on your computer but also the lost data on external storage devices, including hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, and more. Also, AnyRecover can handle several data loss scenarios. So it doesn’t matter how you lost your data, AnyRecover can recover it back.

In this section, we are going to cover the main features of AnyRecover. I am going to use the Mac version of the app for this article. But since there is feature parity between Mac and Windows apps, whatever you read here will be applicable for both platforms. Okay, with that said, let us discuss the key features of AnyRecover, shall we?

1. Recover Data from Any Storage Device

As I briefly mentioned before, AnyRecover can help you recover data from any storage device. Whether you want to recover data from your PC’s or Mac’s internal hard drive or external storage devices like SD cards, USB flash drives, memory cards, or anything else, AnyRecover can handle it.

AnyRecover can recover lost data from any rewritable storage device. The software is also brand agnostic, so it doesn’t matter which brand storage device you are using. If your computer can read it, AnyRecover can recover lost data from it.

2. Supports More Than 1000 File Types

One area where most data recovery solutions fail is when it comes to recovering different file types. Most common data recovery apps on the market can only recover popular file formats for documents, photos, and videos. So, if the files are not in supported formats, they will not be able to recover those files. Well, that is not the case with AnyRecover.

AnyRecover supports the recovery of data for more than 1000 file types. So, no matter what kind of data you have lost, you can recover it. Here’s a small list of file types supported by AnyRecover. It should give you an idea about its versatility.

‌Documents: DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX, PDF, CWK, HTML/HTM, INDD, EPS, etc.

‌Graphics: JPG/JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF/TIF, BMP, PSD, CRW, CR2, NEF, ORF, RAF, SR2, MRW, DCR, WMF, DNG, ERF, RAW, etc.

‌Videos: AVI, MOV, MP4, M4V, WMV, 3GP, 3G2, MKV, ASF, FLV, SWF, MPG, RM/RMVB, MPEG, etc.

‌Audio Files: AIF/AIFF, M4A, MP3, WAV, WMA, APE, MID/MIDI, OGG, AAC, RealAudio, VQF, etc.

‌Emails: PST, DBX, EMLX, etc.(from Outlook, Outlook Express…)

‌Archive and Others: Archives (such as ZIP, RAR, SIT, ISO, etc.), EXE, HTML, SITX, etc.

As you can see, the software can recover almost any file type that you have. Whether it’s a document, photo, video, audio, or any other file, you can recover it using AnyRecover.

3. Supports Recovery of Data for Several Data Loss Scenarios

Not only that, but AnyRecover can also recover data lost in cases of damaged hard drive, partition formatting, system updates, virus attacks, OS reinstallation, and more. It even lets you create a bootable drive to boot up a crashed computer, thus allowing you to access and save the data inside.

4. High Recovery Rate

All these features will not amount to anything if the recovery rate of the software is low. Thankfully, AnyRecover shines in this regard. Thanks to its Deep Scanning feature, the app can dig out and recover almost all the lost data and files without any problem. I tested this app rigorously and used it to recover data after formatting my USB drive, emptying my trash, and permanently deleting several files. It recovered all the deleted data in all the cases.

5. Limit Scan to Required Folders and Drives

While AnyRecover’s unique algorithms enable it to scan at a fast rate, you will end up wasting time if you are scanning your entire PC or Mac every time you want to recover a lost file. That’s why I adore this specific feature of AnyRecover, as it lets me limit my scans to folders and drives I want.

When you launch the app, you will see a list of locations (as shown in the screenshot above) that you can choose. First, you have the Common Locations that include your Desktop and Trash. Then there’s your hard drive and partitions, external drives, and so on. When you scroll down to the bottom, you will see an option to ‘Specify a location’.

This will let you browse your Mac/PC and select specific folders. So, if you mistakenly delete a file from a folder or want to recover lost files from specific folders, you don’t have to scan your entire PC. Just point AnyRecover to the folder, and it will scan and recover your files in minutes, if not seconds.

User Interface and Ease of Use

Pricing and Availability

Having good data recovery software in your arsenal is always recommended. I don’t want to lose my important files, and any app that can help me recover them is priceless to me. And for all that it does, I believe AnyRecover offers a fair pricing strategy. There’s a free version that you can download to scan and preview the deleted files. The free version also allows you to recover three files. This is great as you can purchase the app only after making sure that the app can recover the required files.

The paid plans start at $49.95/month. But if I were you, I would either go for the 1-year plan that costs $59.95/year or the Lifetime plan that costs $79.95. Both of these plans make more financial sense. Note that this is the pricing for the Windows version of the software. The Mac version costs a little more with the monthly plan costing $59.95. The yearly and lifetime plans cost $79.95 and $89.95 respectively.

Check out AnyRecover

Recover Lost Data with Ease Using AnyRecover

Your Guide To Better Online Security In 2023

Many of us have spent almost two years acclimating to a more virtual world, but it can still be hard to stay vigilant about online privacy and security. Even if your digital habits haven’t changed much, every new communication platform, online account, and app comes with its own settings, new password requirements, and inherent risks. It can be, frankly, overwhelming.

Here at Popular Science, we understand the struggle and have dedicated a large portion of our coverage to helping you navigate the labyrinthine portfolio of profiles and cookie crumbs you’ve scattered across the web. As a gift to you, we’ve bundled together many of our most useful stories for quick access as we roll into the new year. You may have made other resolutions for 2023, but few will protect you as much as ensuring your security practices are up to snuff.

Secure your methods of communication

If you send texts, participate in video calls, or pretty much communicate in any way that’s not face-to-face or, say, through secret codes knitted into cozy scarves, your words could easily end up in the hands of anyone hoping to monitor or profit from the things you say. It’s important to guard against virtual eavesdroppers where you can.

To start, consider Signal, Telegram, or one of a handful of secure messaging apps—even iMessage conversations are end-to-end encrypted. We covered six excellent choices in early 2023 when WhatsApp announced it planned to share more user data with its parent company, Meta (formerly Facebook), and you should be able to find one that fits your needs. It’s worth noting that Facebook Messenger comes with E2E encryption, but you’ll have to turn it on yourself. You may also find it useful to send self-destructing messages on social media and other platforms.

One easily overlooked feature here is location sharing, which is available in various messaging apps but not restricted to them. It can be useful to help others understand where you are, perhaps for travel or safety reasons, but you likely don’t want to broadcast your location to the world. Take a minute to check where you could be sharing this information and confirm your location sharing settings are exactly what you want them to be.

Don’t think video calls are guaranteed to be safe either. Your words aren’t written down but they could be recorded, and many platforms come with supplementary chat functions. Before you join another virtual happy hour, take stock of your video call settings. Zoom, for example, offers E2E encryption, but it’s not enabled by default. Turn it on. Beyond that, we have a general guide for proper video call security etiquette.

And before we forget, if you’re sending or exchanging any particularly spicy photos with anyone, please take some time to learn how to do so safely.

Secure your online accounts

For a truly fresh start, just log out of everything. This will close any browsing sessions you forgot you left open and lock out anyone who may be snooping around on your Instagram account after you accidentally left it logged in on a university library computer last week. Get to them before they like a photo of your ex from 2024!

While you’re poking around in various account settings, keep an eye out for small but useful features that can improve your security and privacy. One, for example, is Hide My Email on Apple devices. You can use this recently expanded tool to generate burner email addresses whenever you need them, ensuring you won’t get spammed by long-deleted apps until the end of time.

Assess your passwords

We have two primary recommendations for password security: use two-factor authentication and a password manager. As indicated by its name, 2FA will ask for something other than your username and password before it grants access to an account. The second factor could be a code, a key, or a prompt sent to another device. And while you’ll need to set a master password to use a password manager, it’s much easier to remember one than dozens.

Whether you follow those suggestions or not, you should at least understand how to choose the safest possible passwords. If you’re a Safari or Google Chrome user, you’re in luck: those browsers will actually help you strengthen your login information. And you might not have considered it, but your Google search history might need its own password.

Check your apps’ permissions

Apps change often, and adjustments can fly under your radar during the year. It’s also easy to quickly tap “allow” while you’re trying to use an app without thinking of the ramifications. So if you’re lucky enough to have some time off in the near future, sit down and see what your apps are allowed to do—the process is fairly simple on both Apple and Android devices. While you’re at it, refresh your familiarity with your phone’s privacy settings.

If you want to dig deeper, you can take a little more time to see what, exactly, certain apps are sharing about you.

A Guide To The Command Line For Seo

Although not an essential skill, the proliferation of coding in SEO has had a fantastic impact on the speed at which tasks can be completed.

There are, however, some foundational skills that are well worth mastering before learning to code.

Doing so will enable you to feel far more confident once you begin your journey – and in some cases, you’ll find tasks are easier to accomplish using these approaches anyway!

In this guide, we’re taking a command line interface (CLI) crash course.

How Does the Command Line Help in SEO?

Using the command line for SEO can help you more easily:

Identify file structure when you want to manipulate data.

Verify status code when the site is using a service worker.

Split huge files into more manageable chunks.

Download or transfer data directly to a server.

Search for a specific string of characters in a large file.

Slice data by fields and output to a new file.

And a lot more you’ll learn about below.

Specifically, we’ll cover how to navigate a file system without relying on a Graphical User Interface (GUI), and how to create and modify files and directories, manipulate data, and even interact with the web.

You’ll learn the commands for:

Changing Directory

Listing Files

File

Making Directories

Moving Files & Directories

Removing Files & Directories

Touch

Copy

Head & Tail

Concatenate (Cat)

Word Count

Grep

Sort

Split

Cut

Stream Editor

Awk

Curl

Wget

Clear

What is the Command Line?

A command line interface – also known as a terminal, command prompt, or console – is a text-based interface that can be used to interact with a computer’s operating system (OS).

CLI’s predate the introduction of graphical interfaces. It’s a living relic of our not-so-distant past, when commands had to be typed out in order for you to navigate and activate a computer’s files.

Speed: A GUI is effectively a presentation layer that sits on top of a CLI to make things more user-friendly. Ultimately, this means that it will never be as fast, and performing tasks can take significantly longer.

Necessity: Sometimes it’s only possible to interact with a remote server via a CLI. The same is true for running scripts unless you go to the extra effort of creating a GUI.

Accessing the Command Line

The way in which you access the command line is heavily dependent on your operating system.

On Windows, command line is the command prompt and can be located by searching cmd in the navigation bar.

It’s important to note that Windows and Mac/Linux differ on many commands, both by name and functionality. This is because Mac and Linux are both UNIX-based operating systems, whereas Windows is… well… Windows.

We’ll be focusing on UNIX, as the command line is far more developed than the Windows equivalent (unless you use PowerShell) since Windows has always heavily focused on its GUI.

If you’re a Windows user, to follow along, you’ll need to either:

Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Install an emulator such as Git Bash or Cgywin.

The images in this post are all of Git Bash, which I’ve always used, but your mileage may vary.

What is the Difference Between the Command Line and Shell?

One final nuance worth explaining is the difference between the command line and shell.

A command line is essentially an interface that is used to send commands and display the output, whereas a shell is the interpreter that sits behind it and processes the commands.

UNIX has a range of different shells available, Bash being the most commonly used (and historically, also the default shell on macOS, until it was switched to Zsh in 2023 when Catalina was released).

Got it? Great, let’s dig in.

Note: Square brackets in the examples below signify a placeholder. They are not part of the commands.

Navigating Files & Directories

Loading up a non-Windows CLI for the first time can be intimidating. As well as being entirely text-based, it provides limited information on your current working directory — in other words, where you’re presently located.

To find this out, enter pwd (print working directory).

In my case, you can see my home directory – indicated by the tilde (~) – is /c/Users/WilliamN.BV.

To make running scripts and command line utilities easier, you’re best served storing files inside child directories within your home directory. This makes navigating to the files you require as easy as possible.

Changing Directory

Cd (change directory) is one of the most commonly used commands and is universal across both Windows and Unix operating systems.

To navigate to a directory within your current directory, simply type:

cd [directory]

To access a subdirectory that sits below this, input the file path:

cd [directory]/[sub-directory]

Need to go back to the directory you were previously in? Navigate to it using a hyphen:

cd -

Or go to your home directory by entering a tilde:

cd ~

On a UNIX based OS, the directory you are currently in is represented by a singular dot, so specifying cd . will run but do nothing.

Two dots, however, is representative of the parent directory and can be used to efficiently navigate to directories above your existing location.

Navigate to the directory above your current directory:

cd ..

Navigate two levels above your current directory:

cd ../../

Navigate to a directory within the directory above:

cd ../[directory]

As an example, I have a “Public” folder within /c/Users and can navigate to it by inputting cd ../Public.

One final thing to note is that directories with spaces in the path need to be escaped when using cd. The easiest way to achieve this is to wrap the folder in quotation marks or apostrophes.

cd 'my directory' Listing Files

So far, we’ve managed to work out where we are in our directory tree and navigate around it, but what if we don’t know where specific files and directories are located?

In those instances, we need to use the list command.

ls [directory]

The exact formatting will vary, depending on the command-line interpreter you’re using, but there is almost universally some differentiation for different file types.

As you can see in the image above, directories are blue in Git Bash and have a trailing slash.

List the contents of a subdirectory:

ls [directory]/[sub-directory]

List only directories in your current directory:

ls -d */

List the contents of a directory and its subdirectories:

ls *

List a specific type of file using pattern matching:

ls *.[file-extension] Options

Up to this point, we’ve gotten by with minimal optional argument usage, as the commands we’ve been running have been relatively simplistic.

But many commands, such as list, have numerous valuable options that can be specified to modify how a command functions.

The easiest way to find these out for a command is to type:

[command] --help

Useful options for ls include:

Show all hidden files (which feature a dot before the name):

ls -a

Display the size of files:

ls -s

Display files in the long listing format (file names, permissions, owner, size and time/date modified):

ls -l

Sort by file size:

ls -S

Sort by modification time:

ls -t

Sort by extension:

ls -X

It’s also possible to stack up options if you desire, either by combining these into a singular argument or specifying multiples.

For example, inputting either of the following will display files – including hidden files – in long listing format, sorted by size.

ls -aSl ls -a -S -l File

While ls in long listing format provides high-level information on individual files, it doesn’t provide detailed information about the file type.

This is where the file command comes in.

Find the human-readable type of a file:

file [file-name]

Find the file types for an entire folder:

file *

Find the file type for a specific extension:

file *.[file-extension]

Find the mime type for a file:

file -i [file-name]

A good SEO use case for the file command is identifying whether CSVs are in the expected format.

Opening and saving CSVs in Excel can cause havoc with special characters. By using file, it’s easy to establish whether files are encoded with UTF-8, ASCII, or something else.

It will also highlight the presence of any BOM characters, which can potentially invalidate a chúng tôi or disavow file!

Creating & Editing Making Directories

Continually swapping between a GUI and a text-based interface can be a pain. Thankfully, there’s a command for that, too.

Make a directory:

mkdir [new-directory]

Make multiple directories:

mkdir {one,two,three}

Make a parent directory and subdirectories:

mkdir –p directory/directory-2/directory-3

The -p option enables users to define a directory structure and will create any missing folders required to match it.

As an example, if we wanted to create a directory to download some compressed log files, a second directory for the uncompressed logs, and a third folder for Googlebot requests, we could run:

mkdir -p logs-new/uncompressed_logs/googlebot_requests

In the image above, Ls -R logs is used to display the created directory tree structure.

Moving Files & Directories

Move a file:

mv [file-name] [directory]

Rename file:

mv [file1] [file2]

Move multiple files:

mv [file-1] [file-2] [directory]

Move directory:

mv [directory-1] [directory-2]

Move files with a specific extension:

mv *.[file-extension] [directory]

Add the -i parameter to provide a prompt before overwriting an existing file, and -n to prevent a file being overwritten.

Shortcuts like the tilde and dot operators that we learned earlier can also be leveraged to move files and folders up the directory structure.

Removing Files & Directories

Very much the inverse of the move command is the remove command (rm), which is an easy one to remember because the syntax is almost identical.

A remove directory command (rmdir) also exists, but this isn’t especially helpful because it only works on empty directories.

Remove a file:

rm [file-name]

Remove multiple files:

rm [file-1] [file-2] [file-3]

Remove multiple files with a specific extension:

rm *.[file-extension]

Remove an empty directory:

 rm -d [directory]

Remove a non-empty directory and files:

rm -r [directory]

Again, the -i parameter can be specified to provide a prompt before removal on a per-file basis.

If three or more files are listed, -i will consolidate this down into one prompt.

Touch

The touch command can be used to modify timestamps and create empty files.

Create a new file without any content:

touch [file-name]

Update a files last accessed time:

touch -a [file-name]

Update a files last modified time:

touch -m [file-name]

Set a specific access and modification time:

touch -c -t YYDDHHMM [file-name]

Above is an example timestamp set to 22:59 on 15th December 2023.

Copy

On a UNIX CLI, the copy command (cp) is used solely to copy a file or directory from one place to another.

This is worth bearing in mind to those more familiar with the Windows command prompt, where the copy command can also be used to combine files.

Make a copy of a file:

cp [file-name] [new-file-name]

Copy file to directory:

cp [file-name] [directory-name]

Copy multiple files to directory:

cp [file-name] [another-file-name] [directory-name]

Copy all files to destination directory:

 cp -r [existing-directory] [new-directory]

Copy all files with a specific extension:

cp *.[file-extension] [directory-name]

Once again, -i can be used to provide a prompt before a file is overwritten, and -n can be used to prevent this entirely.

Displaying & Manipulating Head & Tail

Large files can take a long time to load when using a GUI – if they load at all…

This is where the head and tail commands come in, allowing you to preview the first – or last! – (n) rows of data.

It’s incredibly helpful if you’re about to undertake some form of data manipulation but are unsure how the file you are working with is structured.

Preview the beginning of a file:

head [file-name]

Preview the end of a file:

tail [file-name]

Both commands display 10 rows of data by default, which can be modified using the -n option.

head/tail -n 5 [file-name]

One nuance worth noting is that the tail command comes with a plus option, which prints data starting at a specific line rather than the end.

tail +5 [file-name] Cat

The cat command – short for concatenate – is used to read, combine and write files.

Print the contents of a file:

cat [file-name]

Concatenate multiple files into a combined file:

Combine multiple files with the same extension:

Concatenate two files without creating a new file:

A good SEO use case for the cat command is when you’re performing link research. Unless you’re using an API, this will entail downloading multiple exports, all of which will have the same format.

To combine, pop the exports in a folder and run a cat command with pattern matching on the extension.

Word Count

More than just a one-trick pony, the word count command also supports the counting of characters and, more importantly for SEO, lines.

Count the number of words in a file:

wc -w [file-name]

Count the number of characters in a file:

wc -m [file-name]

Count the number of lines in a file:

wc -l [file-name]

As a basic example, here’s how to count the number of CSV files in a directory:

Or count the number of lines in multiple files and list the combined total:

The above shows that a line count on a 73 million row dataset took < 20 seconds.

Grep

The grep command is used to perform a search for a specific string of characters. This is incredibly useful for SEO, where extracting data from large files is an almost daily occurrence. As an example, when parsing log files.

Extract every line that features a pattern (in this case Googlebot) from a file:

grep "Googlebot" [file-name]

Extract every line that features a pattern from multiple files with a specific extension:

grep "Googlebot" *.[file-extension]

Extract every line that features a pattern from multiple files with a specific extension and write it to a new file:

Due to the potential file sizes involved, logs are almost universally stored in one-day increments, so using pattern matching to perform a grep on multiple files is very much the norm.

Grep’s default behaviour in this instance is to prefix each line with the name of the file.

access.log-20240623:66.249.73.221 - - [22/Jun/2024:07:05:46 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 75339 "-" "Googlebot-Image/1.0" - request_time=24142

This information is totally irrelevant when performing log file analysis for SEO and can thankfully be removed by using the -h option.

Multiple pattern matches can be performed per line by using the pipe command. A good use case for this is when requests for multiple domains are stored in the same location, and you only want one.

Extract every line that features two patterns from multiple files with a specific extension and write it to a new file:

To count the occurrences of a pattern in a file, use the -c option. It’s worth bearing in mind that this will perform a count per file though, as with wc -l. To get the total matches across multiple files, combine with the cat command.

Extract every line that does not feature a pattern from a file:

grep -v "pattern" [file-name]

Extract every line that features a pattern from a file (case insensitive):

grep -i "pattern" [file-name]

Extract every line that features a pattern from a file using Regex:

grep -E "regex-pattern" [file-name] Sort

Of limited usage on its own, sort can be combined with other commands to sort the output alphabetically or numerically.

Order alphabetically and output to a new file:

Reverse the order and output to a new file:

Order numerically and output to a new file:

Order alphabetically on the n column (in this instance 3) and output to a new file:

Order using multiple columns and output to a new file:

Sort can also be used to remove duplicate lines:

Or stacked with word count to get a tally of unique lines within a file:

Split

Struggling to open something? The split command is perfect for separating huge files into more manageable chunks.

Split a file into smaller chunks (1000 lines by default):

split [file-name]

Split a file into smaller chunks with a specified number of lines:

split -l[number] [file-name]

Split a file into a given number of chunks:

split -n[number] file-name]

Split a file into smaller chunks with a specified file size:

split -b[bytes] [file-name]

Files can also be split based on kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes:

split -b 100K [file-name] split -b 10M [file-name] split -b 10G [file-name]

While the above commands will split a file, they will not automatically maintain the files extension. To do so, use the --additional-suffix option.

Here’s a more practical example of how to split a large CSV file into 100MB chunks using this option. In it, we’ve also specified the -d option and added a custom suffix. This means that the output files will follow a naming convention of ‘logs_[number]’, rather than alphabetic characters.

split -d -b 100M --additional-suffix=.csv chúng tôi logs_

When testing a script, it’s often helpful to grab a random data sample from a file. Unfortunately, the split command does not have an option for this. Instead, use shuf.

Cut

Cut allows you to access parts of the lines of an input file and output the data to a new file. Although it can also be used to slice by bytes and characters, the most useful application for SEO is slicing data by fields.

Slice file by field:

cut -f [number] [file-name]

Slice file by multiple fields:

cut -f [number-1],[number-2] [file-name]

Slice file by a range of fields:

cut -f [number-1]-[number-2] [file-name]

Slice file by a range of fields (from the selected number to the end of the line):

cut -f [number]- [file-name]

Cut slices using the tab delimiter by default, but this can be changed using the -d option (e.g. space):

cut -d " " -f [number] [file-name]

It’s also possible to stack multiple ranges together. To provide a more practical illustration, if you wanted to extract specific columns from multiple links files that share the same format:

Sed (Stream Editor)

The sed command can perform a range of useful text transformations, including filtering, find and replace, insertions and deletions.

View lines within the middle of a document (which isn’t supported by head and tail):

sed -n '[number-1],[number-2]p' [file-name]

Perform a find and replace and save the output:

Perform a find and replace save inplace:

sed -i 's/[find-text]/[replace-with]/g' [file-name]

Perform a find, replace with nothing and save the output:

Find and delete lines with a specific pattern, saving the output:

Find and delete blank lines (using Regex), saving the output:

Delete spaces at the end of lines of text and save the output:

Run multiple find and replaces on a file and save the output:

Awk

For really heavy-duty data manipulation using the command line, learn how to use awk. Awk is a scripting language in its own right, and is capable of a range of different transformations.

Count the unique values in a column:

Below shows count of status codes in a log file.

Perform a find and replace on a column and save the output:

awk -F '[delimiter]' '{ gsub("pattern", "new-pattern", $[column-number]) ; print}'

Filter rows down based on a column meeting a condition (greater than):

Filter rows down using pattern matching on a column (contains):

awk -F '[delimiter]' '$[column-number] ~ /[pattern]/' [file-name]

Count word frequency within a file:

awk 'BEGIN {FS="[^a-zA-Z]+" } { for (i=1; i<=NF; i++) words[tolower($i)]++ } END { for (i in words) print i, words[i] }' *

As you can see in the examples above, the syntax for an awk query is a bit more complex than what we’ve covered previously.

Awk supports many constructs from other programming languages, including if statements and loops, but if you’re more familiar with another language, this may be the complexity level at which it’s worth transitioning over.

That said, it’s always worth doing a quick search for an awk solution first.

Interacting With the Web Curl (Client URL)

Curl is a command line utility that allows users to download data from, or transfer data to, a server. This makes it incredibly useful for SEO, where we have to continually check status codes, headers and compare server and client-side HTML.

Get the contents of a URL:

curl [url]

Save the contents of a URL to a file:

curl -o [file-name] [url]

Download a list of URLs from a file:

 xargs -n 1 curl -O < [file-of-urls]

Use curl with the -I option to display only the headers and status code:

curl -I [url]

Curl -I is a great way to verify status codes when a site is using a service worker, which often conflict with browser extensions.

It’s also excellent for verifying if a CDN’s bot mitigation is causing issues when you’re attempting to crawl a site. If it is, you’ll almost certainly be served a 403 (Forbidden) status code.

To fully replicate a redirect tracing extension, enable follow redirects with the -L option:

curl -LI [url]

Get the contents of a URL using a custom user agent:

curl -A "User-Agent" [url]

Use a different request method with a custom header:

curl -X POST -H "Content-type: application/json" [url]

Test whether a URL supports a protocol (e.g. whether a site supports HTTP2, or a site on HTTP2 is backwards-compatible with HTTP/1.1):

Wget

Wget performs a similar function to curl but features recursive downloading, making it the better choice when transferring a larger number of files (or an entire website!).

Wget is included in most distributions automatically, but if you’re using GIT Bash, you’ll have to install it.

Download a file:

wget [url]

Download a list of URLs in a text file:

wget -i [file-name].txt

Download an entire website:

wget -r [url]

By default, wget will only download pages recursively up to five levels deep. Extend this using the -l option:

wget -r -l [number] [url]

Or, if you’re feeling brave, enable infinite recursion:

wget -r -l inf [url]

If you want to download a local copy of a site – with the links updated to reference the local versions – then use the mirror option instead:

wget -m [url]

You can also restrict the types of files downloaded. If, for instance, you only wanted JPGs:

wget -r -A jpg,jpeg [url]

Or wanted to download all images on a website to a single directory, including those on a CDN, ignoring the robots.txt:

wget -r -l inf -nd -H -p -A jpg,jpeg,png,gif -e robots=off [url] Cleaning Your Output

To finish things off, a bit of housekeeping is on order.

If you’ve been following along and trying out commands, the chances are that your command line is starting to look messy. Thankfully, clearing – or quitting! – the interface is very simple.

Clear the output of the command line:

clear

Exit the command line:

exit Taking Things Further

The above commands will have given you a good idea of the types of tasks you can accomplish using the command line, but this is really just a jumping-off point.

With the ability to chain commands together, the possibilities are virtually endless – especially if you start exploring Bash scripting.

To provide a few more ideas, you could:

Automate Screaming Frog.

Run web performance tests like Lighthouse in bulk.

Perform en-masse image compression.

Or publish a website using a JAMstack architecture.

Lastly, a degree of competency using the command line is essential when you begin coding.

It’s a skill you’ll use constantly when navigating to, and running, your scripts.

And with the popularity of Git repositories such as GitHub and Gitlab, I hope you’ll use it to contribute to projects and share your work with the world, as well!

More Resources:

Featured image: fatmawati achmad zaenuri/Shutterstock

Office 365 Smb Editions To Get A Makeover

Microsoft will revamp its Office 365 lineup for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), adding features, dropping prices and increasing the flexibility to mix and match them with Office 365 plans for enterprises and with stand-alone applications.

The changes are the result of feedback from partners and existing Office 365 customers, and are intended to make the Office 365 application suite more attractive to SMBs and easier to market for channel resellers, Microsoft said on Wednesday.

The new Office 365 plans, which Microsoft will discuss in more detail at next week’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington, D.C., will launch in October and over time replace the current Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business editions.

The same, but for less

The new Office 365 Business Premium is equivalent to the existing Midsize Business, but it costs less: $12.50 per user/month compared to $15 per user/month. It includes the full suite of Office productivity applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint one OneNote, as well as the cloud versions of the Office servers, including Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online.

Office 365 Business Premium also comes with 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user, Active Directory integration and Yammer Enterprise. It can be deployed to up to 300 users within a company.

At $12.50 per user/month, Office 365 Business Premium will not only be cheaper than Office 365 Midsize Business, but it will also cost the same as Office 365 Small Business Premium, while offering more features like Active Directory integration and a higher user cap—300 versus 25. Thus, Office 365 Business Premium will become a replacement for both Midsize Business and Small Business Premium.

Meanwhile, the new Office 365 Business Essentials will replace Office 365 Small Business. The new plan will cost the same—$5 per user/month—but it again lifts the maximum user ceiling from 25 to 300, and comes with additional features like the Active Directory integration. Like the plan it’s replacing, Office 365 Business Essentials comes with the server products—Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online—but not with the full-featured Office productivity applications, like Word and Excel.

A cheaper option, too

For customers who want only the suite of Office productivity applications and not the cloud servers, Microsoft is introducing a new plan called Office 365 Business that will offer a less expensive option to the existing Office 365 ProPlus.

Office 365 Business will cost $8.25 per user/month and will come with Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, but not with Access and Lync, which are included with Office 365 ProPlus, which costs $12 per user/month.

Another difference is that Office 365 Business is capped at 300 users, while Office 365 ProPlus can be rolled out to an unlimited number of users.

Both include 1TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage per user, the Office Online lightweight and Web-based version of Office and what Microsoft describes as “core” Excel BI (business intelligence) features.

Microsoft is also adding flexibility for customers that want to have some users on the SMB plans and some on the Enterprise plans.

Currently, Office 365 Small Business can be combined with Office 365 Small Business Premium, but not with Office 365 Midsize Business, the Office 365 Enterprise plans, or the stand-alone products, like Exchange Online. Office 365 Midsize Business can’t be combined with any other plan.

However, those rigid boundaries are coming down, so a company will be able to have different users on different plans, and even add products like Visio, Project and Dynamics CRM Online to some seats.

The three new plans will launch on October 1 of this year, but Microsoft is recommending that existing customers wait to switch until their next renewal date after October 1, 2024.

In the meantime, Microsoft will raise the user cap from 25 to 300 for Small Business and Small Business Premium customers, and lower the price of the Midsize Business plan from $15 per user/month to $12.50 per user/month.

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