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ATM In Computer Networks: History And Basic Concepts

ATM, also known as Asynchronous Transfer Mode, is a telecommunication concept, developed for the data link layer, to carry all sorts of different kinds of data such as web traffic, voice, video, etc., while providing QoS (Quality of Service) at the same time.

History of ATM

Let’s have a look at why the concept of ATM was developed at first hand itself. In the 1990s, the mobile data carrier speed along with the internet speed saw a boom in the transfer rate. On the other hand, other internet technologies such as voice call and video calls had also started to come into the play. So, in a nutshell, it was not only the internet world but also the telephony world which were converging into each other. Thus networking QoS factors such as latency, jitter, data rate, real-time data delivery, etc., became more important.

Nonetheless, the underlying protocols were still the same across the most of the internet world including hardware, protocols, and software. On top of that, there was not any solid concept or technology which, on the telecommunication level, can address the then-lately arising issues at the same time. So, the ATM was born.

Basic ATM concepts

Here are some of the fundamental ATM concepts which are used most often:


The most basic data transfer units are called cells in the ATM technology. While on the data link layer the data transfer units are known as the frames, the data transfer unit for the ATM concepts was named cells. A cell size is 53 bytes, out of which 5 bytes will be header size and rest of the 48 bytes will be the payload. That means around 10% of the packet size is the header size.

For example, if we transfer 53 GB of data using the ATM technology out of 53 GB, 5 GB will be just the header. To process 5 GB per 53 GB, the processing technology has to be scalable and fast enough to do the job. Can you guess how does ATM address it? Otherwise, keep on reading…

Because of the fixed and smaller sizes (53 Bytes), it was easier to make simpler buffer hardware. But, there was a lot of overhead in sending small amounts of data. Moreover, there was segmentation and reassembly cost as well because of the higher share of the packet header and overhead in processing them.

ATM Layers

The whole ATM concept, just like the OSI system, was also divided into different layers. Each layer was assigned some work to do just like each layer of the OSI system did. We will describe the same later in the article.

Class of services

As discussed above, ATM was introduced to address the problem with the real-time data and data latency problem. A set of class of services was also introduced which were based on certain factors such as bit rate (whether constant or variable), timings (how strict the timing sync would be in between the source and destination) to facilitate users with different requirements, etc. The different class of services has also been mentioned ahead in the article.

Asynchronous Data Transfer

ATM uses Asynchronous data transfer while utilizing statistical multiplexing, unlike circuit-switched network where the bandwidth is wasted when there is no data transfer taking place.

Connection Type

However, it uses a connection-oriented network for data transfer mostly for the purpose of Quality of Services. ATM operates by setting up a connection with the destination using the first cell and the rest of the cells follow the first cell for the data delivery. That means, the order of the packets is guaranteed but not the delivery of the packets.

This connection is called virtual circuit. This means that from the source to the destination, a path has to be found first before the data transfer is initiated. Along the path, all the ATM switches (devices) allocate some resources for the connection based on the class of services which has been chosen by the user.

Transmission Medium

As mentioned before, the main purpose of introducing the ATM concept was to make all types of data transmission independent of a medium. That means, it could work on the telephony as well as on the internet working side as well. The transmission medium could be a CAT6 cable, a fiber cable, a WAN and even packaged inside payload of other carrier systems. With such flexibility of data transfer, ATM was supposed to give a quality service in the most of the cases.

Being independent of a medium also brought a lot of problems with the ATM technology, which were addressed at the convergence layer.

Some of the other interesting facts that arise out of the situations mentioned above are —

  • ATM can also work on CBR (Constant Bit Rate) as well as VBR (Variable bitrate) because it has flexible data transmission efficiency.

Quality of Service and Service categories in ATM:

Quality of Service in ATM technology is handled in different ways based on a certain number of criteria. Based upon it, different service categories have been introduced such as Available Bit rate, Unspecified Bit Rate, Constant Bit Rate, Variable Bit Rate, etc.

ATM Layers

Just like the OSI model, ATM protocol stack has also been divided into three layers with different assigned functionalities:

  • ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL)
    • Convergence Sublayer (CS) and,
    • Segmentation & Reassembly Sublayer (SAR)
  • ATM Layer and,
  • Physical Layer
    • Transmission Convergence Sublayer (TS) and,
    • Physical Medium Sublayer

ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL)

The main function of the adaptation layer is mapping apps to the ATM cells. If you are well aware of the different layer of the OSI system, then you can relate adaptation layer with the application layer of the OSI model.

Besides, the Adaptation layer is also responsible for segmentation of the data packets and reassembling them at the destination host.

Convergence sublayer

We have already seen that the ATM concept was introduced to handle different data types along with variable transmission rate. It is the convergence layer which is responsible for these features.

In easier terms, convergence layer is the layer on which different types of traffic such as voice, video, data, etc., converge.

Convergence layer offers different kinds of services to different applications such as voice, video, browsing, etc. Since different applications need different kinds of data transmission rate, convergence sublayer makes sure that these applications get what they need. A few examples of services offered by the convergence sublayer are here –

CBR (Constant Bit Rate)

CBR provides a guaranteed bandwidth and it is also suitable for real-time traffic. In the CBR mode, the user declares the required rate at the beginning of the connection set up. So, accordingly, the resources are set for the source at different hops or stations. Besides the declared required rate, the user is also guaranteed delay and delay variations.

ABR (Available Bit Rate)

Suitable for bursty traffic and getting feedback about the congestion. In ABR mode, the source relies very much on the network feedback. If bandwidth is available, then more data can be transferred. It helps in achieving maximum throughput with minimum loss.

UBR (Unspecified Bit Rate)

UBR is a cheaper and suitable solution for bursty traffic. In UBR transfer mode, the user does not specify the network about the kind of data and bitrate it is going to utilize.

Thus, the source sends the data packets whenever it wants. However, there are also certain disadvantages to it such as there is no feedback about the sent data packets. As a result, there is no guarantee that the packet will reach its destination. Also, if there is congestion in the network, then cells might be dropped as well.

VBR (Variable Bit Rate)

In the VBR mode, the user needs to declare the maximum and the average bit rate at the beginning. Also, VBR works in the real time as well as non-real time basis.

For example, VBR can be used for the real-time services such as video conferencing. On the other hand, it can also be used for the non-real time services as stored video buffering.

AAL Types & Services offered in details:

Here is a table of the services offered under different AAL types:

AAL Type,Traffic Characteristics
AAL 1,”Connection Oriented, Constant Bit Rate (Eg. Voice)”
AAL 2,”Connection Oriented, Variable Bit Rate (Eg. Packet Based Video)”
AAL 3 / AAL 4,”Connection Oriented, Variable Bit Rate (Eg. File Transfer), Connectionless Variable Bit Rate (LAN Data transfer applications such as frame relay)”
AAL 5,For Bursty Data with error control at the higher layer protocols

Segmentation and Reassembly Sublayer (SAR)

As the name suggests, SAR layer is responsible for segmenting higher layer data into 48 Bytes cells. At the receiving end, the same layer reassembles the data.

When ATM was created, it was envisioned that this technology will be scalable and would support very high speed. To achieve it, the cell size was kept of around 48 Bytes so that segmentation and reassembly could be done faster. Moreover, it also employes ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chip in the ATM switch to achieve this.

ATM Layer

  • ATM layer is akin to the network layer of the OSI layer although it also has the data link properties.
  • To set up a connection, the ATM layer uses Globally Unique Address. ATM does not IP system.
  • Path and circuit identifiers are used once a connection has been established.

Why did ATM technology not survive?

You have had enough about ATM technology and the question “Why did ATM technology not survive then even if it was so efficient and advanced?” must have crossed your mind till now.

Even though the ATM addressed a lot of issues and offered a la carte solution to the users need, there were a lot of other things that could not let ATM technology compete for a longer time. Here are some of the reasons:

The speed of the device operation:

Much of the ATM devices operated at a different speed than what we see around. For example, OC3 operated at around 155 Mbps and OC12 operated at 622 Mbps.

Costly & complex Hardware

Because both the telephony and the internet industries were involved, the standardization of this technology took too long. With the time, it also grew too complex, resulting in the sophisticated hardware which was too costly compared to normal computer networks devices around. For example, ATM switches were more expensive as compared to Ethernet switches which work at layer 2.

Non-IP based addressing system

Making the situation worse, most of the networking software and hardware available in the market were based on the IP-based networks but not on the ATM-based networks. So, in the market, not much software was available for ATM. Also, no one wanted to move to ATM by investing a lot of money in buying new hardware.


Last but not the least, there was too much delay involved in the standardization of the protocols. Also, many leading computer networks companies tried to come up with their proprietaries to influence the market.

Bringing all the companies and working groups (including research and study groups) from telephony as well the internet world delayed the whole standardization process.

Gradually with the time, because of the major issues mentioned above and other minor issues, ATM phased out of the market.

15 Smart Ways To Re-Purpose Your Old Android Smartphone And Give It A New Life

As modern technology keeps evolving, gadgets and services keep overwhelming us with new and exciting features. On an average, people upgrade their smartphone once every two years. So, what to do with the old phone when you get a shiny new one?

Selling is an option, but people often go for cheaper or mid-range devices rather than buying a used one at a lower price. Don’t just throw away your old Android phone. There are so many uses for your spare Android device that you might not be aware of. Just find the right way to tap into their potential and give them a new life. Here are some ways which might help you to put your old Android phone to good use.

15 ways to re-purpose your old Android smartphone

1. Universal Remote Controller

One of the best ways to use an old Smartphone is to serve it as a smart remote for your home or office. Many handsets have an infrared “blaster,” which will let it connect to the TVs, air conditioners, and other devices that use a remote control. Smartphones with IR blaster can communicate with any devices that receive commands via IR beams. The iPhone does not have an IR blaster.

If your phone has an IR blaster, then set up an app like Sure (free) or AnyMote-Smart Remote (free) that will allow you to issue the IR commands to your electronic device. However, if the phone does not have an IR blaster, you can either add it up to the phone with a third-party accessory which will cost you a little amount or you could even DIY it for cheap.

2. Computer Mouse

Remote-Mouse-iPhone-old-phoneWhen it comes to office or home usage, you can turn your old phone into a mouse and keyboard controller for your PC. All that needed is an app like PC Remote (free) or Unified Remote (free/paid) that you need to install on your Android phone and its companion Mac/Windows/Linux server program.

With such apps installed, you gain the flexibility to control your PC from any corner of a room via Wifi or Bluetooth. Moreover, some apps let you control your PC from anywhere in the world over the internet. You can use your outdated Android device for such remote administration applications.

3. Use Old Phone As Alarm clock

One of the cool uses of your old Android smartphone might be a bedside clock. A smartphone is capable of producing an excellent alarm sound to wake you up in the morning.

There are all sorts of alarm clock apps that do everything from playing specific radio station to recording your sleep patterns. Get yourself an excellent clock app from the Google Play Store, such as Timely (free) or Alarm Clock Xtreme (free). Also, you can buy yourself a cheap smartphone dock, and you’ve got a customizable alarm clock to set beside your bed.

4. Digital Photo Frame

You can quickly turn your old Android phone to a digital photo frame that can display photos or slideshows. A digital photo frame is just an electronic display where images are stored. All you need is a phone dock and a photo streaming app.

Various apps and tools are available for this purpose, just install an app like Google Photos (free) or Photo Slides (Photo Frame)” (free) and convert your device into a powerful photo frame. However, if you want something more suited for photo slideshows to display in the background while you’re doing something else around the house, then there’s the Dayframe (free) app for Android.

5. Use Old phone a Desk calendar

If you like a simple addition to your living room or your office desk, then turn your old Smartphone into a desk calendar.

Google Calendar app can get the job done. Sync your calendar events from your tablet or existing phone and have them show on your new modified desk calendar. Another calendar app, such as Cal Calendar (free) is also ideally suited for this purpose.

6. As a mounted GPS for your car

Take your old Android handset and convert it into a permanent in-car GPS. All you need is to grab a car phone mount, a car charger, and fix your phone in place permanently.

Load up your phone with navigational apps like Google Maps (free), Waze (free) or any other preferable offline apps such as CoPilot GPS (free) or Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps (free). Your in-car GPS will be ready with your desired downloaded maps, and you are all set to go.

7. Monitoring through live video feed

You can consider turning your old device into a security camera to keep an eye on your home, office, or anywhere you desire. Just install a security camera app like IP webcam (free) from the Google Play Store. The IP webcam can broadcast both locally and over a service called ‘Ivideon’ so that you can view your stream live from anywhere.

You can also use the camera to monitor a baby, kitty-cam or use it in on your front door.

8. As an e-reader

One of the good things about Android is all of the choices for reading apps. If you want to give your old Smartphone a lightweight job while it sees out its retirement, you can turn it into a dedicated e-reader.

An e-book reader is an ideal companion for the modern book lovers. All you need to do is load up your device with only the apps you need for reading, such as Google Play Books (free), Amazon Kindle (free) or any other app that you prefer. Disable notification from all the other apps and use other battery saving tips to get maximum screen-on time and enjoy!


9. Media Centre

Your old Android device, once connected to your home network and loaded up with your favorite music and movies, can be considered as a media center to stream content around your home. Just load up your collection on the device and install any of the standard apps, such as Kodi (free), MX Player (free) or VLC (free). Also, you can fill it with apps like Netflix and Hulu, and you are good to go.

You can also connect your phone to the TV using an MHL or HDMI cable so that it can be left tethered to your TV.

10. Kid-Friendly learning tool

An excellent alternative use for an old Android device is turning it into a kid-friendly learning device and dedicating the phone primarily to your child’s education. Just add a restricted user profile to your Android device, fill it up with fun and educational apps and give it to your kid to unlock his potentials and get in pace with this fast-moving world.

If your device has Android 7.0 or higher, you can try “Google Family Link” program to get more robust control over the phone, including abilities to set screen-time limits and receive weekly activity reports.

 Additional Uses of your old smartphone:

  • Your device can be used as a Wifi repeater by using apps like Netshare.
  • If you are a developer, you can use your spare Android for testing purposes.
  • Use your device as a fitness tracker by loading it with fitness tracking apps.
  • You can turn it into an online radio for your bedside table with apps like TuneIn Radio.
  • If you use your old Android as a car navigation device, you can also use it as a dashcam by installing an app like Autoboy Dash Cam.

Hackers Can Use Your Antivirus Software To Spread Malware

How do you safeguard your computer from malicious stuff, by using an antivirus software? But what if the protector of your digital friend can’t be trusted?

A new exploit called AVGator is created by an Austra-based security consultant named Florian Bogner. Many AV software provide functionality to quarantine files, but the users can restore the quarantined files whenever they want.

Using AVGator to mishandle the ‘restore from quarantine’ feature can allow a local user to gain full control of a computer. In normal cases, a user without admin privileges can’t perform write operations in “C:\Program Files or C:\Windows folders.

AVGator exploit to hack antivirus

AVGator allows the users to do so by abusing a Windows NTFS directory junctions. Thus, a user can restore quarantined malicious files to a new location, even sensitive ones such as the Program Files folder, and infect the system.

However, there is one major downside associated with the attack which reduces its scope to a great extent. It can only be performed by a user having physical access to a target machine. So, you can set aside your thoughts of abandoning your antivirus software. Afterall, they are all we have got to keep bad things out from our machines. But always keep your antivirus software updated to prevent it from any unknown threats.

Bogner informed various antivirus vendors whose products could be compromised using the AVGator exploit. Some of the manufacturers have already released a fix including Trend Micro, Emsisoft, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Zonealarm, and Ikarus.

Beware Of Fake WhatsApp Apps On Play Store — Millions Have Already Downloaded Them

Android and iOS ecosystems, when it comes to security, is the level of scrutiny applications need to face before being listed on their online app stores. While Google continues to keep taking steps like Play Protect to improve in this department, the Play Store is brimmed with fake apps.

On Play Store, there are tons of apps that whose developers are employing foul practices to gain downloads. One particular app, named “Update WhatsApp,” mimicked WhatsApp to trick users by making them believe that they were updating an existing application.

ifferent users on Reddit and Twitter pointed out that instead of being a chat app, Update WhatsApp was an ad-scrapper app that aimed to earn clicks and fraudulent revenue.

Later, according to Motherboard, the app’s developer changed its name to “Dual Whatsweb Update” and changed its icon. Further down the line, the app was removed from Google Play, and the developer account was suspended for violating the policies.

It’s very easy to fall for the fake app. The only difference between the name of the developer of a real and fake app is some Unicode character. While on a PC the difference becomes obvious, but the Android users become easy targets.

While this particular one app might have been removed from Play Store, a number of other apps continue to exist (see picture at the top). So, users are advised to be more cautious while downloading apps.

How To Backup Data In Windows 10 Using File History?

hort Bytes: File History is a data backup feature for Microsoft Windows operating system. You can use it to automatically backup files to external, internal or network connected storage and restore them at a later stage. It’s visible as an option in the Control Panel. File History was intended to be the successor to the Windows Backup and Restore utility.

With the ever-increasing collection of photos, music, videos, and other types of files on our computers, most of us are in constant fear. Our data might fall prey into the hands of some power outage, hard drive failure or some other error.

If we talk about the Windows operating system, one possible way to backup data is to copy all the important files to an external hard drive on a daily basis. That’s what many people do. Another one, for the lazy humans, is to use some software that saves the files to the external storage media or a network-connected storage on its own.

What is Windows File History?

Earlier Windows versions had an inbuilt data backup utility known as Backup And Restore. Later, a more advanced Windows backup utility came with the arrival of Windows 8, and it has been carried forward to Windows 10 also.

Microsoft wanted to replace Backup and Restore with File History. They even removed the former in Windows 8.1, but it reappeared in Windows 10 as Backup and Restore (Windows 7).

Also Read: Top 15 Best Free Data Recovery Software Of 2017

How does File History work in Windows 10?

File History does the same job of backing up files, but it follows a technique called Continous Data Backup which means the system can backup files in real-time. Similar to its older counterpart, File History supports incremental backups where successive copies of data only contain what has been changed since the last backup.

It can also save multiple iterations of the same file, thus, replacing the Windows feature called Previous Versions. So, it’s possible to restore an earlier version of a file quickly using File History.

How To Backup Data in Windows 10 Using File History?

Saving your files and folders to an external media with the help of the File History is a relatively simple task which involves a couple of clicks. You can start with an empty USB drive if your data is less, or a hard disk if you have loads of photos and videos to backup. Make sure it’s formatted according to the NTFS file system.

Follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Connect the external storage media to your computer.
  2. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup.
    1. FH1 Windows File History
    2. There you’ll find the option to turn on the file history feature.
    3. Click Add a drive. Select the media with which you want to use the File History feature.
      FH2 Windows File History
    4. Once you click the name of the storage media, File History will start saving data on your hard drive.
      FH3 Windows File History

    During the initial setup, it’ll take some time depending on the amount data to be copied. File History will continue to do its work until you manually turn it off (Don’t do it while it’s running for the first time). It’ll backup files and folders from predefined locations in Windows after the specified period.

    Another way to access File History, its standard Windows look, is by visiting Control Panel > File History. Click the Turn On button to start File History.

    FH4 Windows FIle History

    To choose a network location, click Select Drive from the left pane and click Add network location. File History can also work if you have a separate internal hard drive on your computer.

    What data is copied using File History?

    By default, Windows File History has been configured to automatically backup data from Desktop, Home Group Folders and Windows library folders like Downloads, Pictures, Documents, Videos, etc. If a folder is added by some other application like Virtual Box, it’ll also be backed up.

    You can click More Options to view the Backup Options screen where the folders eligible for backup are listed. You can add more folders if your want. To delete a folder from the list, click it and then click Remove.

    FH5 Windows File History

    On the top of the Backup options screen, you will find the option to set the backup frequency, and time limit after which the system should delete the backups. It also shows the size of the data backup created using File History.

    Scroll down to add excluded folders which you don’t want File History to copy to your storage media.

    If you want to use another storage media for File History, it would require you disconnect the existing File History drive. You can do the same by visiting the Backup options screen. Go to the bottom and click Stop using drive under Backup to a different drive.

    How to restore data in Windows 10 using File History?

    To get back the data from your File History Drive at a later stage, you will have to use the Control Panel-based version of File History. Once you’re there, click Restore personal files on the left-hand side and a new window will open containing all the backup folders. Select anyone of them and click the Restore button to save the files to their original location.

    FH6 Windows File History

    You can restore the contents of a folder to a different location. Select a folder, click the gear button in the top-right corner of the window and click Restore to. After this, you can select the desired location.

    Also, you can double-click a folder to see what it contains and restore individual files. Use the search bar in the File History window to find specific files from the backup. You can preview files before restoring them, double-click to open a file using its default app.

    How to Restore the Previous Versions of files and folders?

    You already know that File History can keep multiple versions of files. Use the arrow buttons to view a different version of files and folders backed by File History.

    You can delete them whenever you want if there is no need for those files to capture valuable storage. To delete previous data, click Advanced Settings > Clean up versions.

    FH6 Windows File History

    You can select the age of the previous versions you want to the system to delete. The default is to delete the versions which are older than one year.

    So, this was a brief walkthrough of the Windows 10 File History feature and how to backup and restore data in Windows using File History.

    In case we missed something, let us know in comments.

Bill Gates Is Creating His Own “Futuristic Smart City”

What would you do if you have like billions of dollars in your pocket? Probably, you might think of creating your own city of the future.

According to an Arizona-based investment firm Belmont Partners, one of Bill Gates’ investment firms has spent $80 million to buy a massive chunk of land spread across 25,000 acres. It’s situated 45 minutes west of downtown Pheonix off I-10 freeway near Tonopah.

The plan is to turn the land which is roughly the size of Tempe into a futuristic smart city called Belmont. It would be able to accommodate around 80,000 residential units after leaving 3,800 acres for commercial space and 470 acres for public schools.

Arizona Technology Council’s Executive Emeritus Ronald Schott said that Bill Gates is known for innovation and he has picked a “good spot.” The high-tech smart city would take advantage of the proposed I-11 freeway which will pass through Belmont and connect to Las Vegas.

Currently, there is no word on when the construction of the said Bill Gates’ city of future would commence. The ex-CEO of Microsoft recently slipped from the place of the world’s richest man, but still, his wealth is beyond the imagination of most of us.

Facebook Was Built To Exploit Bugs In Human Brain, Says Facebook ex-President

Sean Parker brought his name to people’s lips after creating Napster. The entrepreneur was also an early investor and Facebook’s ex-President, but now he says he has become “something of a conscientious objector” on social media.

At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Parker gave some tidbits on how companies like Facebook are ballooning so much. That’s because people like him, Mark Zuckerberg, and Kevin Systrom (co-founder of Instagram) found the bugs in the human brain. All people crave is appreciation and fame, and that’s what social networks have given to the netizens.

Bringing more people to Facebook and keeping them stuck inside the blue network is like some vicious cycle. Users post something, they get comments and likes, and they post more.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop,” Parker said. It’s “exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

The underlying thought process while creating platforms like Facebook or Instagram is something like “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?”

“We’ll get you eventually,” Parker recalled. He told this to people who were on social media and preferred real-life interactions. But Parker was unaware of the consequences of their social network which would burst into a community of 2 billion users and change the society in ways we can’t imagine.

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

5 Best Applications To Control PC From Android Smartphone

Think of those lazy weekends when you just don’t want to move a muscle; or those lazy winter nights when you are comfortably enjoying a movie on your couch, and you wished you didn’t have to leave your comfort zone to change the volume or skip tracks. So, you may think, “Can I use my Android phone as a mouse?”

Controlling devices with your mind through a Brain-computer interface is not yet commercially viable. Nevertheless, we have Android apps that can take care of this situation. Android apps that can control your other devices via local Wifi, Bluetooth or from anywhere via internet come in handy for remote administration. Best of all, some of them even provide screen sharing capabilities to gain complete GUI control of your desktop or laptop.

5 Best Android apps to control PC from Android

1. KiwiMote

KiwiMote is one of the highest rated apps in Play Store which allows you to control your computer through Wifi. It supports all versions of Android above 4.0.1. A PC side server has to be installed on your desktop or laptop and requires Java to be installed in your system. The server is lightweight, only around 2Mb. Also, the server software is portable and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

KiwiMote requires your phone and PC to be connected to the same Wifi router or hotspot. The connection is easy to set up. Use your phone to scan the QR code displayed on your desktop. Alternatively, you can also enter an IP, Port and a unique PIN to connect.

The essential features like keyboard, mouse, and gamepad work like a breeze. Furthermore, it has easy to control interfaces for many popular desktop applications like Adobe PDF Reader, GOM Player, KM Player, Pot Player, VLC Media Player, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer and many others. However, you cannot view your computer’s screen on your device.

KiwiMote is available for free and comes with ads. Get it on Google Play here.

2. Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to view your computer and control it from anywhere remotely. You need to have a Google account to use the remote sharing features. Chrome Remote desktop allows live screen sharing, and it is fast and responsive. You can use your Android device as a mouse or can also control your computer via touch response.

You need to install Chrome Remote Desktop app from this Play Store link.

Chrome Remote Desktop extension for Chrome browser can be downloaded from this link.


3. TeamViewer for remote control

Using Teamviewer, you can control computers running on Windows, Linux, and Mac from your Android device. You can even remotely control other Android devices or Windows 10 portable devices. This app doesn’t require you to be on the same Wifi or local network so you can control your computer from virtually anywhere.

Install the desktop server from here. Upon installation, it provides you with a unique identification number. Enter this number on your Android device, and then you can operate it either in control mode or file transfer mode. You do not need to worry about unauthorized access as Teamviewer uses 256 Bit AES Session Encoding and 2048 Bit RSA Key Exchange. You can also remotely lock or reboot your computer.

It has real-time screen sharing capabilities and provides responsive and robust communication. What more? Teamviewer can facilitate bi-directional data transfer between your devices and is also capable of sound and High Definition video transmission.

Get it on Play Store here.

4. Unified Remote

Unified Remote has been in the app store for years now, and it is one of the go-to apps when it comes to controlling your PC from an Android device. This app uses Bluetooth or Wifi to remotely control your PC and comes preloaded with support for more than 90 popular programs. You can download the server side desktop program here, and it supports Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Unified Remote supports Wake on LAN which you can use to remotely wake up your computer from sleep. It even allows you to control Raspberry Pi and Arduino Yun. Other useful features include a file manager, screen mirroring, media player control and basic functions, like a keyboard and mouse with multitouch support.

Its “Floating Remotes” feature allows you to control your computer even while using other apps, but it is only available in the paid version. Other paid version features include custom remotes, widget support, voice commands and helpful functions for Android wear.

Its free version comes with ads. Download it here.

5. PC Remote

PC Remote runs on Windows XP/7/8/10 and can be used to control your PC from Android via Bluetooth or Wifi. The server-side program is around 31Mb. PC Remote is easy to connect and packs a ton of features.

All the useful features like a mouse, keyboard, and Powerpoint control are available within this app. The most powerful feature in this app is “Remote Desktop” which allows you to view your desktop screen in real time and control it with touch input. I managed to view videos without any lag using this feature, although you can’t stream sound remotely. PC Remote has an inbuilt FTP server called “Data cable” using which you can access files on your smartphone on your computer. You can also view all the drives and files in your PC and open any content from your Android device.

One of the most intriguing features in PC Remote is that it has more than 30 classic console games that you can launch on your desktop with a tap, and play using the game controller in this app. There are many default gamepad layouts available. You can even make your own.

PC Remote is available for free and comes with ads. Download it from Google Play here.

Did you find this list of Best apps to control PC from Android to be helpful? Let us know if we missed out on anything in the comments below.

How To Safeguard Your Phone Against Spyware

Safeguarding Your Phone Against Spying Apps

That prevention is better than cure is a maxim that holds true in everything. If you want to protect your phone against spy apps, you have to engage your protective gear and do what you should to keep off the spying. But how do you protect your phone from an illegal phone tracker intended to spy on your movements and activities? You can find all the answers to this question in the remaining sections of this post.

Don’t Trust Strangers With Your Phone

Unless you downloaded a spy program accidentally, another way of malicious people installing spyware on your smartphone is physical contact. If you want to safeguard your phone, don’t allow people you don’t trust to hang around with your device or else you will be caught off guard.

Be Careful With Your Download Sources

If you want to keep your phone safe from spyware, be extra cautious where you download your apps from. The reason is that if you download software from insecure sources or un-certified developers, you risk exposing your phone to spyware. To keep safe, you should ensure that the apps are available from reputable marketplaces such as Play Store or Apple’s App Store. The reason is that these platforms have strict security measures in place that ensure users download secure apps that do not compromise their privacy or security.

Use Strong Passwords

To keep your phone safe from an illegal phone tracker, you ought to use strong passwords to safeguard your screen login. The reason is that if someone wants to download a spy program on your phone, they need access. By using a password, you make it difficult for them to do so. In addition, you should keep your passwords secret and only reveal them to a person you trust, for example, your spouse. Lastly, it is necessary to use complex passwords that someone cannot hack easily. For instance, it is prudent to mix lower and upper case letters in your password as well as digits to make it safer.

Set Download Passwords

To keep your phone safer, you should also set passwords for downloading applications.  This measure will ensure that anyone who accesses your phone with your permission cannot go further and install any application without your permission. The reason is that most of the spy apps people have on their smartphones were installed by people who were using their phones without ever suspecting that they could go this far. So, if you allow someone to use your phone, this extra layer of caution will protect you.

Use Anti-malware

Another way of keeping your smartphone safe is installing an antispyware. You can go for paid versions on App Store or Google Play to get maximum protection. The reason why paid versions are better is that they offer features that developers intentionally exclude in their free versions. In addition, you ought to keep updating the software and use it to scan your phone daily.

Be Careful With Bluetooth and WIFI Connections

If you want to keep your phone safe from an illegal phone tracker, be careful how you access WIFI and Bluetooth connections. You have to maintain your Bluetooth and WIFI connections to a secure mode and never access or accept connections to the network you are not sure of.

Be Careful With App Agreements

Another measure that will keep your phone safe from spyware is being careful with the terms and conditions of every app you install on your smartphone. For instance, you have to read the terms and conditions, privacy policies, and legal disclaimers behind every application you download.  You will have to read through every detail of the agreement since some of the agreements indicate that the developer has authority to track your whereabouts.

Know How to Read the Signs

The quest for safety also has a preventive angle to it. You need to be on the alert against any symptoms of an infection in the phone. For example, if you notice the phone is restarting itself quite often, its battery level is decreasing abnormally, the brightness is decreasing, or the performance of the phone has deteriorated, take action. All these are signs of a spy app working in the background.

Keep Your Confidential Information Safe

To keep your phone safe from the infiltration of an illegal phone tracker, you have to keep your confidential information safe. You should avoid giving your confidential details to any thirdparty application or website you do not trust. If you get an app that requests for personal information, it is better to keep off.

Install Original Apps Only

Another easy way that could expose your phone to spyware is downloading pirated versions of applications. When downloading apps, be careful of such “free” apps outside developers’ official websites since some of them are laced with malware, including spy ones. The people who peddle these apps usually take original paid versions, corrupt them, and then offer them out as free downloads. If you want any free app, it is better to go for the developer’s trial or free version until you are ready to purchase the paid version.

The threat of someone installing an illegal phone tracker on your phone is real, and you need to be careful so that you do not fall prey to these schemes. You have to take preventive measures to safeguard your phone against threats that result from physical contact with your phone and when downloading apps from uncertified sources. For instance, you can protect your phone by downloading your apps from credible developers and sources like mspy. In addition, you can use secure passwords for your login and app download permission. Lastly, you can protect your smartphone by paying attention to the terms and conditions behind every app you download. By abiding by these insights we have share, we believe you will take your safety to the next level and keep your smartphone free from illegal and snoopy tracking.

How To Create A Strong Password That’s Hard To Crack?

Short Bytes: One of the most important things to keep yourself safe online is having strong passwords. Created by using various methods, a hard to crack password should include everything from numbers to alphabets and special characters arranged in such a way that it’s simple for you but unimaginable for others.

Keeping strong passwords wasn’t a thing if we would go back a decade or more. Back then, few people had the internet access and even fewer had online accounts on various portals. Even if we consider offline passwords, cracking it required physical access to the machine. In most cases, it was an opportunity with very fewer chances of success.

Flash forward to 2017, someone with an idea of your online password could damage you in unimaginable ways. We have seen people losing tons of cash from their bank accounts, getting embarrassed on social media platforms, and whatnot!

Various hacking and social engineering techniques have allowed crackers to trick people into giving their passwords, and eventually, a pass to harm their digital self. Still, 123456 was the most popular password for the year 2016.

Creating a secure password that’s hard to crack is a necessity in today’s time. You might have realized it by now because various online services don’t allow people to use simple passwords including PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and general dictionary terms which are easily discernable for password cracking tools.

Here is the recipe to create secure password

strong password 1
Image: Pixabay

As always, let’s start with the basic things we need to create a strong password that has enough length, which is hard to guess for others, and above all, it should be super easy to remember.

Start with the alphabets

The first thing you require for your password is its basic structure. Start by writing a set of letters. I have already mentioned that it shouldn’t constitute any word from the dictionary or some other known word, like the name of some family member.

You can try to merge two words and create something unrecognizable. For instance, take sarcasm and opportunity and make it sarcasinity.

Now, add the numbers

Don’t include your birth date or phone numbers. For every person, there could be a sequence of numbers he or she can easily recall without putting much pressure on their brain. Try to mix the alphabets and numbers, instead of putting them side by side.

Add a pinch of special characters

Putting special characters like $,#,&, etc. in your password would be a wise move. If efficiently used, it could make your password almost impossible to crack, unless, you have the habit of telling your passwords to your friends.

Uppercase and lowercase

Don’t forget to make at least one of the letters uppercase while thinking about your super strong password. The same goes for lowercase, in case, your password is all uppercase. Other than making it tougher to crack, it also fulfills the password requirements of various online services.

What should be the ideal length?

Well, it’s totally up to you. But it’s advised to keep the length between 12 to 20 characters. I am suggesting a maximum of 20 characters because some websites have an upper limit on the number of characters.

Extra tip – random password generator

It might be possible that some people would find it hard to come up with unique passwords. You can head over to the web and use some random password generator. A reliable one might be able to give you a robust (but hard to remember) password.

If you want some trusted names, there is Norton Identity Safe Password Generator, Password Generator from LastPass, Password Generator Tool by DashLane, etc.

Don’t be predictable

strong password 2

Many of the best practices and strong password tips have been derived from a “NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A,” authored by Bill Burr in 2003. His document became a one-stop password guide for governmental bodies and academic institutions.

Years down the line, recently, talking to WSJ (via The Verge), Burr said that his suggestion for making special character replacements might have misguided people actually to create simpler passwords than expected.

It’s not the case that his tips are wrong in any sense, after all, they have managed to survive for almost 15 years. But it’s the password creation habits developed by many people which lead to easier passwords that are too hard for humans but not for the hackers.

For instance, if one has to change the word “password” into its tougher version, one of most replacements in many cases would be P@$$W0rd1!

People who commit cyber crimes have also become advanced and tried to analyze the patterns used by individuals. In contrast, if you use a combination of multiple random words, it would take hundreds of years to guess such a password in comparison to something that’s used widely. So, the goal here is to be as random as possible and stay aside from the common herd.

“Through 20 years of effort, we have correctly trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess,” says the comic xkcd published by Randall Munroe in 2011. The illustration takes a dig at the shortcomings of substitution habits while choosing passwords.

strong password
Image: xkcd

As confirmed by security experts, it would take around 500 years to guess the phrase correct horse battery staple. What’s more is that it is quite easy to remember.

Further, Burr suggests that people should change their passwords every 90 days. But wait, isn’t it more than a year ago since we last changed our digital keys? What’s more important is how to modify the password. Changing P@$$W0rd1! to P@$$W0rd2! won’t do the job. Also, we are too lazy to come up with entirely new options.

In June 2017, Paul Grassi published new NIST standards which take a different approach than the one advised by Burr. However, according to Gracci, Burr is downplaying his password tips. “He wrote a security document that held up for 10 to 15 years. I only hope to be able to have a document hold up that long.”

The new standards emphasize that random long easy-to-remember phrases are more complex to decode than easily guessable characters. Also, it suggests changing passwords only if there is a possibility that they are compromised.

What do the experts say?

Several years ago, a method was proposed by Bruce Schneier, a security researcher, which involves turning general sentences into passwords. His method can still get a password strong enough for most password cracking systems.

Sentences shouldn’t be much general, Schneier has warned that hackers tend to use a combination of dictionary words and they might end up getting yours. The twist here is to cut the sentences short, so they aren’t recognizable after adding stuff like numbers and symbols.

Here are some examples:

My secret Santa is hiding in the closet: MSecSta@H1dinCL$

Oh! My God, John, Did you try to steal my dog?: O#!MyGJhn…..D!DuTr2$tlMDogo?

PAO Nemonics

PAO (Person-Action-Object) is a memorization technique primarily used to remember decks of cards and long random number strings. The researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University concluded that the same could be used to create strong passwords and remember them.

iron man
Image: Stick Kim/Flickr

The method goes as follows: take the photo of a person, a place you like, and think of an action that person is doing at that location. For instance, let the person be Tony Stark, the place is Central Park, and action is flying the suit.

So, the sentence would become: Tony Stark is flying his suit over the Central Park.

Shrink the sentence down by including initial characters of every word.


Now, this is a 16 character strong password that you can further improve by adding numbers and special characters if you want.

Remembering these visual scenarios can help you create secure passwords than only using random letters and figures. Moreover, it would be hard for other people to make rough guesses.

You can also combine multiple scenarios in one password. The whole point of this method is that humans tend to remember visual references better.

The Passphrase

Another recipe to prepare a hard to guess password is to create a phrase out of unrelated words – it’s commonly known as a Passphrase.

For instance, you can pick up some random words, like:

Sam dakota scarcity glued numbers might fortune sprinkle some poor mud night

Make sure that the word arrangement is total nonsense, not picked up from an existing piece of text. Modern password crackers do consider dictionary words, but a pass phrase of this length, maybe 12 or more words, would take ages to break down.

How to deal with tons of passwords I have?

Practically speaking, remembering all the passwords is a bigger problem than creating a strong and uncrackable password. Because, in the age of the internet, one doesn’t even know how many accounts he or she has opened.

There can be a couple of ways which can help you manage passwords for dozens of accounts and apps you have.

Use a password manager

Password management apps like LastPass, DashLane, TrueKey, iCloud Keychain, etc. could be the easiest ways to remember passwords. Because you don’t have to remember all of them but one master password, the software does the rest.

The login credentials you give to such apps are cryptographically signed before getting saved in the app’s database. You can throw almost any type of password, it doesn’t matter, how tough it is.

Many web browsers have an option to save passwords and credit card details. For instance, in the case of Google Chrome, the details are encrypted and tied to your Google account. So, your passwords go along if you set up Chrome on a new device.

Tip: Don’t use password management apps for the passwords you want to remember. Type the passwords whenever required so that you get the same by heart and recall it even while you’re asleep.

Split your passwords into levels

You might be overwhelmed with the ease offered by the password managers. But the hard truth is that you tend to depend on these apps, and it’s pretty hard to recall password on a new device, in case, you don’t have access to your password manager.

Why don’t you divide your passwords into levels? Let’s say you need passwords for 30 different websites, tools, bank accounts, etc. It won’t be the case that all of these passwords should be fool-proof.

Level 1

The account you created on a casual gaming website, online radio portal, or some other thing that doesn’t matter enough can fall into level 1. And if you’re comfortable, you can use the same password across such services and apps. You can give the task of handling less important digital keys to the password management apps.

Level 2

Now, level 2 can include accounts for websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Also, services for ordering meals, subscription services, cab services, and others that store your payment details.

The password for the services in level 2 could be similar but with an unpredictable variation, maybe a couple of letters or numbers in such a way that you can remember which password belongs to which service.

Level 3

This level is for the most important passwords you have, mainly the ones related to your internet banking accounts. These passwords shouldn’t resemble with any of your other passwords. And it’s highly recommended not use remembering apps for such passwords or write them somewhere.

So, after all of this, you might end up with around five or six passwords to remember which I guess won’t be a tough job. At least, you don’t depend on some technology to remember the digital keys for you.

There is another thing that could make your life easier. Limit the number of email IDs you use to sign-up for online accounts. On an average, two emails would be enough, one for casual accounts and another for important ones.