Three Truths and a Lie | Misconceptions About Technology

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Smartphones and Cancer

According to the data presented by Statista, it is expected that the number of mobile phone users in the world will pass the five billion mark in 2019. This overwhelming growth in the market can be attributed to the popularity of smartphones, wherein technological advancement has made billions of users dependent on screens. People use smartphones for communication, entertainment, business, and even for health purposes. However, there is looming hearsay that people who always use mobile phones have a high risk of getting cancer.

The main reason why cancer is attributed to the usage of mobile phones is the radio frequency radiation or radio waves, a form of non-ionizing radiation emitted by the device. According to the National Cancer Institute, non-ionizing radiation has low frequency thus having low energy. The only effect of radio frequency radiation in humans that is recognized consistently is heating. Radio frequency exposure from mobile phones cause heating to the area of the body but there is no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases the risk of cancer.

Based on a case-control study called Interphone, there is no statistically significant increase in the central nervous system cancers related to a higher amount of mobile phone usage. The researchers have considered their findings as inconclusive because the participants who have lower levels of usage have a slightly reduced risk of brain cancer than those who did not use mobile phones regularly.

In 2018, the American Cancer Society stated that all recent findings remain inconclusive and that a higher risk of cancer has not been seen. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention also stated that there is no scientific evidence that can establish a link between a wireless device and cancer. However, even if no direct connection has been confirmed, it is still recommended by various health organizations to avoid the excessive use of smartphones in order for users to protect and maintain their physical and digital health.

Only Windows PCs Have Viruses

People have always assumed that Macs are safer because only Windows PCs have viruses. The reason behind this misconception is that a large portion of the computer industry is ruled by Windows, thus hackers and other malicious threats prefer to target Windows users. Mac users, in the previous years, were less vulnerable to threats because there were more PC users.

As Mac became popular, the users of the system have also increased. Along with this, viruses and malware have also evolved and became more advanced that even Mac users have become their prominent target. According to the report by Malwarebytes, Mac malware grew by 270% in 2017.

Based on Macworld, the latest threat to Macs is a variant of adware that is infecting Macs through a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. The malware installs various applications on the Mac, including Chumsearch Safari Extension, Advanced Mac Cleaner, MyShopCoupon+, mediaDownloader, and MyMacUpdater.

However, Macs have maintained their promise to its users that it will remain secured from viruses and malware through its built-in security measures. Apple has ensured to protect its users from threats by making it almost impossible to download the malware in the first place.

The company has an anti-malware protection wherein before any user can open a file, the Mac will check it against a list of malware and prohibits any application from a developer that it hasn’t approved. The Mac has also anti-phishing technology in Safari that can detect fraudulent websites. The technology will disable the page and will give a warning if the website is suspicious.

In our technological age, malicious threats that can damage personal properties are becoming more pernicious. Therefore, one should not be complacent and believe that a certain system is not prone to viruses, hackers, or malware. Aside from relying on built-in security measures, any user should always exercise caution in dealing with sensitive online information and transactions. One should learn how to distinguish suspicious links, websites, and advertisement in order to prevent viruses and malware from attacking the operating system of the device.

Since this generation heavily relies on computers, almost all information is digitized. While retrieving and transporting data have become easier, the risk of them being lost and damaged by malicious threats still remains high because there are no physical measures that can absolutely prevent viruses or malware. Therefore, one should always be careful in the digital world in order to maintain one’s digital wellbeing as minimum.

It is a common misconception that data deleted from your computer's emptied wastebasket is lost forever

Is It Gone Forever?

The file which has been deleted from the recycle bin is not gone absolutely. It is a common misconception that deleting data also removed them completely from the hard drive. In fact, there are some programs that can recover the deleted data.

Highly sensitive data can still be recovered from a hard drive even after the files have been deleted or moved to the recycle bin or the trash can. The data stay in those folders until the user empties the recycle bin or trash can. After they have been deleted from those folders, the data are still located in the hard drive and can still be retrieved by using the appropriate software.

According to Webopedia, what is erased is the bit of information that points to the location of the file on the hard drive. These pointers, which build the directory tree structure (an in-computer cataloging system), are used by the operating system to locate the files. When the pointer is erased, the file then becomes invisible to the operating system. However, the file will continue to exist but the operating system will not be able to find it.

In order to completely erase a file with no trace, one has to overwrite the data. That being said, your computer’s operating system will, in time, overwrite files that have no pointers in the directory tree structure. Therefore, the longer the file remains in the hard drive without a pointer, the greater the probability that it has been overwritten by the operating system. There are also available software products on the market that can permanently erase files by overwriting them.

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