Thursday 12 November 2020

Data Recovery Expert: How To Celebrate A Holiday In Lockdown

Irvine, CA-based Hard Drive Recovery Group (HDRG) is encouraging their community to avoid being disheartened by the fact that they have had to spend several holidays this year indoors. While the situation is regrettable, and more holidays are expected to face the same fate before the year is out, the company asserts that several steps can be taken to get into the holiday spirit.

The company points to an article they published back in July, shortly after the 4th of July, Independence Day. In it, they describe certain scenarios that are now taking place almost exactly as predicted, including the need to remain indoors during other holidays this year. However, this in turn means that the pointers they offered in this article are still valid to this day — and will be for some time to come. As such, HDRG is encouraging their community to check out the article once more and explore what they can do to stave off the holiday gloom.

In ‘Lessons From Celebrating A Holiday In A Lockdown,’ the company says, “So, how was your 4th of July? Did you celebrate our nation’s independence day with such fun and revelry as you used to. I bet $100 you did not. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. July 4, 2020 will be marked in history as an Independence Day that Americans celebrated indoors. Did that sound sad? Yes, it is.”

Independence Day arrives around the midway point of each year, and the vast majority of Americans view it as one of their most celebratory holidays, with the end of year celebrations possibly being the only possible contender. The thought of going even a single year without spending this holiday outdoors in as extravagant a fashion as one is able may not have even occurred to anyone prior to 2020, and HDRG is certain that just as many people were bitterly hoping the pandemic would cease in time to celebrate it. However, this did not come to pass, and it now appears that several other holidays will be spent in much the same way.

Despite this bleak outlook, the company states that all is not lost, and there are still ways to enjoy the holidays and sustain a festive spirit. In fact, the team at HDRG believes that finding ways to experience joy during a crisis is incredibly important for everyone’s mental health, and few crises have been as daunting as the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why they are reaching out to support their community in these times of need.

As the article states, “there might still be some more holidays to come with everyone still in the comforts of their home while the threat of coronavirus still rages outdoors.” It adds, “So, with that in mind, let us remember the lessons we learned in what was possibly the weirdest holiday we experienced in our lifetimes.”

One of the cornerstones of modern Independence Day celebrations is fireworks. While this past Independence Day did indeed see communities enjoying firework displays, they were somewhat less enjoyable due to the fact no one could gather in large groups at an open location for the best view. Instead, the best many were able to do was enjoy nearby fireworks from their backyard. HDRG points out that this presents an opportunity for people to bring out their creative side and capture the fireworks as creatively as possible in photographs.

To this end, amateur photographers should keep in mind that fireworks usually accompany New Year’s celebrations as well. If they missed a chance to practice their photography in July, they now have some time to get ready before December 31st arrives.

HDRG has one more tip for those missing their holiday fun, so all are invited to check out the full blog post on their website to learn more. The website offers additional details on their services as well, including the various types of damaged systems they can recover data from and so on. Similarly, interested parties may reach out to Maureen Davies of Hard Drive Recovery Group to follow up on any further inquiries.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Friday 6 November 2020

Data Recovery Services Expert Discusses The World Around The Pandemic

Irvine, CA-based Hard Drive Recovery Group (HDRG) recently published a blog post titled ‘A Changed World After The COVID19 Crisis,’ discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people around the world and what the lockdowns imposed by global governments mean for companies and their data. The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented event, and the ramifications are likely to be felt for years to come. Financial institutions predict that the world economy will face the worst depression since the Second World War, and with no end to the crisis in sight, the looming financial crisis is likely to be worse than most people may have imagined.

“So many people are still being tested positive for the virus, and there seems to be no end in sight as the possibilities for a cure and a vaccine are still months, if not years away,” says the blog post. “The government can only hold their lockdowns as long as they can. China has already lifted its lockdown on Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter and origin of the virus, while reporting that its national economy will be contracting for the first time since the 1980s. Other “early adopter” countries like Japan and South Korea still demand their people maintain social distancing and prohibit public assemblies but have already allowed people to go back to work.”

With everyone being forced to stay home, digital and electronic companies will most likely benefit the most from the crisis. A number of companies, particularly those in industries like tourism, transportation and hospitality, cannot operate properly due to the fact that their customers are all stuck indoors and cannot work remotely. Companies that provide the equipment and software that people are using to work from home, however, are making a lot more money than they did before the crisis. Businesses whose services and goods that do not require or actually discourage social interaction are either unaffected or seeing record numbers in terms of growth. The pandemic has shown many individuals and businesses that working from home is not only possible but also convenient, and many will continue to work from home even after the crisis is over. Businesses that are prospering now are likely to continue prospering long after COVID-19 becomes a distant memory.

In their blog post, Hard Drive Recovery Group explores how working from home is likely to become the norm, not the exception. “Employees have for weeks, experienced a change in their style of work as they have been spared of having to dress up and commute to their offices,” says the blog post. “Many have found this practice favorable for them, and even once the crisis ebbs, it will be difficult for companies to not allow their employees to continue working from home, as they may not be able to afford overhead expenses (office rent, utilities, operating expenses) anew. Moreover, travel restrictions will be stricter, so companies may indeed encourage employees to stay at home and still be productive members of the company.”

International cooperation is likely to see significant changes. At the moment, countries are isolating themselves from each other by closing their borders and discouraging foreign visitors from entering their countries. Once the crisis is over, however, countries are likely to develop new best practices regarding how to monitor and report crises and coordinate responses. Due to the failure of many countries around the world to prepare adequately for crises like the one the world is currently facing, many lives have been lost. As a result, countries around the world will be looking into how best to respond to pandemics in future.

Hard Drive Recovery Group offers data retrieval services aimed at helping people recover data that they may have lost for any of a variety of reasons. The company has been offering professional recovery services for over 20 years. With many people working from home due to COVID-19, the likelihood of losing data is higher than ever before, and the services of companies like Hard Drive Recovery Group are in very high demand. For more information, visit the company’s website or contact Maureen Davies of Hard Drive Recovery Group.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Sunday 1 November 2020

How Do You Sleep?

So 2020 is just giving us one blow after another. There’s the COVID-19 pandemic that has had large segments of the world population on lockdown, which has led to most of us to work from home for fear that we can get the virus. Then, civil unrest ensued as those demanding for racial equality took to the streets despite lockdown orders, only to be compounded by those who are protesting the strict lockdown measures such as the closing of businesses and wearing of face masks when in public. One thing is for sure, though: All these developments have surely done a number on our mental well-being.

Because most of us have been stuck in our houses, all sorts of activities have been confined in the various parts of our residences. Meals can be taken anywhere without set times, kitchen counters have become a common site for video conferences, and watching TV shows have transferred from the living room to the bed, just so that we can squeeze one more episode of The Crown or Money Heist. And yes, for most of us dedicated to working, our reviews of office documents go beyond 5 o’clock. With anxiety, uncertainty, and fear of the state of our health and future, we have become a world of unrest.

Sleeping habits have been compromised for most of us because we want to make sure we don’t slack off at work, we want to be constantly updated of friends and family we haven’t seen in months by checking on social media accounts every 10 minutes, and we want to keep some normalcy in our lives by still being updated on our favorite TV shows. All of these in exchange for not having enough sleep. With that, it is hoped that we realize that there is a problem and that it should something that we need to act on because rest and sleep are quite important to both our physical and mental health.

The study

The pandemic has forced everyone into lockdown, so most of us may have shared experiences about working from home. A majority of us find it difficult to stick to a routine because once we are about to get into the groove of a habit, something happens that throws us off. Then, we develop into bad habits like sitting and staring into our laptop for hours and disrupt our sleeping patterns.  No wonder recent studies reveal that since the pandemic, the world has failed on getting enough sleep.

Nearly 66% of participants blur the boundaries between work and life, while 55% find it difficult to switch off.


Are you ready to be consistent?

It goes without saying that getting enough sleep has positive effects on our health. But with everything going on in the world, there are just too many distractions that hinder us from getting it. Moreover, good sleep can only be achieved when people commit and develop a habit out of it. Thus, we need to be consistent with our habits so that sleeping will come to us naturally. According to celebrated author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 21 days to form a habit. James Clear counters with 66 days. The question is, are you ready to invest anywhere from 21 to 66 days of consistently sleeping at the same time, zero distractions in your quest to have enough sleep?

You can help your body establish a defined internal rhythm by keeping bedtimes, wake-up times, meals and exercise on a somewhat consistent schedule. Danforth pointed out that each of these activities sends signals to the brain, which regulates the body’s internal clock and can cue the release of melatonin, a hormone that can relax the body and help you get to sleep.


 Keep work and sleep separately 

As mentioned earlier, it has become a norm for most of us to bring work even in bed. Whether it is to check some documents before getting our z’s or being in the comforts of bed for a late-night video conference, we seem to have converted our beds into an extended workstation. Moreover, because we bring our work to bed, the blue light emitted from our gadgets can further delay sleep. Thus, we need to make an effort to keep work out of the bedroom. Your bed should only be for sleeping, all other activities such as eating, social media checking, and especially working, must not be permitted.

When it comes to one’s bedroom to ensure a good night’s rest, Mrs Lythgoe advised: “Ensure your bedroom is the perfect place to get a good night’s kip.

“Firstly, be sure to avoid working in your bedroom if you are working remotely during lockdown.

“Associating your bedroom with a workplace may stop you from ‘winding down’ when you do want to go to sleep on an evening."


Make tech work for you

If you are still having difficulty sleeping, why not use apps that encourage meditation and rest? Instead of checking your social media accounts before going to sleep, tap on that mediation or white noise app that should lull you to sleep.

Sleep apps can be useful tools if you’re struggling to put some good sleep habits into practice, whether you need to overhaul your sleep hygiene completely or just keep a closer eye on it. Below, find the best sleep apps to help you build good habits, wind down at night, track your z’s, and wake up feeling refreshed.



Now, if you have been losing sleep over missing files and documents on your computer, let us help you get back on track. Read on to know how to take advantage of our expertise. Get in touch with us, get back your missing files and sleep better!

How Do You Sleep? is available on


Monday 26 October 2020

Hard Drive Recovery Group Shares Tips For Effective Remote Working

Irvine, CA-based Hard Drive Recovery group is pleased to share that they have published a new blog post containing tips for staying effective while working remotely. Read the post in full at the following link:

Due to COVID-19, around 5 billion people around the world now have to study or work from their homes. As a result, many economic analysts have said that the world economy would collapse and that the world is entering into an economic contraction on the level of the Great Depression and the aftermath of World War II. This will continue to happen unless people are able to adapt to the situation.

Fortunately, many individuals and businesses have been able to rise to the challenge posed by these strange times. Remote working has saved not only businesses but also entire economies from total shutdowns. Additionally, when done correctly, remote working can allow businesses to make a profit in addition to saving themselves. Certain companies have less expenses to sustain now as well, thanks to the closure of many shops and offices, which in turn can help them redirect resources to solidify their financial health. Now that working from home is becoming the norm, there are some tips that many can learn and apply to become more effective during remote work.

The first tip is to establish a routine. Most people had a routine that they held for weeks, months and even years while they were working for their respective organizations. The routine usually followed this route: waking up, commuting to work, arriving to the office on time, turning on the desktop, reviewing emails, having coffee, going to meetings, having lunch, doing work and then going home. While it is a different environment at home, many can still establish a similar routine for their remote working setup. Establishing routines helps one set expectations, get into a groove of working and develop positive habits that in turn allow a task to be completed in a simpler, easier and more streamlined manner.

The second tip is to have a dedicated work space. As much as possible, a person’s work space should be separated from other areas in the house. It is not a good working habit to work in bed or in other places where other activities such as eating and watching television are done. Separating a work space helps people get into a proper state of mind for working by allowing them to distance themselves from distractions, such as scrolling through social media or going through a Netflix marathon.

In fact, an article from Entrepreneur states, “If you operate an automotive paint shop, then chances are your workspace will be the garage or a freestanding shop out back. If you operate a dental practice from home, then your workspace will probably be a portion of your home used for a waiting room, a treatment room and an office. In other words, workspace requirements will vary depending on the business you choose to operate.”

The third tip is to maintain self-care. People should not base their entire lives and schedules around work. It is important to reserve some time to care for themselves. Practicing self-care after doing work allows people to maintain their sanity, especially during this period of unrest. They must also set aside some time for physical activities, meditation, journal writing, grooming or whatever self-care tasks that they like to do.

The last tip is to maintain clear communication with colleagues. Remote teamwork can lose its momentum when somebody suddenly goes missing in action and stops answering messages and emails. When this happens, other members will naturally suspect that their missing teammate may be slacking. This damages remote teamwork even further. Therefore, it is important to communicate issues and challenges to colleagues and supervisors. Everyone is in this crisis together, so most people can understand if a member of the team is having connectivity issues or needs to take a short break.

Hard Drive Recovery Group adds that losing data and important files on devices can derail someone’s remote working experience as well. Because of this, Hard Drive Recovery Group is pleased to inform their community that their technicians can provide assistance with recovering important files and repairing hard drives. Complete details can be found on the company’s website. Those who are in need of professional and reliable data recovery may also connect with Hard Drive Recovery Group via social media to stay up to date with their news and announcements.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Sunday 25 October 2020

Have You Jumped on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bandwagon?

In our uncertain and joyless times, everyone seems to look for and cling to anything that would click. A form of escapism? Most definitely. But then, with everyone subject to the very oppressive situation brought about by the pandemic, then yes, we can feel a bit entitled and get our entertainment in any way possible. In our case, these days, that source of entertainment can simply be stated in four words: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Those of us who are in the loop when it comes to news but do not own any Nintendo Switch have surely heard of it in passing. After all, you may have most probably heard of Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood actually interacting with players whom he met in the game in real life. Yes, this is Coin Master (have you seen Jennifer Lopez ads of the game where she looks for people who attacked her village?) in real life. But not only Elijah Wood has gotten addicted to this game – other celebrities like Oscar-winner Brie Larson and Chrissy Teigen have also posted about the game in their social media accounts. Can you believe that even politician and media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a player, too?

So, before you get into the Animal Crossing: new Horizons bandwagon and surrender your dollars to Nintendo and hours to play the game, here is some background information. Good luck on not getting hooked, because we are pretty sure you will be.

The game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is already the fifth title of the Animal Crossing franchise. Also, if you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, then you ill not be able to play it, because the game is only available on this gadget. So no, it is not an app-based game. But don’t worry about it being the fifth installment of Animal Crossing already. You don’t need to know how to play the first four installments of the game to play this fifth title.

There’s so much to do in Animal Crossing even though it’s going to read so simple. The TL;DR: you slowly build a delightful island using basic equipment like a shovel and an axe.

Why so popular?

The popularity of Animal Crossing may actually be attributed to the fact that there are so many scenarios you can get into even if you’re stuck at home because of the pandemic lockdown. By playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it is almost like the player is vicariously outdoors. And that works in our situation nowadays because we can only explore the outside world vicariously. Imagine if Pokémon Go was introduced now, where going out is highly discouraged? How can you catch Pokémon when you are confined in the corners of your home?

The game proceeds in an open-ended fashion, and players are allowed to forge their own paths at their leisure. Players can collect furniture, craft items, fish, catch bugs, customize their characters, talk to villagers, visit other islands, and gain Bells, which is the form of in-game currency. The open concept of the game has proved to be its defining feature, as players are hooked in by the escapism aspect of the game.

Growth in spite or because of the pandemic? 

Nintendo’s move to release this game during the pandemic is one genius move. In a world where everyone is looking for sources of indoor entertainment, the move to release a game is absolutely brilliant. No wonder Nintendo is reporting positive developments even during this anxiety-filled time.

“The number of consumers who started playing on Nintendo Switch because of this game continued to increase during the first quarter, from April to June 2020. Of all systems in the Nintendo Switch family that were played for the first time during this period, over half were used to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the first day.”

So popular it's in pop culture

The game has become so popular that celebrities have poured praises on it through social media. With social media being the prime source of information for may these days, it is inevitable that people have taken notice of the game because of glowing endorsements from famous people they follow. In turn, artists have only hopped into the game’s bandwagon, finding ways to collaborate and take advantage of its popularity to positively affect them.

Selena Gomez recently debuted a stripped-down version of her newest track with Trevor Daniel, “Past Life,” in an unexpected place: a late night talk show on Twitch that exists entirely within Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Have you been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons as well? It's a good thing to have a break from all the stresses of this world, but let us give you a reality check: You need to act on recovering your missing files! The first step is get in touch with us to start your data recovery journey. Read more here:

Have You Jumped on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bandwagon? Read more on: Hard Drive Recovery Group


Sunday 18 October 2020

Ransomware Attacks Increase Even in the Time of Corona

Just when everybody thinks that the cases of online fraud and people being victimized of scams will be decreasing because people would have empathy towards each other amidst this global pandemic, we have been proved wrong. In the area of ransomware attacks, not only have the incidences increased even if everybody is encouraged to stay indoors, the average size of ransomware payments has been on the uptrend. The increase of ransomware payments is not only just incremental but quite significant. The average payment to ransomware attackers in the 2nd quarter of 2020 according to a report by Coveware, has increased by 60% from the first quarter of this year, which is now at US$170,000.  The trend, which has leaned towards increases, may be attributed to the various new options in tactics and the rise of new software. Ransomware attacks have become tailored to the targets, which thus have made them all the more dangerous and damaging.

Moreover, according to the Coveware report, a recent development in the second quarter of 2020 is the emergence of attackers who do not demand that high a ransom. The trend for this breed of attackers would be to use free or affordable ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) tools for hacking. These attackers would usually charge lower amounts as smaller businesses are usually being targeted. And this is what makes matters worse because as is, small businesses are already suffering because of the pandemic. When they are further victimized by ransomware attackers, that one more nail in the coffin of their impending death.  The trend of attacking these small businesses should hopefully end for the sake of the economy and because they really do not need any more problems.

More data exfiltration?

According to various reports with regard to ransomware, ransomware attacks have come in the form of data exfiltration. The data exfiltration manner is different from other types of ransomware attacks in the sense that the attacker takes the data instead of just keeping it ransom. Once the attacker gets the data, the stolen data is then put up for sale on tech marketplaces and forums. In “usual” ransomware attacks, the data does not leave the server of the entity being attacked and the attacker just makes it impossible for the attacked to have access to the information unless a ransom is paid.

Traditional data exfiltration is itself a blend of data theft and extortion. A hacker compromises an organization’s defenses and exfiltrates sensitive data of measurable value—financial records, intellectual property, business data, and so on. After offering the data for sale on the black market to establish its value, the attacker then contacts the victim and demands a payment to prevent a sale.


With more cases come higher demands

While the number of cases have gone higher, so have the demands for the ransom cost. While there are more attackers that are more comfortable with using cheaper versions of RaaS software,  the number of attackers who prefer only big entities as they think it is their role to keep these big entities in check have also increased.

The average ransom payment in Q2 was $178,254, a 60% leap from the $111,605 average in Q1. Average ransom payments climbed steadily since 2018, which coincided with the arrival of the first “big game hunting” ransomware variants, BitPaymer and Ryuk.



More low-end "DIY" ransomware attacks?

As mentioned above, more low-end attacks have also been occurring that target smaller businesses, where attackers use cheaper RaaS software.

The Dharma Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operation makes it easy for a wannabe cyber-criminal to get into the ransomware business by offering a toolkit that does almost everything for them. A RaaS operation is a cybercrime model where the developers are in charge of managing the ransomware development and ransom payment system. At the same time, affiliates are responsible for compromising victims and deploying the ransomware.


Prevention is better than cure

But how can businesses avoid the entire threat of ransomware attacks, though? Having strong IT infrastructure is still key.

A strong IT operations team is a weapon in security's arsenal, along with widespread security awareness across all employees -- in and out of IT. The IT team can prevent ransomware with regular patching and software updates, reduce the effect of an attack with good and frequent backups, lead the recovery to get systems up and running, and analyze logs to gain insights on the attack.


On the other hand, if your personal or work-related files go missing, you need professional data recovery services to help. Read on to be more informed of our services:

The blog post Ransomware Attacks Increase Even in the Time of Corona is available on The Hard Drive Recovery Group Blog


Thursday 15 October 2020

Hard Drive Recovery Group Discusses Risks Of Zoom Calling

Irvine, California-based Hard Drive Recovery Group (HDRG) is reaching out to the community to discuss the risks of using Zoom for remote working, and why it may be better to seek for other alternatives.

"With most of the employed world currently working at home to avoid the spread of COVID-19, apps and programs that make remote work easier have become household names. Zoom has grown to be one of the most popular remote working tools. We have noticed that many people have been far too quick to jump the gun and begin using these apps without considering the risks and security issues that may be inherent to them," states Maureen Davies of Hard Drive Recovery Group. While the concern with Zoom as a secure remote working platform has only increased over the past few weeks, HDRG states that users have not given enough weight to the comments from online security experts who question its security features and doubt the safety of users’ data on the platform.

Davies adds, "Zoom has been criticized by high-profile individuals in the past for safety concerns. While none of their demands have produced significant results, there are enough cases to make you question whether you should trust this company with your company's sensitive information. One of the most recent cases that come to mind is that of Letitia James, a New York attorney general. She demanded that the company inform the public of the lack of security measures they had taken to keep up with the sudden ballooning of their users. She questioned the company's ability to guarantee the well being of their users as well. While Zoom announced at the time that all their resources were focused on addressing safety and security issues raised by users in recent weeks, the underlying concern still remains despite their efforts to offer reassurance."

Whether or not Zoom is putting as much dedication as they claim into increasing the security of their app, one thing that is clear is that their efforts have not been enough to prevent unfortunate incidents from happening all over their platform. Zoom bombing has been an issue for a few weeks now, to the point where it has now caught the attention of the FBI. These video hijacking incidents present more than simple inconveniences, as students have been exposed to the antics of several individuals who join their classroom with malicious intentions. The FBI is already investigating numerous incidents of hackers infiltrating video meetings, shouting racial slurs and issuing threats. The Bureau is also looking into the connection between these hackers and ransomware hackers who, until recently, have also victimized businesses.

Another problem with Zoom's platform, according to Hard Drive Recovery Group, is the lack of end-to-end encryption. This is a feature that cybersecurity savvy users are always on the lookout for, as it secures communication platforms so that whatever goes into the platform can only be accessed by the users involved. While Zoom boasted in the past that their app used this well-regarded security measure, they have come around to admit that end-to-end encryption is not yet present on the platform. That is only of the many flaws in security that Zoom has been accused of possessing, and their criticism goes all the way back to early 2019.

Davies states, "Back in 2019, Zoom users were surprised when it was revealed that a hidden web server had been installed on user devices which could add the user to a call without his or her consent. Recently, a bud was discovered that could allow hackers to take over a Mac of a Zoom user through the device’s webcam and microphone. The company has yet to offer any reassurance or explanation for these issues, leading users to worry about what they are being exposed to when using the app."

Even some of Zoom's better features have been criticized, as the apps' attention tracker has been called out as a way of sneaking in-app surveillance to monitor their user's activities. This issue, along with several others, are thoroughly explained in Hard Drive Recovery Group's latest blog post, titled, ‘Is Zoom Helping Or Destroying Your Remote Work Efforts?’ Those interested are welcome to visit their site to read further or get in touch with the company’s representatives to follow up on any further inquiries.

from Hard Drive Recovery Group

Data Recovery Expert: How To Celebrate A Holiday In Lockdown

Irvine, CA-based Hard Drive Recovery Group (HDRG) is encouraging their community to avoid being disheartened by the fact that they have had ...