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COVID-19 and coworking in Athens

Are coworking spaces closed because of COVID-19?

Numerous countries around the world are in the beginning stages of managing their own outbreaks, in each country the situation is very different and governments make their own decisions about how they can deal with the virus best. In Greece, it’s been a week since most companies and organizations were instructed to conduct their businesses remotely.
It’s crucial that we all follow our country’s respective measures and instructions for our health and protection. Even if Stone Soup is not directly obligated to stay closed, we have taken all precautionary measures and since March 12th we are not accepting any new members. As all coworking spaces are based on the social interaction of their members, we have recommended to our members to work from home as much as possible.

Stone Soup coworking community

This abrupt lockdown and necessity to work from home, is disruptive and apart from having to recalibrate your tasks and your own workspace, you may also face difficulty to concentrate and a feeling of solitude. This is why coworking space operators are exploring how we could work together online and keep the human interaction alive. 

To keep the community of Stone Soup active we boost our communication on online channels like Slack. Feel free to visit the #westaytogether channel to get webinar invitations, to share things to do, to arrange video calls, to share yoga videos or to start a group for people to enjoy online video games together, and many more ideas. COVID-19 virus shouldn’t put the coworking spirit in Athens down!

Stay tuned ’cause from Monday 23rd and on, we will start our Virtual Coworking (VC) sessions. At 10:30 we are going online and we want to see familiar faces and hear familiar sounds, while we all focus on our tasks. If you can’t do without this passive ambience of an office space full of people getting work done, join us! Let’s cowork virtually in Athens, and lets – under these peculiar circumstances- try to minimize the side-effects of COVID-19 and all negative thoughts.

You will get the rest details about Stone Soup’s VC operation through Slack by the end of the day!

Most secure mobile devices: Apple or Android?

How secure your data is may depend on the mobile you use. Much has been said about choosing the right mobile phone for the needs of each user. Most people seem to tend to Android or iOS operating systems. But which is the safest operating system when it comes to protection against malware?

secure mobile

Malware and secure mobile devices

The most common method of importing phone spying software is by sending an SMS, which contains the malware. When the message is opened by the users, their devices have just been hacked! Another method is to transfer the program over Bluetooth. This method is often used by people who are spying on their relatives such as husbands who think that their wives are cheating on them. Once installed, the program logs every activity of the device.

If the user wishes to do so, he can intercept calls, SMS messages, MMSs, e-mails and all the files that the phone sends and receives. The user can also activate the GPS location service and therefore is able to know the phone’s position on the map – at all times. The software also gives the user full control over the device.

Apple mechanisms for secure mobiles

In data protection, Apple (iOS) has made the big difference. The security level of their devices is much higher than the others’. Factors that enhance the security of iOS devices are that the user cannot unlock the bootloader. In addition, a powerful malware protection mechanism is pre-installed on the device.

Also, due to the strict inspections that Apple makes on app-store applications, viruses are extremely rare to exist. In the past, malware incidents had been reported inside the app store, but the company was able to detect, remove them and achieve secure mobile devices.

From the 100 malwares that hackers create, 97 are made for Android and just 3 for iPhone.

Using iCloud protection against malware

ICloud is one of the major security mechanisms of iOS devices. In addition to its ability to store data, it secures the files of our device with a lock code which, even the most experienced hackers can’t crack. Furthermore, this lock, is not only applied on the device. Apple’s servers are informed that the iPhone with the specific IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is locked. Thus, the owner can lock it at any time or even remotely delete everything. Even if someone bypasses this security mechanism, the only thing they can do is to format the device. This means completely erasing the device’s data without the possibility of data retrieval.

Apple’s Surveillance Policy for mobile security

iOS

Apple, as a company seems to be really strict when it comes to cellphone spying even in extreme cases. A typical example was the investigation of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. When asked by the authorities to unlock a device, the response was: “The government is asking us to hack our own users and ruin many years of work on mobile phone security. This has no precedent in any American company and carries a huge risk of future attacks.”

iOS devices may undoubtedly be more difficult to use, especially for people who have never used them before, but the security benefits provided are worth the minimum time it takes for the new user to get familiar.

How to tell if someone is spying our mobile

When there is a malware installed on the phone, whether for spying on facebook conversations or for stealing credentials, it is just an application that uses resources. This means, that the phone’s processor has to execute more tasks, there is an increase in mobile data usage and an increase in battery usage. When the processor and battery are used to the maximum, the phone’s temperature usually rises.

secure mobile

Spying software sends the information collected over the internet. Thus, the usage of mobile data doubles. These indications can tell us if our device is infected with malware.

Spying on the spies

The methods for dealing with spying are often the same as spying is executed using software. The first method is to check the applications that are installed on the device. Any application that is not installed by the owner must be considered suspicious.

secure mobile

If the software is presented as a system application in order to avoid being detected, an online search for certified system applications of the device can give us the answer. Otherwise it is necessary to reset the phone to factory settings. This will erase all data and the mobile will return to its original secure state. Generally, if the origin of a file, message or application is not known, we should immediately delete it from our device or not download it at all.

Article written by Themis Georgiadis, Software engineer with expertise in web technologies.
Find a version of the article in Greek here

Why Life in Athens is Attractive to Remote Workers?

Life in Athens is exciting. If you don’t go to neighborhoods like Acropolis or Plaka you will find yourself exposed to the local people and culture, while living in the center of the city is affordable and not a status quo indicator.

That was the reason why Paulin chose Athens as his base over other European cities. Paulin is a young full-stack developer from France who switched to a remote working lifestyle and he joined our space to share workspace and to meetup with other residents.

work remotely

Life in Athens is Different

Having worked and lived in several capital cities like Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, and Athens, Athens was the one to win him by comparison. Despite its rich history and many sightseeing opportunities Athens still remains affordable without losing its authenticity, even in the city center. This is quite rare for a big European capital city, as most of them end up as huge expensive tourist traps.

What he finds attractive is the hectic way the city is organized, and the possibilities this imperfection provides. Due to its flawed nature, there are lots of organizations determined to reform the community and to create a functional environment for the various vulnerable groups of people. This state invites Paulin to dare think of ways of improving the everyday challenges and make a positive impact on his local context. Therefore, upon his arrival, he was drawn to pick a cause and become part of the change in need.

Following a Social Cause

Paulin discovered quite by chance Social Hackers Academy, a coding school, where they teach vulnerable groups of people, and that was a cause he wished to volunteer to. SHA aims to enable refugees, migrants, and unemployed people to develop skills in the ICT sector and consequently find a job.

He joined in October 2019 as a volunteer teacher of Web Development courses instructed in English and he thinks highly of the whole idea and execution. In a bit more detail, each class is composed of around 15 people, and while the preparation of class material is mostly taken care of by the organization, the instructor gets the freedom to approach the topic of the lecture by choice.

The class is practical with students using laptops during it, and the environment is pretty dynamic and well-organized with a substantial impact on the student’s skills and life.

It is truly fulfilling to see those people successfully following every lecture and being able to take advantage of the opportunities they get. Knowing that there are former students who have found jobs afterward makes it even more meaningful and fuels the cause!

Further Information about SHA:

If you are interested to get somehow involved too, your input would be more than welcome. Specifically, SHA needs mentors in Hard Coding, and Soft Skills, people to run Workshops and/or speak in monthly Meetups, Marketing and Communications specialists as well as laptop donations and any possible funding support. Feel free to contact them and talk to them in person.

Meet the Cybersecurity experts among us!

The new generation of Stone Soupers contributing to brain gain and cybersecurity! They have studied and worked abroad, and they are now back to their homeland contributing directly or indirectly to the Greek ecosystem.

Meet Orestis and Nikos, the Greek members of CyberLens, a company focused on cybersecurity and privacy technologies, based in London, UK, and Eindhoven, Netherlands. “Our job is to use data retrieved from research and apply them in everyday situations” they tell us. CyberLens acts and responds to the European Commission’s open calls for various topics that require a solution. They collaborate with several partners and stakeholders to bring competitive advancements to the European market. The fact that they now operate in Athens brings the opportunity for more collaborations with Greek partners and organisations on such projects.

Who is who?

Nikos has lived his life moving from Athens to Utrecht and then Brighton due to his studies and now he is back to Athens using all his knowledge and experience. Nikos speaks Greek, English and Italian and may help you if you need any clarification on the concepts of cybersecurity and privacy issues while browsing on the web. His passion is to scan research projects and deduct useful outcomes that can be utilised in the proposals they are working on. He thinks the most accurate approach of cybersecurity in filmography is Citizenfour, a national security documentation with Edward Snowden regarding one of the biggest news stories of our time.

research cybersecurity
cybersecurity

Orestis has studied and worked in England for 4 years and returned back to the Greek capital a year ago. Orestis speaks Greek, English and German. He is a master of disaster regarding all cybersecurity and privacy topics and when he is not busy saving the world, he is dancing latin dances! Orestis considers the way hacking is depicted on screen as misinformation. He agrees with Nikos’ view of Citizenfour, and he adds Zero Days documentary to the list.

Tips from Cybersecurity experts

Being involved professionally with the web often makes you the ambassador of its proper and safe use among your company. Here are some tricks Nikos and Orestis shared with us on how you can protect yourselves when using the web.

  • Security incidents usually happen when you try to avoid paying for an online product (e.g. illegally downloading a game, streaming a movie/tv-series from non-official provider). But, hey! You know what they say; “if you don’t pay for a product, usually you are the product”. So, you better thoroughly consider the risks before you act.
  • When you create a password it is better not to use information such as date of birth, because they are very easily traceable. Instead, you could use password managers or use medium length sentences; such as “switch off the led lights tonight”.
  • And last but not least, try not to use the same password for all your accounts. But everybody knows that..right?..right! hmm..! Well, yes, it is wise to have that in mind as it makes us extremely vulnerable if one of our accounts is part of breach (such as the ones we hear on the news..).