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What Do Investment Bankers Do?

The daily life of an i-Banker

Written by

CFI Team

Published August 28, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

So, What Do Investment Bankers Do?

Well, yes, indeed, investment bankers do invest. However, it’s a little more complicated than that…

Investment banking is one of the most prestigious professions on Wall Street. Although it features some of the most coveted and financially rewarding positions in the banking industry, investment banking is also one of the most challenging and difficult career paths, noted for being characterized by long working hours and high levels of stress.

It’s not unusual for investment banking analysts or associates to put in 80 to 100 hours of work a week. (Of course, it’s not quite as horrific as some might lead you to believe – it’s not like investment bankers work 80 to 100 hours every week).

There’s quite a bit of confusion – combined with not much actual information – regarding the field of investment banking. Most people are probably at least familiar with, have at least heard the phrase “investment banking”, but don’t really have a clear idea in their minds of what investment banking entails, other than perhaps the vaguest of notions that investing and banking are somehow involved.

In this article we’re going to demystify investment banking, explaining as plainly and simply as possible just what it is that investment bankers do.

What Do Investment Bankers Do – Stock and Bond Offerings

Before getting into what the individuals in various job positions at an investment bank do, let’s first clarify the financial services that investment banks provide.

Investment banks exist primarily to facilitate capital funding through investment in either corporations or government entities such as municipalities or states. Investment banks work to provide such organizations with financing through activities such as underwriting (which basically just means finding buyers or investors) the issuance of stock or bonds. When you hear that a company is going public and offering stock shares to investors for the first time through an “initial public offering” (IPO), an investment bank is typically the entity handling the IPO.

In managing an IPO, an investment bank is responsible for creating a prospectus that explains the company and the terms of the stock offering, handling all necessary legal and compliance issues with the appropriate financial regulatory body, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and setting the initial stock price at a level that will hopefully attract sufficient investment to obtain the financing that the company wants or needs.

Determining IPO stock prices can be a tricky business, as the investment bank has to strike a delicate balance in pegging an optimal price that will provide maximum funding for their client company while also attracting a maximum number of investors. Price the stock too high and it may fail to attract sufficient investors; price the stock too low and it may fail to provide a sufficient amount of capital.

When handling bond offerings, investment banks provide client services similar to those for an IPO, and again the key element is pricing which, in the case of bonds, is determined by the interest rate offered.  Understanding underwriting is a big part of understanding, “What do investment bankers do?”

What Do Investment Bankers Do – Mergers and Acquisitions

Investment banks also assist clients in transactions such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) where one company seeks to acquire another or when a company is offered for sale. The company valuations that investment banks produce typically determine what one company is willing to pay for another.

What Do Investment Bankers Do – Jobs and titles in Investment Banking

It’s probably already easy to see that investment banking is not just a single job. Rather, it is a business, within the banking industry, that includes a number of jobs.  Looking at job titles will further answer the question of, “what do investment bankers do?”

Admittedly, things can get a bit confusing, since virtually anyone, other than clerical support staff, who works at an investment bank will usually describe themselves as “an investment banker”, regardless of their specific job title.

1. Analysts and Associates

Analysts are typically recent college graduates or individuals who may have some financial industry work experience, but who are new to investment banking. Analysts can usually work their way up to becoming associates within three or four years, although doing so may require not only gaining work experience but additional education as well. Most investment banks prefer their associates to have an MBA or other graduate degree related to finance.

Analysts and associates generally split the “grunt” work of investment banking – doing basic research and producing endless reports that are typically sent back down by vice presidents or directors for endless revisions. They are also responsible for putting together what are called “pitch books”.

An investment banking pitch book is pretty much what it sounds like; a “book” (i.e., lengthy report or presentation) designed to pitch the bank’s services to new or existing clients. Pitch books are used by directors or managing directors as handy reference guides and visual aids when making sales pitches to clients.

For example, a pitch book for a proposed IPO basically attempts to lay out how the bank will help the company considering the IPO to realize more money than it could ever have imagined possible. To buttress the bank’s argument, a pitch book will often recount how successfully it handled the IPO of a similar company. However, just to cover its bases and avoid unrealistic expectations, the pitch book will also present numerous scenarios of various possible outcomes for the IPO, courtesy of numerous projections run by analysts or associates.

Keys to success as an analyst are not complaining, fetching coffee and snack orders properly, always giving your supervisor all the credit, and learning how to stay out of the line of fire when something goes wrong.

Associates are counted on to possess all the skills of analysts and to additionally be able to generate solid discounted cash flow (DCF) valuations of companies, arrange meetings with clients, price new offerings, and produce (with the help of analysts doing all the hard work) weekly newsletters.

Keys to being a successful associate, and hopefully moving on to a vice president or director position as soon as possible, include making sure the analysts don’t screw anything up, being able to successfully cultivate personal relationships with clients, always giving your supervisor all the credit, and the ability to present bad news in a way that makes it sound not quite so bad.

2. Vice Presidents, Directors, and Managing Directors

Vice presidents are middle management personnel at an investment bank, who usually directly supervise the analysts and associates. They have more direct contact with clients than the analysts and associates, who are typically hidden away in the back of the office.

Directors represent the next rung up the ladder. In addition to supervising teams in their area of specialization, they are more actively involved in soliciting clients and handling client relationships. Directors are often responsible for deciding on the structure for a specific capital funding deal, such as whether it will be pursued through an equity or a debt offering.

At the top of the investment banking hierarchy are managing directors. Managing directors are the firm’s principal “salespeople,” tasked primarily with attracting new clients. They also serve as the main contact person for key existing clients. In that capacity, their job is to (A) keep existing clients happy, so as to retain their business, and (B) suggest possible new undertakings to clients, such as an acquisition, that will generate additional revenues for the investment bank.

From the Bottom Rungs to the Top of the Investment Bank Corporate Ladder

To sum things up, as you move up the corporate ladder at an investment bank, you generally move away from having to do the labor-intensive tasks such as research and generating reports, and more toward handling the marketing and people-skills tasks of cultivating relationships with clients.

In addition to work being divided by the basic types of tasks assigned to different job titles within an investment bank, one can also view the work done by investment bankers according to the general area of investment banking that different endeavors fall under.  We are now getting closer to understanding “what do investment bankers do?”

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Investment Banking Work by Division – Industry Coverage Work

Most investment banks divide their staff into working groups assigned to cover specific industries or market sectors. Each industry coverage group is headed by a managing director overseeing a team of directors, vice presidents, associates, and analysts, whose overall job is to continually be on top of news, trends, and key companies within their assigned industry.

The industry group’s job is to solicit new client business and service existing clients within their assigned sector of the market. Tasks include presenting pitches and ideas to clients, preparing pitch books, writing industry reports, and executing transactions.

Separate individual teams are usually assembled within an industry coverage group to handle specific projects for clients. Alternatively, specific projects may be assigned to teams of managing directors, directors, vice presidents, associates, and analysts within the appropriate divisions of either “corporate finance” or “mergers and acquisitions”.

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Corporate Finance Work

Corporate finance work in an investment bank is focused on helping clients obtain necessary capital for either new growth projects or simply to finance ongoing projects or operations.

Corporate finance teams aim to determine the ideal means of obtaining financing, among possibilities that include debt, equity, convertible bonds, preferred stock, and derivatives.

This division of an investment bank handles its usual capital markets work for clients, such as IPOs and bond offerings. Sometimes this division is further broken up into teams that specifically handle different types of bond issues, such as sovereign, convertible, zero-coupon, or municipal bonds.

Equity capital markets (ECM) specialists may work with specialists in other divisions of the investment bank, such as foreign currency or derivatives experts, in order to devise the most efficient means of raising equity capital.

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Investment banking skills

When it comes to understanding “what do investment bankers do?”, it’s important to look at the skills required for the job. An investment banker has a wide array of responsibilities, ranging from conducting industry research to tracking financial trends and handling a pile of administrative duties. The exact responsibilities depend on the firm, division, and industry category. Investment bankers should expect to perform the following activities.

1. Research and analysis

Investment bankers spend hours analyzing market reports and databases to get relevant information to aid in decision-making. The research may range from finding and comparing stock performances for several companies to building company profiles for reports. On a given day, they may spend countless hours finding the latest technology in healthcare, the size of oil fields in Nigeria, or studying emerging market economies in Asia.

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2. Financial modeling & valuation

Doing company valuations, performing financial modeling, and calculating financial metrics requires people who are good with numbers, and this is one of the responsibilities that investment bankers should expect to fulfill on a daily basis.

An investment banker needs to be an Excel Poweruser, and know his or her way around valuation multiples to predict company performance.

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3. Preparing Investment Presentations

4. Administrative Tasks

Apart from the usual responsibilities, investment bankers may be required to organize meetings, make travel arrangements, prepare notes, print documents, edit reports, and send updates to team members. On several occasions, they may find themselves making coffee, booking a restaurant for a group dinner, fixing printers, and running other minor errands. Some investment analysts call themselves “mini-admins” due to the many administrative roles that they perform every day.

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Summary of what investment bankers do

More Related to: What do Investment Bankers do?

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Fire Safety: What Should We Do?

Matthew Scholder (CAS’07), lives off campus

Matthew Scholder (CAS’07)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

I do think BU has an obligation to try and educate students about fire safety, at least if the students live on campus. Students should know their evacuation routes. I think the e-mails that the dean of students recently sent out were really effective. I know a lot of people who read them. I have smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector, but no fire extinguisher. I think I have a pretty good grasp of fire safety, but if faced with an actual fire, I’m not sure how I’d react. I use common sense. Students tend to think that we’re indestructible, but we’re not.

Lake Trechsel (ENG’08), lives on campus

Lake Trechsel (ENG’08)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

I think it’s a good idea for BU to teach fire safety and fire prevention at Freshman Orientation. Considering the size of the BU community, I don’t think it’s all that strange that there have been so many accidents. Statistically speaking, things are going to happen.

Daniel Fierstein (LAW’09), lives off campus

Daniel Fierstein (LAW’09)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

Carolyn Fryzel (CAS’08), lives off campus

Carolyn Fryzel (CAS’08)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

It helps to be more aware about where you’re living; a lot of people grow up so sheltered that they get into the real world and don’t know what’s dangerous. I’ve heard from a lot of people that this is making them want to move back to campus. I know that my dad really wishes that I would.

Tabitha Ozturk (CGS’08), lives on campus

It’s a personal responsibility; you should be able to take care of yourself. If your parents think you’re old enough to live off campus, you should know enough to be cautious and be responsible for your own actions. I think BU handled things pretty well in terms of showing concern and keeping people informed. It’s not the school’s responsibility if something happens off campus. Even if there was a seminar on fire safety, how many people do you think would go?

Jennifer Charles (LAW’08), lives off campus

Jennifer Charles (LAW’08)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

The bottom line is students need to be more aware of their surroundings. I think BU’s offering a lecture on fire safety or sending out e-mail about fire prevention would make sense, although there’s a difference between knowing fire safety and living in a safe building. For example, I think I’m knowledgeable about fire prevention, but there’s no fire extinguisher in my apartment off campus. I need to contact my landlord about that.

Billy Coscino (CAS’08), lives off campus

Billy Coscino (CAS’08)

Photo by Paul Heerlein

We all know we shouldn’t leave candles burning, but sometimes accidents happen. We make mistakes. I live in off-campus housing, and I think I know enough about fire safety that I won’t catch my place on fire. We don’t have a fire extinguisher, although our smoke detectors do work. I’ve never used a fire extinguisher, but I’m sure I could figure it out. I think responsibility rests with the students. I don’t think BU should make something like fire safety classes mandatory. I don’t think it would be taken seriously.

Philip Rosace (CAS’08), lives off campus

We have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher at our apartment. I don’t really know how to use a fire extinguisher, though. These fires were purely accidental, so I’m not sure how effective a class in fire prevention would be. It has good intentions, but I don’t think it would fly with students. We learn fire prevention when we’re little.

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What Do Various Terms Mean On Snapchat

Snapchat has developed its own language of sorts. It has friend emojis, chat notification, not to mention user lingo! If you too feel overwhelmed with this trove of information, we got your covered. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Snapchat jargon (terms, emojis, icons, etc.) to set you on your way to ace the app.

Friend emojis

Snapchat assigns different emojis depending on your interaction with specific users. These emojis appear next to the contacts name. A recent update now lets you customize these emojis to your heart’s content! However, in this article, we will explain what the default friend emojis mean.

Snapstreak ?

If you see a flame emoji appear next to a user’s name, this means that you have started a ‘Snapstreak’ with the user. A similar emoji will appear next to your name in the user’s contacts. To begin a Snapstreak with a user, both you and the other person must snap each other for three days consecutively.

Snapstreaks do not count messages; so it has to be snaps. The number that appears next to the flame emoji corresponds to the number of days you and your friend have consecutively sent snaps to each other.

Note: If you miss a single day, the Snapstreak will reset to zero.

Related: How to never lose your Streak in Snapchat with these tips (Snapstreaks)

Hourglass ⌛

The hourglass emoji appears if your Snapstreak is about to expire. A Snapstreak will expire if two users do not send each other a snap within 24 hours. If you see this emoji next to your friend’s name, quickly send them a snap. When the snap is delivered, the hourglass emoji will disappear.

Mutual BF’s ?

Characterized by the emoji with sunglasses, this appears next to a user’s name if both you and the user, have a best friend in common. The emoji will also appear next to your name on the user’s account.

Mutual Besties ?

This awkward emoji perfectly represents the situation you are in. Mutual Besties indicates that both you and the other user have the best #1 best friend. This means that both you and the user have been sending snaps to the same person.

BFs ?

This smiling emoji indicates that the user is one of your best friends. Snapchat uses a simple algorithm to determine who you communicate with the most (only snaps). ‘BFs’ doesn’t mean that the person is your #1 best friend, but they are sure someone who you communicate with a lot.

The emoji does not necessarily appear next to your name on the other user’s account.

Besties ?

This yellow heart emoji is a nice thing to notice next to one of your contacts names. It means that both you and the user are each other’s #1 best friends. You send the most snaps to this user, and vice versa.

This emoji appears beside your name on your friend’s account too.

BFF ❤️

If you have continued to send each other snaps for two weeks in a row, your yellow heart emoji will be upped to a red heart. This indicates that you have been each other’s #1 Best friend for two weeks.

This emoji appears beside your name on your friend’s account too.

Super BFF ?

This is the highest honor of Snapchat friends. ‘Super BFF’ appears when you have been each other #1 best friend for 2 months straight! You deserve the double hearts because that takes dedication.

This emoji will appear beside your name on your friend’s account too.

Snapchat Lingo and Terms

If you’re having a hard time keeping track of all the new Snapchat lingo, this guide is for you. The acronyms are not limited to use on Snapchat only, and pop up quite frequently on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, etc.


Women Crush Wednesday: This acronym is generally used as a hashtag accompanying an image of a woman that the user admires. It could be a friend, a celebrity, a sportswoman, etc. As the name suggests, WCW is usually used on a Wednesday.


Shoutout For Shoutout: Originating on Snapchat itself, SFS is used to tell another user that you would like to be mentioned in their snap, as well as mention them back in your own snap. This is usually used for promotions so that you can increase your visibility.


Screen Shot: This common acronym is now freely used on most platforms. However, because of Snapchats distinguished feature of disappearing snaps, SS is used to request a screenshot of a picture that you cannot view.


Snap Back: A snap back is when a user replies to your snap with another snap. The interaction by snaps is called a snap back. SB can also be used to request another user to send you a snap (especially if you believe your Snapstreak is about to break).


Whatever: Used quite freely while texting, ‘wtv’ is an abbreviation indicating that the user does not care about the matter. For example, ‘Do you want to go to the park?’ ‘Yeah, wtv’.


Black Lives Matter: A strong and powerful hashtag currently trending on most social outlets, BLM shows support for people of color and takes a stand against unjust offenses against the same.


If you know, you know: This abbreviation is used to stir up mystery as well as remind others who were with you. It basically means if you were there with me, you know what I’m talking about. It can also be used to check if people are on the same page as you.


Favorite, Thumbs up, Comment: While generally used on video streaming sites like YouTube, FTC has come to mean ‘subscribe’. When used out of context, it can mean, ‘stay tuned for more such content.’


Don’t wait up: DWU is used to tell another person not to worry about you. It can also be used more literally to tell a person not to wait up for you to return, as it could be late.


I don’t mind: This one is quite straight forward. It is used to indicate that the person is ok with whatever the other person is conveying.


I don’t even know: This acronym is used to express confusion on the user’s part. For example, ‘Do you think we’ll be going camping with this weather?’ ‘Honestly, idek!’


Better be going: If you have trouble ending a conversation, BBG can come to your rescue. You can use BBG when you want to politely let the other person know that you are ending the conversation.


Nevermind: Quite self-explanatory, this one. It can also be used to express disappointment. For example, ‘I thought the Mayor was going to turn the town around….#nvm’.


Rate/Date/Hate: RDH is used to get an honest opinion of a third party. Usually accompanied by a picture of the person in question, RDH is used to understand what other people think of that person. For example, ‘Sending you a pic. What do you think? RDH?’


F*ck with: This acronym has gained a lot of popularity recently. While it sounds aggressive, most of the time, it is used to indicate a close liking for something. For example, ‘Deadmaus is dope. I’d FW that for sure.’


F*ck you talking bout: This is used to indicate disdain or sometimes surprise about what another person is saying. It is a shortened form of the sentence ‘what the f*ck are you talking about!’ If used more literally, it can also indicate that you actually do not know what the other person is talking about. For example, ‘What smoke? I just got home, fytb?’


Laughing my a*s off: This old-but-gold acronym is still used today to express laughing at a humorous situation. You may have encountered the same acronym being used with repeating letters (lmaaao/lmaooo). All of these mean the same thing.


Just saying: Js is generally used to soften a harsh sentence. It is added at the end of a sentence to portray that the user is just being honest. For example, ‘I don’t think that color suits you, js.’


Tough sh*t: This acronym can be used to show pity or understanding of another person’s problems. It can be compared to the term ‘that sucks!’


I miss you: Imy can be used both, in sentences, as well as with a hashtag. It expresses that the user misses the person that they are texting. When used as a hashtag accompanying a picture, it may refer to the person in the picture.


Group Chat: GC just means group chat. It refers to a chat with more than two people in it. It can be referring to different platforms like WhatsApp, texting, etc.

Snapchat Notifications

Snapchat has its own indicators to let a user know what’s going on in their account. Use this guide below to better understand what different indicators mean.

Grey arrow / pending

The grey arrow appears when you send a snap to a person, and it hasn’t gone through yet. If you have a fast internet connection, you may not even see the grey arrow, as the snap will be sent immediately. However, if you have slower/bad internet, the grey arrow will remain, until the snap has successfully gone through.

It could also mean that the person you are sending the snap to has not added you as a friend yet, or has unfriended you.

Red square / full arrow / empty arrow

The red arrow appears when you have sent a snap (picture/video) without audio to another user. This indicates that the snap has been successfully sent. The red square appears when you receive a snap (picture/video) that does not contain audio. This helps the user know if they need to mute their speakers or not.

The red empty arrow indicates that the snap has been viewed by the person.

Purple square / full arrow / empty arrow

Similarly, when you send a video with audio you receive a purple arrow when it goes through. The purple square appears when you receive a snap that contains audio. This helps the user know if they need to mute their speakers or not.

The empty purple arrow indicates that the snap has been viewed by the person.

Blue square / full arrow / empty arrow

Blue indicates text (not video or picture). A blue arrow appears when you send a text message to a user. The blue square appears when you receive a text message from a person.

When the user opens the message to read it, the arrow will turn empty.

Msiexec.exe Msiexec.exe: What Is It And What Does It Do?

Msiexec.exe: What is it and What Does it do? Installs software or applications that are packaged as .msi files




Msiexec.exe is a part of the Windows Installer that helps in the installation of MSI and MSP packages.

The process usually appears in the Task Manager when you run a .MSI file or when it runs automatically as part of an installation process.

MSI files are designed for i

nstalling, updating, and uninstalling programs



To fix Windows PC system issues, you will need a dedicated tool

Fortect is a tool that does not simply cleans up your PC, but has a repository with several millions of Windows System files stored in their initial version. When your PC encounters a problem, Fortect will fix it for you, by replacing bad files with fresh versions. To fix your current PC issue, here are the steps you need to take:

Download Fortect and install it on your PC.

Start the tool’s scanning process to look for corrupt files that are the source of your problem

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readers this month.

If you have ever installed, updated, or uninstalled an application on your computer, you have likely used chúng tôi even if you didn’t intentionally run the file or know about it.

Without the chúng tôi file, you won’t be able to access the Windows Installer service, which is responsible for performing installation-related tasks.

When you come across the chúng tôi process running in the background for the first time, and you’re curious about what it is and what it does, this guide is for you.

What is a msiexec EXE file?

Msiexec.exe is an executable file core component of the Microsoft Windows system. It stands for Microsoft Installer Execution and is responsible for initiating, installing, modifying, and removing software packages that use the Windows Installer technology.

It uses MSI (Microsoft Installer Package) files, which are special database files that hold important information about software packages.

These files hold details about what files to install, registry entries, and instructions for installing and removing the software. When you run an MSI file or start an installation using a setup program, the chúng tôi program executes the installation process.

In addition to installations, chúng tôi performs the tasks of repairing, modifying, or uninstalling software on your computer.

Is chúng tôi a malware file?

The chúng tôi file is not malware, and it is considered safe. It is highly unlikely that chúng tôi would cause any harm to your system. However, malware can target the file to carry out malicious actions, just like any other executable file.

If you want to verify whether the chúng tôi file is malware, you can check its file location on your computer.

If the file is located elsewhere, it is a trojan masquerading as a system file.

To safely remove the infected file virus, you should start your computer in safe mode and then use reliable antivirus or anti-malware software to scan your entire system for any infected files.

Can I delete the chúng tôi file?

If you try to delete the chúng tôi file, you won’t be able to do so because you don’t have special permission from TrustedInstaller. However, you can gain permission from TrustedInstaller to delete the file.

In case you kill or delete the file, you won’t be able to install or uninstall apps because this file is necessary for the Windows Installer Package tasks.

Remember, while removing programs, reliable uninstaller software is often the best approach since it deletes any leftover files and Registry entries.

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Can’t Install Lockdown Browser? Here’s What To Do

Can’t install LockDown Browser? Here’s what to do




LockDown Browser is a secure browser used by institutions to administer exams to prevent digital cheating.

The browser blocks other applications so students cannot switch to another browser while taking an exam.

Users have reported issues when trying to install LockDown Browser, especially when downloading using Internet Explorer.

Struggling with various browser issues? Try a better option: Opera One

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If you’ve taken any online courses, then you’re probably familiar with LockDown Browser. This browser is often used to administer online exams that protect the integrity of the test.

Most instructors that teach online courses prefer to use LockDown Browser because it discourages digital cheating and forces students to apply themselves more throughout a course.

However, some users have reported the LockDown Browser is not installing. Follow these easy solutions for a quick fix. 

Why can’t I open LockDown Browser?

What does LockDown Browser do?

LockDown Browser has features that prevent digital cheating during online tests. It’s compatible with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle.

It also blocks other applications on the device so students can’t switch to another browser or application while taking their exam.

LockDown Browser goes to extra lengths to also protect the exam by blocking print functions, copy and paste, and screenshots.

What can I do if I can’t install LockDown Browser? 1. Install from another browser

Opera One also offers a lot of security and privacy protection features and will alert users of phishing or malware attacks. Users can browse and download files securely with Opera One’s free built-in VPN.

Many users that reported having issues downloading LockDown Browser were using Internet Explorer. Instead of rearranging the download preferences in Internet Explorer, consider using Opera One instead.

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2. Temporarily disable security software

Turning off Real-time protection should allow users to install LockDown Browser without any issues. Turn this security feature back on once LockDown Browser is installed. However, if you forget, Real-time protection will automatically turn back on after a short time.

3. Login as an administrator

Many eLearning courses and institutions require students to use LockDown Browser to take exams. If you can’t install LockDown Browser, we hope one of the solutions above fixed any issues with downloading the browser.

LockDown Browser gives instructors peace of mind when administering exams with the knowledge that the integrity of the online test is protected. Students can get more out of a course by applying themselves more to exams taken through LockDown Browser.

If you’re an instructor teaching an online course, check out our picks for the best online course-making software.

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Received A Bitcoin Blackmail Email? Here’s What To Do

Recently, there’s been a wave of spam emails that claim to have some dirt on you. They’ll threaten to release the data if you don’t pay up. To seal the deal, they’ll also post your email’s username and password to “prove” that they have access to your computer.

While this attack is very scary, you shouldn’t obey anything the scammers tell you. They don’t actually have any dirt on you, and they’re relying on the scare factor to get you to pay them what they want.

The Average Scam Layout

Typically, these emails lead in with a claim that the scammer has been recording you for the past few days. They’ll say that they’ve been recording your webcam feed and browsing history for the past few days. They go on to claim that they caught you performing some dirty activities and that it’d be very damaging for you if the information was leaked out.

They’ll then ask for a sum of money, paid via Bitcoin. The scam goes on to claim that the agent has software installed on your PC that detects when the email was opened and that you have a certain amount of days after opening it to deliver the money, else the hacker will release the data.

This sounds very scary, and it’s a nasty financial hit for the people who fall for it. Of course, there is no dirty data on you, and the scammer is making all of this up. If this is true, however, then how can the scammer reveal the username and password for your email address?

Faking the Scam Getting the Details

While the scammers don’t do any hacking themselves, they do depend on someone else who has hacked in the past!

You may have heard about website database leaks that have occurred around the Internet. This is when websites are breached and hackers gain access to the user database, full of usernames and passwords. Sometimes these details will contain the user’s email address. Sometimes the username is the email address! Either way, the leak will give the scammer two things; an email address and a password.

Using the Details

Of course, this password may not strictly be the same one that the victim actually uses for their email address. The scammer has to take a gamble and consider the fact that users typically reuse the same password over all their accounts.

They then take the email address and the password from the data leak and send an email to that address claiming they have the victim’s login details, revealing the password they got from the leak as “proof.”

Of course, if you have different passwords for each site, you’ll be able to see through this scam easily. You may even be able to tell what site the scammer got the password from. If you use the same password for every website, however, this scam can cause a real scare!

What to Do Next

If this does happen to you, delete the email and change your email’s password immediately! It means your login details are currently out on the Internet for all to see, so it’s only a matter of time before an actual hacker gains access to your account.

You can check which of your accounts have been leaked on Have I Been Pwned? This site is dedicated to collecting database leaks and informing victims when their details are compromised. You can enter your details into this site and see if you’ve been hit. You can also sign up for automatic alerts as soon as your details are hit.

Evil Emails

While Bitcoin blackmail emails are very scary, rest assured that the scammer holds no embarrassing data on you. They do, however, have your email address and password; if they managed to “guess” your login credentials correctly, it’s time to change your passwords, and probably use a password manager, too.

How good are your password habits? Let us know below.

Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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