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5 Best Ways To Protect Your Computer From Ransomware

5 Best Ways To Protect Your Computer From Ransomware

No malicious software is potentially as harmful as ransomware. This malware variety is used by notorious cyber criminals to intrude computers and gain access to sensitive data, which are then held ransom with the intention to extort money from the victim. While many people gladly oblige with the attackers demands to get back their files, there is no guarantee that they would in fact get what was promised after the payment has been made. The use of ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular way of extorting money due to the sheer negligence of consumers and companies.

There is a variety of ransomware that can intrude a system and exploit the vulnerabilities to install itself silently on the victim’s computer. This guide will teach you how to protect your computer from these threats so that your system does not fall victim to this harrowing ordeal. Here are 5 best ways to protect your computer from ransomware.

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1. Regularly backup your data.

The best thing you can do to prevent ransomware infection is regularly backup your data. Many a time, the attackers take control of the user’s files leaving them no choice but to give in to their demands. If you have important data stored in a safe location such as in an external hard drive, USB pen drive, or CD/DVDs, you can get back your data from backup storage location and avoid being hassled.

Cloud-based platforms are also a great option for storing data to secure servers without spending extra money on buying physical drives.

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2. Double check email identity.

If you receive any unexpected mail from a new or suspicious address, it is best to verify its legitimacy before downloading any attachment or complying with any request made by the sender. It doesn’t matter if the email comes from your bank or a personal contact; be sure to get in touch with them personally to enquire if indeed they have sent the mail. Do not solely rely on the virtue of relationships because your family or friends may also fall prey to spammers and hackers, who might be using their guise to deceive you.

3. Filter .pdf and .exe files.

Most executable malware, viruses, and ransomware come in either in. pdf or. exe file extensions. It would be easier to spot suspicious files if you have the default Windows option “hide known file extensions” turned off because then you’ll be able to see the files full extension. Also, do not download any .exe file from emails coming from a new or suspicious address just to be on the safer side. The better option to legitimately exchange executable files is via password protected zip files or through cloud services.

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4. Have good antivirus software in handy.

Take the best protection you can by having both anti-malware and antivirus firewall installed on your computer. The firewall would help in identifying and filtering known suspicious files and other malicious behavior that would otherwise go unrecognized.

If the firewall fails for any reason, the anti-malware tool will be there to detect anomalies and eliminate the suspicious files that can potentially harm your computer. Since malware authors use a variety of methods to avoid detection, it is crucial that you keep your malware and virus protection tools up to date for an additional layer of security against attacks.

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5. Avoid visiting suspicious sites.

You’ve heard it numerous times how visiting suspicious and illegal sites can harm your computer, but still decided to do it anyway. Well, you may have got lucky last time, but it is best that you don’t try and push your luck further because it is bound to run out sooner or later. There is no lack of malicious sites on the web operated by hackers with the sole intention of stealing data from the visitor’s computer. Ransomware may also be transmitted the same way, through a website that may ask you to use a plug-in in order to play a video or download an executable file to run a program.

So, be careful about the websites you visit and download files only from trusted sources. Again, a reputable antivirus firewall can help you in this scenario by notifying you about the legitimacy of a particular website.

Featured photo credit: Wikipedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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