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5 Best Ways To Protect Your Computer From Ransomware

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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.

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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 November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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