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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 August 29, 2018

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

Journaling is one of the most useful personal development tools around. Not only does it help us process emotions and experiences, work through internal conflicts and improve our self-awareness, it also provides us with a way to keep a day-to-day record of our lives. Traditionally an activity limited to pen and paper, the expansion of consumer technology has enabled journaling to go digital.

Saving your journaling entries online enables you to access them from anywhere, without having to carry a notebook and pen around, and provides you with digital features, like tagging and search functions.

Here are a list of five online journaling tools you can use to bring your practice into the modern age:

1. 750words

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750 words

    750words is a free online journaling tool created by Buster Benson. The site is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; a journaling tool Julia Cameron suggests in her creativity course The Artist’s Way. Cameron advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

    750 words is the three-page digital equivalent (assuming the average person writes 250 words per page) and lets you store all your journaling online. Each morning, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to write your 750 words, and the site keeps track of various statistics associated with your entries. The site uses a Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the emotional content from your posts and provides feedback on features like your mood, and most commonly used words.

    750 words is simple to set up and is ideal for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a consistent journaling practice. The site uses a number of incentives to motivate users, including animal badges awarded to journalers who complete a certain number of days in a row, leader boards, and opt-in monthly challenges.

    2. Ohlife

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    ohlife

      Ohlife is designed to make online journaling as easy as possible. Once you’ve signed up for your free account, the website will send you an email each day asking “How did your day go?” Simply reply to the email with as much or as little detail as you like, and your response will be stored on your account, ready to view next time you log in.

      Ohlife’s appeal lies in its simplicity: no stats, no social sharing, no complicated organisational systems—the site is designed to provide you with a private, online space. Simply respond to the email each day (or skip the days you’re busy) and Ohlife will do the rest.

      3. Oneword

      oneword

        OneWord is a fun online tool that provides you with a single word as a prompt and gives you sixty seconds to write about it. The concept’s aim is to help writers learn how to flow, and the prompts range from the everyday mundane to the profound.

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        Oneword is not a private journaling tool: if you sign up, your answers will be published on the site’s daily blog, which contains a stream of users’ answers, and might be used by Oneword in the future. If you’d rather keep your answers to yourself, you can still use the tool for fun without giving out any personal details.

        4. Penzu

          Penzu is a journaling tool that allows you to store your journaling notes online. The service also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry, so you can journal on the go and save your notes to your account. The basic service is free, however you can upgrade to Penzu Pro and get access to additional features, including military-grade encryption and the ability to save and sync data through your mobile, for $19 per year.

          With either version of Penzu, you can insert pictures, and add tags and comments to entries, as well as search for older entries. You can set your posts to be private and viewable by you only, or share them with others.

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          5. Evernote

          Evernote isn’t a purpose-built journaling tool, however its features make it perfect for keeping your journaling notes in one safe place. With the ability to keep separate “notebooks”, tag your entries, include pictures, audio and web clipping, Evernote will appeal to journalers who want to include more formats than just text in their entries.

          Available online within a web browser, and as a stand-alone desktop app, the service also comes with a series of mobile apps covering almost every device available. These allow you to make notes on the go and sync between the mobile and browser versions of the app.

          For additional features, including text recognition and the ability to collaborate on Notebooks, you can upgrade to Evernote’s premium service, which costs $5 per month.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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