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5 Things About Ransomware You Should Know

5 Things About Ransomware You Should Know

In the past, random pop ups would accost an internet user with scary messages like “Warning! Your computer is infected!” while spelling out all the dangers that accompany the infection. This was just scary because most of the time you probably haven’t opened any malicious sites, so how? Well, that’s just advertisement turned up a notch. The warning messages are usually accompanied by call to actions to download or a buy a “cleaner” to help you get rid of the infection. The only thing you need to do to get rid of the infection is close the tab with the pop up, and it all goes away.

These days, the trick has gone one better and now bears a unique name known as ‘ransomware’. Like the previous malware, ransomware hijacks your computer too but it is different from malware. So, here’s a few things you should know about ransomware.

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1. What is ransomeware?

Ransomware is best relatable with the concept of kidnap in real life. Ransomware is a sort of malware that hijacks your computer or part of your important documents and prevents you from doing anything till a ransom is paid. Call to action messages here can be friendly like: “We ran a check on your system and diagnosed that your computer has been hit with dangerous malware. Our tech guys are willing to fix this problem for you for a little fee”, or it can be aggressive like “pay up or lose your hard disk”.

2. How to stay safe

Backup is one of the most reliable ways to feel safe. With the click of a button and your sensitive data will be up in the air. Sadly, this is not enough to save you when a ransomware program hits your computer, thus you should look to make several copies and look at backup products with ransomware protection

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3. What devices do I need to protect?

Computers running on windows and MAC are susceptible to ransomware. Windows is arguably the most popular operating system out there. So, ransomware developers target PCs and MAC most of the time. However, with phones and appliances becoming smart enough to run with operating systems, several variants of ransomware have been found to plague these devices too.

4. How does ransomware spread?

Ransomware programs are mostly spread via spam emails with attachments. Avoid clicking on unexpected .exe type files attached to unexpected emails or spam. You might also want to steer clear of unexpected attachments with .zip, .doc, or .pdf file types because they could be ransomware .exe files in disguise. Away from the emails, ransomware programs can be acquired by downloading and running unsafe programs that come in form of installers.

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5. How can I surf the internet safely?

It is hard to restrain yourself from surfing the internet with caution, it doesn’t feel right. So, the piece of advice here is to use the incognito mode – a method of surfing the web via a web browser which allows a user to hide their activities from other users on a shared or personal computer by automatically deleting all cookies and history at the end of each session. In dealing with spam emails with potential dangerous attachments, utilize the email filter to block these out and delete straight away.

One can’t be too safe in preventing malware, so always keep your antivirus or malware fighter software updated and ready to work. You might just want to pay up and get over the episode quickly when hit by a ransomware program for the first time, to avoid possible loss of valuable files. It is a risk you must take amid the possibility of being shammed, but don’t let your system get hit by a ransomware program twice. Seek out preventive measures to deal with ransomware programs.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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George Olufemi O

Information Technologist

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Last Updated on June 21, 2018

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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