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A Guide To Avoiding Ransomware (Part 1)

Ransomware is malicious software that allows a hacker to access an individual or company computer, encrypt your data resident on it and then demand some form of payment to decrypt it. This lets hackers hold your data hostage – and hence the term “ransom”. Victims can regain access to their files only by paying the ransom, or by restoring from a backup that was hopefully not on a network that was accessible to the compromised computer.

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Encryption 101: Which Encryption Type is Most Secure?

Apple’s recent revelation about a U.S. government order to create a “backdoor” for undermining iPhone encryption will leave lots of people wondering which encryption methods are reliable. Here’s a quick run-down of which encryption algorithms to trust, and which ones are flawed. First, you should understand that there are three basic ways that encryption can be broken: Keys can be …

Smart TV Privacy: How to Disable TV Data Collection

You knew that websites can track you. But did you know your smart TV is probably doing the same thing? Most modern TVs are designed to monitor what you watch and report that information to companies. Fortunately, you can protect your privacy while watching TV. Here’s how to disable monitoring software on smart TVs. The exact type of information that …

How to Check Websites for HTTPS and SSL Privacy Problems

Recently, a string of attacks against SSL encryption have undercut HTTPS privacy on the Internet. Want to know if the sites you use frequently are vulnerable to these hacks? Here’s an easy way to find out. HTTPS encryption is a great way to make your online activity more private, but only if it actually works. Even if you have an …

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The Best Web Browsers for Privacy and Security

Which Web browser should you use if you are concerned about privacy? From Tor Browser to commercial offerings like Comodo Dragon to a DIY approach, there are lots of options to choose from. Keep reading for an overview and tips on finding the best browser for privacy and security. There is no one-size-fits all solution for private Web browsing. Instead, …

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How To: Choose a Usenet Provider

If you’re trying to find the best Usenet provider, you should understand some basics about the differences between different Usenet providers, and what makes one more private or secure than another. Keep reading for a quick overview of Usenet features. For a longer guide to Usenet providers, see our article “Best Usenet Provider of 2016.” But here’s the short version …

How To: Secure Your Smart Thermostat for Added Privacy

Smart thermostats — the kind that connect to your home’s wireless network so that they can be controlled over the Internet — are increasingly popular. But their rapid rate of adoption has far outpaced discussion of the security and privacy risks they pose. Here’s an overview of these privacy challenges, and tips for addressing them. The biggest privacy threat from …

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How to Increase Privacy on iPhones

These days, iPhones offer many more privacy features out-of-the-box than they used to. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to make Apple iOS more secure and private than it already is. Here are additional steps you can take to increase iPhone privacy. Disable browser cookies. Turn off cookies in the Safari browser. This may be inconvenient, but …

How to Get Around the Netflix VPN Ban

Netflix has begun aggressively increasing its efforts to ban users of VPNs and other proxies from accessing its content. But there are still some strategies that will allow you to get around this ban. Here are some potential solutions. First, a little background. In January, Netflix started making it much harder for people who use VPNs to connect to its …

Two Ways to Make Anonymous Phone Calls

Want to make a phone call without revealing your real identity? There are several ways you can do this, ranging from using a throw-away phone to restricting caller ID settings permanently on your smartphone. But what if you just want to make private, anonymous calls occasionally, without purchasing a special phone for it? Here are two solutions. Use a Caller …

How to Use Encryption Effectively on Android Phones

Android phones and tablets have come with built-in encryption support for several years. Since the Android Lollipop release in 2014 encryption has even been turned on by default. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your Android personal data is secure. There are additional steps you should take to prevent access to your data in case your device is stolen. Here’s what …

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How To: Make A Strong Master Password

As we’ve already noted, password manager apps are a great way to make sure your passwords are as robust as possible. But to use a password manager you need a single master password. And you need it to be very strong. Here’s how to create an excellent master password. Password Myths Most people think that the best way to make …

How To: Manage Passwords Securely

Passwords are often the only thing standing between your private data and people who would like to steal it. Creating and managing secure passwords can be difficult, but password management tools make it much simpler. Here’s how to use them to keep your data private. The best way to make sure all of your passwords are strong and secure is …

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How To: Access Facebook from China

Visiting Facebook in China is hard because the site is blocked by government censorship. But it’s still possible to visit facebook.com while in China. Here’s how to do it on any major operating system. There are a few different ways to access Facebook from China. Each has pros and cons. These are the main methods: Use a VPN. A VPN …

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How To: Protect Your Privacy on Usenet

When you access Usenet, you probably don’t want your true identity to be revealed. Nor do you want your ISP or another party to be able to monitor what you upload and download. Here are tips for using Usenet privately. Connect with SSL encryption. SSL is the best way to protect your activity from snooping because it encrypts all of …

How To: Choose a Privacy-Focused Linux OS

Using a Linux-based operating system can help you avoid many of the privacy pitfalls of Windows and Mac OS X. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular Linux distributions available, with notes on how they compare regarding ease of use and privacy. If you’ve never used Linux before, you may not understand that there is no single Linux …

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How To: Maximize Cloud Storage Data Privacy

Cloud storage services offer convenient and inexpensive solutions for backing up data and syncing it across multiple devices. But if you’re worried about privacy, there are steps you should take to keep your cloud data private. The best cloud storage solution depends on your needs. How much data do you have to store? How many devices need access to it? …