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How to Tell if your Webcam is Hacked?

You might not hear of webcam hacking incidents, but it isn’t new. In 2014, a Russian website was found streaming live feed of thousands webcam across different countries like the UK, US, France, and the Netherlands. Various monitoring cameras including offices, baby monitor, and computer & laptop cams were hacked at that time. The website had the listing of 4.5K from the US, 2K from France, and 1.5K from Netherland. It also had live footage from other small countries.

The hacker reported to BBC that he didn’t consider himself as a hacker as these webcams had least securities and weak password. Does this news ring a bell? Well it should, every online device is at risk and webcams reveals too many personal details. So we should always pay attention to the security of the computer so that no one could hack the webcam. The biggest question is how to know if someone has hacked the webcam. In this article, we will tell you a few methods to identify and some tips to avoid webcam hacking.

How is Webcam Hacked?

Hackers and cybercriminals take the various approach to get the access of your computer and attached devices. Their primary objective is to make a way to install a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) into the victim’s computer.

They try different ways of social engineering to enter this RAT into your computer. They might trick you with a spam email, bundled software, or webpage to install this malicious software on your computer.

Once the RAT enters your computer, it hides within system files so that antivirus and antimalware couldn’t detect it. Hackers use Command and Control servers to provide it instructions. They can steal your personal and confidential data from the computer, or they can give it the command to click pictures and videos using your webcam.

Thousands of computers have been seen infected with a single type of RAT. It grants access to hackers of your computer like you are using it. With such infection, not just your private moments are visible to criminals but with increased quality of internet and webcam they can have the internal architectural idea of your house and may use it for other serious crime.

How to know if someone Hacked your Webcam?

It is hard to know if someone is accessing your webcam and watching you. Hackers are smart enough to hide their activity and leave almost no trails of hacking. However, certain things could be a sign of webcam hacking.

Watch for the Notification Light

Almost every laptop computer comes with webcam notification light these days. Usually, it is near the webcam. The small notification light glows when an application accesses the webcam.

Check Webcam Notification Light

If you see the webcam notification light and you have not started any application that might access the webcam, then it could be a sign that someone is accessing it to spy on you.


However, this method of knowing webcam hacking is not entirely accurate. Your webcam notification light may glow due to a malfunction of hardware and software. If it is always on then, you can visit the service center and have it checked.

Webcam Process Running in the Background

Another sign of webcam hacking is the webcam process keeps using CPU and RAM even when you don’t use it. You can check in the task manager when your PC is idle and monitor all the processes.


If you see that the webcam driver is using processor power and you have not opened any app that might use the webcam, then it is suspicious.

Unknown Internet Usage

The other way to identify if someone is accessing your webcam or not is to look for unknown internet usage. If someone is accessing your webcam, that means it is taking lots of internet bandwidth. To check the internet usage, you can review the Windows task manager.


To open the task manager click on Cortana search and type Task Manager. Then click on Task Manager from the results.

Check Internet Usage 1

Now click on the Performance tab and check the usage. If you are connected with Ethernet, then it will show the activity in the Ethernet section, and if you are connected with Wi-Fi, then you can see it in the Wi-Fi section.

Check Internet Usage 2

If you see high internet usage even when you are not using it, then it is suspicious. High internet usage in idle time doesn’t exactly mean that someone has hacked your computer. Windows is downloading updates in the background could be a reason.


Alternatively, you can check the connection from your PC to the remote server. To do that, open command prompt and type netstat –ano and press enter.

Check Process ID with Connection 2

It will display all the connections established from your computer to remote server with the process ID. If someone is accessing your webcam, then there must be a connection. You can manually search for each IP in the Google to know more about the server. Also, you can match the process ID (PID) in the task manager to know which program is using your webcam with the internet connection.

Check Process ID with Connection 3

Open the task manager and click on Details tab. You will see all the process running on your computer with their PID. Click on the PID to sort it, and it will help you to match the process ID from the command prompt window.

Check Process ID with Connection

Tips to Protect your Webcam

For some people, it is not a concern that someone is watching them over the webcam, but some people consider it a serious invasion of their privacy. If you are also concerned, then follow the below tips to avoid getting seen through the webcam.

Cover or Unplug the Webcam when you are not using it

The quickest thing you can do to protect your privacy and secure your webcam is to cover it up. Use a thick color tape or sticky note to stick on it. Even if someone hacked your webcam, they would not be able to see your activity. You can also cover the microphone of your computer.

Cover your webcam with a Tape

Make sure that the tape or the paper is thick enough and blocks the view completely. Open the Skype or your camera app on windows and see if anything is visible.


Tapes are messy, they leave the glue on the lens of the webcam, and when you need the camera, it doesn’t display a clear picture. You need to clean the lens before using it. To avoid this hurdle, you can get webcam cover in a few bucks. Webcam covers come with a slider which can be used to slide the cover and use the webcam and then slide it back.


If you are using an external webcam on your desktop, then you can unplug it when it is not in use. The webcam comes with USB port which can easily be plugged in and out.

Turn off your computer when not using

Usually, when you are using the computer, you are just sitting in front of it. So it doesn’t reveal much of your private life. Moreover, when you are not using the computer, you do a whole lot of personal things that you don’t want anyone to see. So, it is a good idea that you turn off your computer or close the lid of the laptop when you are not using it.

Scan your PC for Malware Infection

Your computer or webcam is hacked when you do something stupid on the internet. There are lots of malicious websites and software on the internet. When you download or surf such sites, they can infect your computer with malware. Hackers also use spam emails to get access to your computer. They send infected attachments in such emails and when you download it on your PC hacker’s get access to your computer.

Remove Tech Support Scam 8

To make sure that hacker couldn’t access your webcam you need to ensure that your computer is malware free. Install powerful antimalware software on your computer and scan with it. MalwareFox is such a robust antimalware that provides real-time protection from malware. It protects your privacy by removing adware, PUPs, and browser hijackers. MalwareFox is the best choice for protection against spyware, adware, and cam-loggers.

Install latest webcam firmware and update to your OS

When software is outdated, the chances of getting a vulnerability exploited is increased. Hackers keep looking of such weakness to gain access to your computer.


Like other electronic devices Webcam also works on the firmware. When this firmware is old, hackers could exploit it to get the access. So you need to update the firmware regularly to stay protected.

Keep checking the official website of the manufacturer to know when a new firmware is released.


The same thing applies to the operating system updates. When cybercriminals exploit a vulnerability in your OS, developers fix the vulnerability and release the patch in the form of updates. So it is essential to install a security update as soon as it is released.

Be cautious with email attachments and links

The most favorite way of a hacker to lure users into the trap and hack the computer is using spam emails. The hackers could pretend to be a reputable organization like a bank, shipping company, the government organization in the email, and include such text that generates fear or curiosity. The attachment or links in the email leads you to download Remote Access Trojan (RAT). This Trojan gives hacker’s unmonitored access to your data.

That's why you need to stay cautious when you are reading emails and browsing the internet. Do not blindly download attachments from an email. Emails from the known people could have the malicious attachment. Cybercriminals could hack your friend’s email account and sent you Trojan. So confirm with the person whether they have sent it or not.


It would be better if you also are cautious while browsing the internet or social media. Do not click on random links on the websites and social media. Hackers could send infected links in your personal chat. So do not blindly click on links, if you don’t want someone to hack your webcam and stream it on the websites.

Do not install free or pirated software from untrusted sources

Lots of software downloading websites on the internet bundles malware with their popular downloads. When you download and install such a program, you are infecting your computer with your own hands.

It could infect you with spyware, adware, ransomware, cam loggers, etc. So, if you want your data untouched then do not download free or pirated software from untrusted sources. If you had to download free software, then visit the official website and download from there. Never, download a tool from third-party sites.

Summing it up

Paying attention to small details like the webcam notification light, increased internet usage, or high CPU and memory usage could tell you that someone is sneaking you through the webcam. If you want to secure your webcam, then use the internet with caution. Do not fall for some free stuff online and put danger to your privacy. Fake news or alerts via the email is also a big concern. Follow all the precautions and install an excellent antimalware that can protect you from RAT, spyware, and cam-loggers.

10 Best Parental Control Software for Online Safety of your Kids

Parents have several concerns regarding the safety of the kids. They had act like a spy to monitor the activity of children no matter if it is online or offline. If you are worried that the online dangers could harm your kids, then you should take help of the parental control software to filter the content, apps, & websites and also monitor the activity of the kids. In this article, we are listing 10 best parental control software to ensure the safety of your children.

The tools mentioned in this article are not just limited to the device level, but some tools monitor the whole network and connected devices. Circle with Disney is such a hardware tool that can be connected with your home network and it protects all the devices.

What to Expect from Parental Control Software?

Here are some things that you should expect from parental control software.

  • It should support content filtering
  • Helps you to limit the screen time
  • Should offer Safe Browsing
  • Capable of blocking apps and websites
  • Should support social media blocking and monitoring
  • Support instant messaging apps monitoring
  • Should feature online activity reports
  • Support Calls and Texts Monitoring
  • Real-Time Alerts of inappropriate activity
  • Should support various devices and platform
  • Affordable pricing

10 Best Parental Control Tools

1. Qustodio

Qustodio is the best and most customizable parental control software out there. This software can be used on several platform and devices to monitor the activity of your children. It works on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Kindle, and Nook. This tool is available both free and paid version. The free version works only on one device and has basic features, while the paid version supports all the features, and can be purchased for 5, 10, and 15 devices which cost for a year is $54.95, $96.95, and $137.95 respectively.

Qustodio Pro - Best Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Content Filter
  • Activity Reports
  • Screen Time Limit
  • App & Game Blocking
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Monitor Texts and Calls
  • Location Tracking
  • Panic Button

Pros

Cons

  • Filters content even for HTTPS websites
  • Settings for each child applies to all devices
  • Monitoring of text and calls on Android
  • Check Circle
    Strong social media controls
  • Check Circle
    Supports time limit for each app
  • iOS version doesn’t support text and calls oversight

2. Net Nanny

Another popular parental control software is Net Nanny. This tool is expensive but supports an extensive list of features. Net Nanny doesn’t have a free version, and it costs around $40 if you purchase it for one device either Windows or Mac. You will get support for Android and iOS if you are buying the license for 5 devices which would cost you around $60. If you have a larger family, then you can purchase the license for $9 per device. Compared to other software it is slightly expensive.

Net Nanny - Top Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Content Filter
  • Screen Time Limiting & Monitoring
  • Email Notifications
  • Mask Profanity
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Remote Management
  • Alerts and Weekly Reports

Pros

Cons

  • Remote configuration and management
  • Settings applied to all devices for a child
  • Email alerts and reports
  • Check Circle
    App management for Android
  • Limited iOS features and support

3. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Kaspersky Safe Kids is another excellent tool to protect your kids from harmful content on the internet. It supports multiple devices like Windows PC, Mac PC, iPhone & iPad, and Android smartphones & tablets. The tool comes in free and paid version. The free version only supports content filtering, app usage control, and screen time management. The paid version has the full long list of features. The pricing is also affordable, it can be purchased for $15 for a year and supports unlimited devices and kids profile.

Kaspersky Safe Kids - Best Parental Control Tools

Key Features

  • Content Filter
  • App Usage Control
  • Screen Time Management
  • Location Tracking
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Call and Text Monitoring
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Battery Tracker
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Geofencing

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable pricing with no limit on profile and devices
  • The content filter has the option to block or warn
  • Real-Time alert system
  • Check Circle
    Time limiting of apps and games
  • Check Circle
    Geo tracking alerts
  • Check Circle
    Text and calls monitoring
  • Limited functionality for iOS devices

4. Symantec Norton Family Premier

Another affordable parental control tool is Norton Family Premier. It doesn’t have the free version, but the charges are not that much high. This software doesn’t limit the number of devices and number of kid’s profile. You can get the license of Norton Family Premier in $49.99 for one year.

Norton Family Premier - Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Content Filter
  • Time Management
  • Social Network Monitoring
  • Privacy Protection
  • Videos, App, and Text Monitoring
  • Email Alerts
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Location Tracking
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Remote Locking the Device

Pros

Cons

  • Parental configuration applies to all devices
  • No limits on devices and profiles
  • Location Tracking
  • Check Circle
    Affordable
  • Does not support Mac
  • Times Circle
    Content blocking does not work on HTTPS sites on unsupported browsers
  • Times Circle
    All features do not work on all platforms
  • Times Circle
    Inefficient social media monitoring

5. Circle with Disney

Circle with Disney is a hardware level protection for your whole network. You don’t need to install the parental control software on each device your kids use. This one device will limit and monitor the activity of your kids on the whole network. Circle with Disney doesn’t restrict the number of devices and can be purchased for $99. You don’t need to pay the subscription charges on a yearly or devices basis.

Circle with Disney - Network Level Parental Control

Key Features

  • Content Filter
  • Time Management
  • Internet Pause
  • Usage Monitoring
  • Rewards System
  • Ad Blocker
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Safe Search
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Alerts of Time limit and new device
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Support Ungoverned Device

Pros

Cons

  • Can turn off the internet in bed time
  • Option to pause internet during a dinner or family time
  • Works on all devices on your network
  • Check Circle
    Easy configuration
  • Identifying devices with the name is difficult
  • Times Circle
    Limited monitoring options

6. uKnowKids Premier

Another excellent parental control software is uKnowKids. It is an excellent tool to watch the activity of your children on the internet and several popular social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. It also monitors the chat and calls on the iPhone and Android devices. uKnowKids Premier costs $140 for a year and Premier Plus Apple costs $140 for a year and $50 one time charges. It seems to a little bit costly, but no other tools provide chats and calls monitoring on iOS devices.

uKnowKids - Top 10 Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Calls and Text Monitoring
  • Apps and Games Monitoring
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Real-Time Notifications for flagged activity
  • Daily and Weekly activity reports

Pros

Cons

  • Active Calls and Text Monitoring on iOS
  • Monitors posts on social media
  • Alerts parents when risky posts and photos are shared
  • Check Circle
    Recovers deleted text messages
  • Check Circle
    Locating child and setting up Geofences
  • Does not support Android Tablets
  • Times Circle
    iOS tracking needs a regular iCloud backup
  • Times Circle
    Geolocation is not accurate
  • Times Circle
    Expensive Subscription Charges

7. Mobicip

Mobicip offers customizable options to monitor and control the activity of children on the internet. This tool is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Kindle. Mobicip offers full feature free of cost for one device. If you need to monitor more than 1 device, then you need to pay the subscription charges. The five device plan costs $39.99 - $49.99 for a year and 10 device plan costs $89.99 for a year. It also has 15, and 20 devices plan if you have a big family who uses various devices.

MobiCip - Best Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Screen Time Management
  • Content Filtering
  • Apps & Games Time Management
  • Location Tracker
  • Video Monitoring
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Browsing Activity Monitoring with Screenshots

Pros

Cons

  • Settings for a child applied to all devices
  • Online management
  • Supports various devices
  • Check Circle
    Daily or Weekly Reports
  • Check Circle
    Strong content filtering
  • Check Circle
    Weekly Internet Time Limit
  • No daily time limit
  • Times Circle
    No Real-Time Alerts
  • Times Circle
    Complex Configuration
  • Times Circle
    Delay in enforcing settings in devices when done online

8. K9 Web Protection

K9 Web Protection is a free tool to protect the kids from online dangers. This tool supports Windows, Mac OS, iPhone & iPad devices. You can fill the form with an email address to request the license key for free. K9 offers safe browsing by blocking harmful content and also prevents the access of internet after a set time limit.

K9 Web Protection - Tools to Monitor Internet for Kids

Key Features

  • Content Filtering by different category
  • Safe Search
  • Always allow and block website lists
  • Browsing Activity Monitoring

Pros

Cons

  • Free of Cost
  • Pre-set configurations according to the age group of the kid.
  • Can use the password to override a block
  • Doesn’t support app & games blocking
  • Times Circle
    Less effective monitoring
  • Times Circle
    Doesn't offer screen time limit
  • Times Circle
    Low functionality of iOS and Android App

9. OpenDNS Home VIP

OpenDNS Home VIP works like Circle with Disney and provides parental controls options for the whole network. It filters content and blocks websites with explicit materials. You need to set the DNS IP in the router or the device, no need to install software on every device your kids use. Home VIP plan is available at $19.95 for a year for unlimited devices. It keeps records for one year.  It also has a free version named OpenDNS Family Shield and OpenDNS Home with essential features, but it doesn’t have monitoring options.

OpenDNS Family VIP - Network Level Parental Control Tool

Key Features

  • Faster Internet
  • Customizable Content Filtering
  • One Year Internet Statistics
  • Can allow only whitelist websites

Pros

Cons

  • Works on All Devices
  • Reports on site accessed
  • A feature of blocking the website from the report
  • Check Circle
    Affordable Pricing
  • Doesn’t limit internet usage time
  • Times Circle
    The report consists of every URL accessed even that is not a website
  • Times Circle
    Reports are difficult to match with devices and users
  • Times Circle
    Doesn’t offer app and game blocking

10. KidsWatch Pro

KidsWatch Pro parental software not just monitors the activity of your kids but also helps you to block inappropriate content on the computer. The downside of the tool is it works on Windows PCs only. KidsWatch comes in two variant one is for Time Management which cost $29.95 for a year, and another is Professional variant costs $49.95 for a year. Pro version supports internet filtering, chat monitoring, and predator watch.

KidsWatch - 10 Best Parental Control Software

Key Features

  • Screen Time Management
  • App and Games Schedule
  • Content Filter
  • Chat Monitoring
  • Alternate Arrow Circle Right
    Email Alerts when Kids use a flagged word

Pros

Cons

  • Broad time scheduling options
  • Records and monitors chats
  • Real-Time Email Alerts
  • Check Circle
    Activity Reports by Email
  • Only works on Windows PCs.
  • Times Circle
    Chat recording can’t be turned off.
  • Times Circle
    Send email alerts even for Administrators

Verdict

The best parental tool for you is the one that supports all your need. First, compare the features of all these software and then decide which one is best for you. Also, don’t forget to match the supported devices that your kids use. I will suggest Qustodio for you. It has the most potent content filter and also support text and calls monitoring on the Android devices. If you don’t want to go with the hurdle of installing these tools on all devices, then the best option for you is Circle with Disney. It works on all devices in your home but also has limited monitoring capabilities.

These tools and utilities are just for your help to ensure the safety of your kids. At the same time, it is important to observe your kids and spend time with them. Create a healthy relationship with them so that they can report of any unpleasant activity like cyberbullying and blackmailing.

How to Setup Parental Controls on Different Levels?

Internet and computers are the best resources for your kids to learn new things and communicate. At the same time, it has lots of contents that you don’t want your children to see. Contents like porn, violence, rage can affect the kids in a long way. Parental controls are your way to limit the access of the internet and save your children from accessing such harmful materials.

In this article, we will see how you can enable the parental controls on different levels to ensure your children don’t slip on websites with harmful content, but let’s first see what parental control is and what are the benefits?

What are Parental Controls and its Benefits?

Parental control is your way to set some rules and regulations over the access of the internet by your kid. You can limit the internet access time and websites and can arrange to avoid certain types of content and services. The parental control is available on the different level, from the ISP level to particular services.

Below are some of the benefits of setting up parental controls-

  • Helps you to limit the internet time for children so that they can’t get addicted to it.
  • Can block websites with harmful content
  • You can allow specific sites that help kids to learn and grow
  • Helps you to block the social networking and instant messaging apps
  • Avoid apps and games that your kids should not access
  • You can monitor and check the activity of the kids on the internet.

Setting Up Parental Controls on Different Levels

Your kids can access the internet on various devices, mobile phone, tablets, laptops, PC, and gaming consoles. If you set up the parental controls only on one machine, then it doesn’t do the job. Your kids can access harmful websites on other devices. So, it is essential to set up parental controls on different devices and levels.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) Level 

Almost all ISPs offer parental control with their subscription. Some of them are free of cost, and others take nominal charges. When you set the parental controls on the ISP level, it limits the access to every device that accesses the internet. Some ISPs offer setting up different profiles to let you access the internet unfiltered and restrict the access for your kids. AT&T offers such parental controls.

Contact with ISPs available in your area and know more about their parental control software. Make sure to check if their software supports the operating system you have in your house. Research a little bit about the features of different ISPs parental tools to know which one suits your need. Some ISPs also have hardware level control that limits the access from the router, and you can access the settings with your device.

Operating System Level

Parental Controls on Windows Operating System

To set up parental control on Windows 10 operating system you will need Microsoft account for you and your children. Create the accounts on the Outlook.com website. You can use your account to set up the parental controls, and the kids account to log into the Windows devices such as PC, mobile device, and Xbox gaming console. When you set up the restrictions for the child, it gets applied to all the devices with Windows services.


To set up the parental account, you need to add the kid's account as a family member at account.microsoft.com/family


First Sign-in with your account and then click on Add a Family Member

Setting Parental Controls Windows 1

You will see a pop-up asking if you want to add a child or adult. Select the Child and enter the Outlook account ID. If you haven’t created the email ID for your kid earlier then you can click on “Create one for them” and then follow the steps to create the ID.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 2

Now you will see the list with your children email address. From here you can directly view the activity of your kids and set up the restrictions.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 3

On the content restriction page, you can set up if your kid can purchase apps and games on their own and if they need your permission. Here you can also set up to block the inappropriate apps, games, & media. Also, can set to allow apps and games according to the age of the kid.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 4

On the next section, you can allow particular apps and block apps that are inappropriate for your kids.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 5

If you scroll down more, you will see the options to allow websites and block some inappropriate addresses. If you want your kids to access some particular sites only, then tick the option Only allow these websites in the Always allowed section.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 6

To limit the access to the Windows devices for a particular time then click on Screen time and turn on the Use one screen schedule. Then customize the usage for each day.

Setting Parental Controls Windows 7

Parental Controls on Mac PCs

MacOS parental controls can be set locally, but it can be customized remotely from other devices also. The control lets you decide what websites and apps your kids can use and whether they can access the iTunes or App Store. It also allows you to limit the time usage of Mac.


You can access the parental control settings by visiting System Preferences. To do that, click on the Apple logo and choose System Preferences...

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 1

Now click on Parental Controls icon. If you see a message that “There are no user accounts to manage.” Then you will need to add a managed user accounts first.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 2

To do that, go to Users & Groups in the System Preferences. Click the lock icon and enter the administrator username and password.


Now select a Standard user from the list and then choose Enable parental controls.  You cannot set parental controls for administrator and sharing-only account.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 3

Then go back and select Parental Control again and you will see a list of options.


On the Apps tab, you can set the apps that you want your kids to access. You can block the webcam so that hackers couldn’t hack it. Also, prevent the access of multi-player games. You can limit the inbuilt mail to only contacts in the address book.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 4

On the Web tab, you can limit the access of websites for your kid. There is the option to allow all sites, restrict the access to adult websites, and can allow certain websites only.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 5

The Stores tab gives you options to restrict the access of iTunes, iBooks, iTunes, and App Store. You get the options to control the access to content like Music with explicit content, movies with age restrictions, TV-shows with ratings, Apps with age ratings, and books with explicit sexual content.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 6

You can limit the access of computer for a certain time on the Time tab. You can set a time limit for weekdays and weekends differently. Also, can set the bedtime so that kids don’t access the Mac at this time. It can be set separately for School nights and weekends. The log button in this tab displays the activity of your kid on the Mac.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 7

Privacy tab gives you control to the privacy of the kids. You can block the access of contacts, calendars, Reminders, Twitter, Facebook, and Diagnostics for the apps here. It prevents the location sharing by default.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 8

The others tab offers some additional settings for privacy. You can set the access of Siri & Dictation, editing printers and scanners, CD – DVD burning, explicit words in the dictionary, modification of dock, and use of simple finder.

Set Parental Controls on Mac PC 9

Services Level

Activate Parental Controls on Android Devices

Children love the smartphone, and they spend lots of time on it. It is essential for us that we set parental controls on the mobile phones also. To set up parental control on Android devices, follow the instruction below.

  • Android Tablet
  • Android Smartphones

Parental control is only available for Android Tablets, and it is not on the smartphones. However, you can use app lock tools to achieve the goal. Also, you can enable safe search on the Google search engine and parental controls on YouTube & Play Store. Instructions are in the next section.

Activate Google Search Engine Parental Control

You can enable Google safe search options to avoid explicit content like images, videos, and websites from the search results.

  • Computer
  • Android
  • iPhone & iPad

Google App

Android Browser

Android TV

Activate Parental Controls on Google Play Store

Play Store offers to set the parental control so that your kids don’t get to use apps not meant for them. The parental controls in the play store don’t get applied to all devices if you apply it to one. You need to enable it on all the devices separately.


You can set the PIN that will be used to change the parental control settings and turn it off.


Open Google Play Store. Tap three horizontal lines to open the menu.Tap the Settings and then tap Parental Controls.

Set Parental Control on Play Store 1

Now use the toggle switch to turn it on. The app will ask you to set a 4 digit PIN for controls. Play Store parental controls offer Apps & games, Films, and Music restrictions.

Set Parental Control on Google Play Store 2

In the App & games, you can restrict the app according to the age of your child and tap Save. In Films section you can restrict the movies based on the ratings as U, UA, A, and S, tap Save. The Music section helps you to block the music from the marked explicit content providers. Tap the checkbox to turn it on and then tap Save.

Set Parental Control on Google Play Store 3

Set Parental Controls on iPhone & iPad

To turn on the parental controls on iOS devices open the Settings app.


Then open the General menu. Now tap Restrictions.


Now tap on Enable Restrictions options.


You will be asked to set a passcode to use later in case you want to change some settings or turn off the restrictions.


Now you will see the list of Apps and Features that can be turned off. Use the toggle switch next to the apps and features to turn them on or off. If you turn on an app or feature, you can access it in the phone.

Parental Control Options in iPhone

Set Parental Controls on iTunes & App Store

You can control the iTunes and App Store from the Restriction mode explained in the above section. You can restrict the purchase in App Store and iTunes. You can set it to turn off or can set to ask for the password before making a purchase. You can also restrict the in-app purchases or installing a new app.

Activate Parental Controls on YouTube

YouTube offers parental control within its restricted mode. It uses video title, metadata, description, age-restrictions, and community guidelines to avoid the explicit content for the kids. YouTube also tells that the filter is not 100% accurate and some content with explicit material may slip. So you need to monitor your kids when they are using YouTube.


The restricted mode of YouTube works on device and browser level. So, it needs to be turned on for each browser and device. Also, if your browser offers multiple profiles, then you need to activate it for each profile. If you want it enabled for all people who use that browser, then you can lock it with the password.

  • Computer
  • Android
  • iPhone & iPad

Click on the Account icon with your picture. Click on Restricted Mode.

Activate YouTube Parental Control 1

Now use the Toggle button next to Activate Restricted Mode to turn it on.

Activate YouTube Parental Control 2

To lock it for the browser click again on Account icon and then click on Restricted Mode. Then click on Lock Restricted Mode on this browser.

Activate YouTube Parental Control 3

Then enter your Google password to confirm the change. To unlock it, follow the same process and enter your password.

How to Protect your Children from Online Dangers?

The Internet is the right place to learn and communicate with friends and family, but it is not just about good stuff. All types of people use the internet including criminals and sick minded people. These types of people keep looking for new victims on the internet. They look for people who are easy to exploit, especially children.

Cyber-molesters search for kids as they can easily be manipulated using social engineering. These fraudsters can lure your kid into sexual and criminal activity. They can use 'get rich quick' schemes and asks them to create fake Ids, selling stolen items, spreading fake news. Such actions could put you and your children in immense danger. Cybercriminals use kids so that they don’t get caught.

How to Protect your Children from Online Dangers

In this article, we will be discussing the dangers of the internet to your child and how you can protect your kids. We will also discuss some steps to take if your kid is a victim.

The Dangers of the Internet to your Child

Dangers of the internet are unlimited, in the United States 95% of the schools are connected with the internet, and over 45 million children use it. The study shows that 1 in 4 children have found unwanted pornography and 1 in 5 kids have been sexually solicited on the internet.  Let’s look at some common dangers to kids online.

Cyberbullying

Bullying is a serious issue, it affects the mindset of the kid and blocks their progress. The child may suffer depression, anxiety and in severe cases suicidal. Since, youngsters spend more time on the internet, the chances of bullying online increases. Physically there are many things you can do if you kid faces bullying in school and neighborhood, but there are less actionable steps in the cases of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is when someone uses the internet to harass the kid and make them feel sad, angry, and scared. It can happen in several forms.

  • Spreading rumors in Social Media and through chat
  • Sending threats and mean messages through email or messaging apps
  • Harassing kids with inappropriate pictures and memes on social media
  • bullhorn
    Stealing kids account credentials and posting inappropriate content online
  • bullhorn
    Sending sexual messages and photos

Webcam Hacking

Another type of danger online is hacking the webcam of the computer and recording the kid’s activity. Attackers could hack the webcam or connected devices and record the personal time of your child. They could upload these recordings on the website or could use it to blackmail the kid.

Webcam Hacking

Online Predators

Online predators are usually older people who befriend with the kids and make them do inappropriate things. Typically, online predators use popular gaming platform to communicate with youngsters. They share their experiences with the kids to build a trusting relationship. Predators can make a strong bond with teenagers using their gaming skills. It further leads the kid to do inappropriate things including sexual conversations with the kid.

Online Predators

Privacy Issues

Privacy is the biggest concern for your kid online. Youngsters didn’t know the danger of revealing their personal information on the internet, or simply they didn’t bother. They tend to create usernames with their real name and location. Kids are innocent, and they didn’t understand how much worse is this world and what could happen if they reveal the personal details.

Privacy Issues

Various social and gaming platforms are filled with people who hunt for this kind of information. They start the conversation with the kid casually and then start asking for personal information in the chat. It has also seen that teenagers reveal too much on the internet than mature people.

Premium Services

Another danger for the children online is the hidden charges of premium services. If your kid has access to credit card, it could be even worse. Lots of scamming website and games didn’t reveal the actual cost of the subscription, and when the kid enters the credit card details, they charge more than mentioned. Various games have an in-app purchase to let the kids spend money on features like extra points or gold coins. Your kid is at high risk of getting fraud online.

Mobile Payment

Malicious Software

Even the mature people are affected with this kind of danger. Children are much exposed to the malicious software as they like to explore various websites and software. They don’t even bother to download the app from the official website. There are lots of malicious software (Malware) that helps criminals to get the access to the personal information and all over the computer.

Malicious Software

How to Protect your Child from Online Dangers?

When it comes to protecting kids from online dangers, parents have shown less interest. Youngsters know internet more than adults this is the reason parents didn’t want to bother them. A study shows that in the United States 20% of the parents didn’t monitor the internet use for the kids at all. Only 52% of the parents moderately observe the internet use for the children. 62% of kids admitted that their parents didn’t know about the websites they visit.

With so much rise in the internet crime and children being number 1 victim, these facts are shocking. Parents need to monitor the activity of the kids on the internet and protect them from the online dangers. If you are concerned about the safety of your kid online, then you can follow below tips to protect them.

Put Computers/Tablet in the Public Area of the House

Put Computers in Public Room

Kids tend to use harmful websites when they are alone. So, don’t put a PC, laptop, or tablets in their bedroom. Put it in the living room where you can watch the activity of your child. Even your presence in the room stops children from doing nasty things on the internet. Make sure the screen of the computer is not towards a wall, and it is visible from the all the corners of the room.

Improve your Knowledge of Internet and Computers

learning computer and internet

Most children admit that their parents didn’t know much about the internet, so they can’t understand what we are doing. It is true if you don’t know how computers and internet work then how you are going to monitor the activity of your kid. If you don’t know anything about computers at all then you can join a computer class, there is nothing to be ashamed, computers weren’t in your time, so you have to learn about them now. You can also learn more about the security of your computers online. You can take help of search engines and type your query, and you will get everything.

Discuss Online Dangers with your Kids

Discuss Online Dangers

Now you know about the computers and the internet so you can discuss them with your children. They might not be aware of these threats, or they might know and didn’t care much. You need to address the outcomes of these dangers and how to avoid them. Your kid will feel open to discuss these kinds of technical terms with you, and it will also encourage them to report if anything happens online.

Set a Time Limit of Internet Usage

Set Internet Usage Time Limit

You cannot wholly block the internet, and you can also not leave it on all the time. Setting a reasonable time limit to the internet usage helps kids to focus on important things rather than lurking on unsafe websites. Set a rule and discuss it with your children and tell them how much it is essential to limit the internet usage. Also, ask them how much time they need. Then set a time limit and let everyone follow the same. It is crucial that you also follow the same rule. If there is a need, then you can put the internet router in your room and turn it off after the time limit.

Spend More Time with your Child

Spend Time with Kids

Spending time with children creates a strong bond between them and you. They will feel less urge to connect with strangers and pass the time on the internet. You can play offline games with them, talk to them, or can watch a movie together. Children love the technology so if you need a topic to start the conversation initially, then discuss a new game, website or other latest techs and see how successful the conversation goes.

Connect with your Children Online

Connect with kids online

Once you have built a good relationship with your children, they will not hesitate to connect with you online. You have discussed internet dangers and privacy risks, so you can tell them if they didn’t want you to see a post or picture of them in the social media then it should not be there. Please make sure to tell them why.

Tell them Things on Internet never get Deleted

Children didn’t know the complexities of the internet world. Teach them that they can not post identifying information like age, gender, address, and other personal information publicly on the internet and the reason behind it. Tell them that the information that they post on the internet doesn’t get deleted easily. Also, tell them if they are unsure about anything, then ask you.

Beware the Kids about Online Chat Rooms and Strangers

Unknown User

Here you need to apply the ‘don’t talk to a stranger’ rule even for the internet. Talk to your kid and tell them why they shouldn’t talk to a stranger. Also aware them of the dangers of the online chat rooms. Tell them not to accept strangers friend request and confirm with the person before accepting if they seem familiar.

Actions to Take if your Kid is a Victim of Cyberbullying

Now you know about the dangers and what you could do to protect your kids from it, but what if your kid is a victim of these online dangers. What would you do? Let’s start with how to know if the kid is affected.

How to Know if your Kid is Affected?

Specific behavioral changes can be used to identify if there is something wrong.

  • The kid suddenly stops using computer and internet and didn’t tell you why
  • Didn’t use the computer when you are around
  • Turn off the screen or a window when you reach near
  • Alarm Clock
    Seems nervous on a website or after receiving an email, instant message, or text.
  • Alarm Clock
    Take a low interest in other tasks even the favorite ones
  • Alarm Clock
    Doesn’t want to go to school or stop meeting friends.

Talk to Kid and Convince to take you control of the Situation

Once you know that something is wrong, then don’t panic and talk with the kid. Try to start the conversation with a cyberbullying story you heard on the news. Then ask them if there is something like this with them. If it doesn’t open the kid, then you can take control of the situation by accessing the history on the computer and smartphone.

Collect Proofs and Contact Parents, School, and Officials if Necessary

Take screenshots of the bullying incidents and print them. If it is a video, then you can use it digitally. Your first step towards this should be a warning signal to the bullies. Ask your kid to let the bullies know that my parents have administrator rights to my computers and they can see everything. If this doesn’t stop the activity, then you can contact the parents of bullies and tell them about it and how it is affecting your kid.


If talking to parents doesn’t help then you can contact the schools where the bullies are, show them the proofs you collect. Schools have strict policies against such incidents, and they take actions. After all these actions, if such activity doesn’t stop, then you can contact police officials. Take collected proofs with you and lodge a complaint, meanwhile, keep talking with your children to ease them that everything is going to be fine.

To avoid such circumstances and have better control over what your kid see and what not you can consider using parental controls. Parental controls are easy to implement and provide better safety on the different levels.

Facts and Statistics are taken from San Diego County District Attorney (SCDCA) website.

AdBlock Vs Adblock Plus – Which one is Better?

AdBlock and Adblock Plus both are used to block the ads in websites. These programs help you to access the services without annoying ads. It also helps you to avoid the ads that contain malware code. Both programs are supposed to achieve the same objective with different features. Here in this article, we will know the working of these tools in details, and you will also know which one best suits you.

Most websites use third-party ad services, which makes them unable to enforce the quality of these ads. They also use some improper ways to display ads like skipping the content until you watch the ad. They put lots of ads on the pages than the real content. It annoys users at the other end, and they come to use ad blocking programs.

AdBlock vs Adblock Plus

AdBlock

Michael Gundlach created AdBlock extension for Google Chrome. This extension was inspired by Adblock Plus which was available on Firefox browsers then. First, AdBlock was only available on Google Chrome but when it gains popularity on the Chrome platform the developer make its open to other platforms.

AdBlock is a most popular extension on Google Chrome store. AdBlock claims to have 200 million downloads. The ratings on the Chrome store for this extension is 4.5 out of 5, which tells us how much popular is this extension.

Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus was first created for the Firefox platform. It was the first proper ad blocking program for a browser. When its gains popularity on the Firefox platform, then they make it available for other popular browsers. It is an open source tool that was initially developed by a community of coders.

On Chrome store Adblock Plus claims to have 500 million users, but when it comes to rating only half of users than AdBlock have rated for this extension. It has 4.4 out of 5 ratings.

Features of AdBlock

AdBlock for Chrome offers multiple of useful features. You can create a whitelist of websites where you don’t want to block the ads. Also, when you click on AdBlock extension icon, it displays the number of blocked ads in Total and on the current page. Some other handy options can be accessed from here like Pause on the current page or pause on all website. It also enables you to quickly ad a page or whole site to the whitelist.

AdBlock Features

To explore more features, we clicked on the options button. The options page has four categories General, Filter Lists, Customize, and Support. AdBlock has a wide range of features and options. Novice computer users may not be able to grasp all the features. However, they can easily use the extension because it works automatically and doesn't require any configuration to start.

AdBlock doesn’t block all the ads by default. It allows some non-intrusive advertisements. The logic of introducing this feature is to help some web creators who don’t mix advertisements and content. However, you can disable this feature and can block all the ads entirely. This feature is available on the General tab of the options page.

AdBlock Options Page

Also, AdBlock adds some features on the right click menu. If you have to block a particular ad, then right click on that ad and hover your mouse on AdBlock and choose Block this ad. Filter Lists and Customize option of this extension is tricky and need expert knowledge to tweak the settings.

Features of Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus also offers similar kinds of features like AdBlock, but its options page is simple. When you click on the extension icon, it shows the number of blocked ads in total and on the current page. Unlike AdBlock, it doesn’t display lots of options for adding the site or page to the whitelist. However, there is a simple checkbox Enable on this site. When you uncheck this box, the website gets added to the whitelist, and it starts displaying ads.

Adblock Plus Features

The options page of Adblock Plus is arranged in a way that an average user can understand and change the settings according to their use. Like AdBlock, Adblock Plus also allows some ads to support the website owners by default. You can disable this feature by un-checking the box of Allow Acceptable Ads. This option is available on the General tab of the settings page.

The options page is divided into four parts General, Whitelisted Websites, Advanced, and Help. Whitelisting websites is easy here, we need to enter the URL and click on Add Website. Advanced tab is also arranged in a way that an intermediate user can change some settings.

Adblock Plus Options Page

Adblock Plus also adds a right click option to block an annoying image, slideshow, or video. If you see some annoying things on a page then right click on it and click on Block element. That element gets hidden from that page. However, this feature has some bug and doesn't work all the time.

Which one is Better?

Well, when it comes to comparing both extensions, they both are fully functional and feature-rich extensions. AdBlock and Adblock Plus support similar features. They both display statistics, and they both allow exceptions. However, when it comes to user interface Adblock Plus is better than AdBlock. The options in Adblock Plus are managed in a good way. So if you are a novice user, then Adblock plus is an excellent choice for you, but if you are a person who likes to tweak settings a lot and loves to have multiple options, then AdBlock is the best choice for you. AdBlock displays lots of options than Adblock Plus.

When it comes to the effectiveness, both extensions follows same filter lists to block the ads. The people behind Adblock Plus manage the Easy List that lists the ads to block and allow. Both extensions use the same directory. So, if one extension is preventing an ad, then the other will also block it, and if one is allowing an advertisement to display, then you will see it with another extension.

Performance wise, it has been noticed that AdBlock is a little sluggish when it comes to working on multiple tabs, where Adblock Plus is a little faster when you work on lots of tabs.

The Closing Statement

Ads are used to generate revenue online and offline; it is a way to earn the livelihood for many publishers. It is not right to block ads morally as many lives depend on it. However, many websites only concentrate on displaying advertisement rather than content. They follow illicit practices to maximize the click on the ads. Also, there are lots of sites on the internet who inject malicious codes with the ads. In such cases using an ad blocker seems fine.

There are also several reports that ad blocker tools like AdBlock and Adblock Plus receive money from big advertisers to allow their ads. This also does not seem right. Money can’t decide which ad is intrusive and which is non-intrusive. There should be a fair policy and organization behind this.

Lots of content creators spend hours of time to create excellent and informative content for users. If everyone starts using Ad blockers they will not get paid. In such situation, I can say we should use ad blockers on the websites that we don’t trust and allow others to earn few bucks.

What is Online Identity Theft and How to Protect yourself?

According to a report 16.7 millions of identity theft cases were reported in the year 2017. It was the record high than the previous year. Identity theft cases are increasing every year. With the rise of digitalisation of everything, now, criminals are targeting users to steal their identity online. For them, it is easy and sophisticated than taking someone’s identity offline. Security agencies aren’t yet appropriately equipped to catch the culprits of such cybercrimes. The best assistance we can get is to aware ourselves with this type of crimes and follow proper guidelines to avoid it. Here in this article, you will know how online identity theft happens and how to protect yourself.

What is Online Identity Theft?

Identity theft is when someone steals a person’s information and then uses it to become that person. The criminal could take their money from banks or can do a crime with another person identity. The real person could get arrested for that crime. It was earlier when criminals used to sneak trash cans for information. Now things have been changed in the digital world.

What is Online Identity Theft

Cybercriminals use several strategies to steal people’s information and then use it for their personal gain. In the online world, information is readily available. Cybercriminals could look at your social media profiles to sneak your data, and they can also infect your computer using social engineering attacks to get confidential information.

Below are the methods that cybercriminals use to steal identity online.

The Methods of Online Identity Theft and How it Happens?

The methods of stealing the identity are not limited, there are lots of ways thieves could take your valuable information. Below are the some common and most used methods of online identity theft.

1. Phishing

Phishing is when cybercriminals send emails to several users pretending a financial organization or government institution. These emails create fear or curiosity among the users so that they take action mentioned in the email.

Phishing

Such emails may contain an attachment. When a user downloads this attachment, it infects the computer with a keylogger or spyware that tracks every action of the user. Alternatively, this email can ask users to change their login credential as it has been compromised. When the user clicks the link given in the email and enters their current login details, cybercriminals get their hands on it.

2. Imposters

Imposter is when thieve pretend to be someone else and get your personal information. Hackers could contact you with an email or online chat pretending to be an officer or as your known friends and then asks for information and then use it to steal your identity.

Imposters

3. Pharming

Pharming technique is used to create a lookalike website that a particular user or group of user regularly use. Hackers could get into that website's servers or can get access to the domain naming server to redirect the users to the fake site. When the user enters their confidential information like credit card details, bank login details, or personal information, it reaches to the hackers.

Pharming

4. Skimming

Skimming is a technique to steal your credit or debit card. Hackers use a device that reads and records your card’s information. Hackers could swipe your card on the device, or they can install the equipment to the ATMs. Later they use this information to generate a duplicate card. They can use it to withdraw cash or can use it to purchase items in physical or online stores.

Skimming Technique of Identity Theft

5. Hacking

Hacking is a when a hacker looks for security vulnerabilities of your computer or mobile device. They use these vulnerabilities to get the access to your computer and then steal your valuable data. Hackers could also hack the networks and public hotspot to track your information.

Hacking Technique

6. Remote Access

Modern thieves try to access your computer via remote access so that they can look for confidential information. They may contact via phone call or email telling you that your computer has some error and they need remote access to fix these errors. Once you provide the remote access, they may install a keylogger to your computer that will collect keystrokes and send it to the thieves. This type of attack is also called tech support scam.

Remote Access Method of Identity Theft

7. Social Media Attacks

On social media, you can’t be sure that a person is real or fake. Hackers could create an account pretending to be a bank or insurance worker, or they can hack the credential of your friend’s account. Then they will contact you asking for credit or banking details. They can also ask for confidential information about a project that you and your friend are working.

Social Media Attacks

8. Malicious Software

Hackers bundle malicious software with legitimate ones when you download that pirated software. It also installs the malicious software on your computer. With the help of this software, hackers could sneak for private information, or they can track your keystrokes.

Malicious Software

How to Safeguard against Identity Theft?

There are lots of ways that someone could steal your confidential information. The best thing you can do is to follow proper guidelines so that there are no chances that a cybercriminal gets your valuable information.

1. Strong Passwords

Strong Password - Protection from Online Identity Theft

Your passwords are the first and most important barrier between your online account and hackers. It needs to be strong and unique. You should use a password that is difficult to guess even for the computer programs that hackers use. Use different passwords for different online accounts. So, if one of your accounts gets compromised, then hackers couldn’t get access to other accounts.

Choose a password that has more than eight characters, the more characters you include more strong it becomes. Mix numbers, capital & small letters, special characters in it. You can use anything that is on your keyboard. Do not include your personal information such as your mobile number, your nickname, date of birth, and address in the password.


If you face trouble remembering a difficult password, then use a good password manager. Some password managers also help you to generate secure passwords also.

2. Don't Share Information that meant to be Private

Keep Personal Info Private

The second step of stopping thieves online is to make confidential and personal information private. If someone calls you on the phone pretending to be an official from your bank and ask you to reveal credit card details, then this is where the bell must ring. Real bank official never asks for username password or card details.

Same goes for social media. If one of your close friends is asking for confidential information via a chat, then you should use caution. Hacker must have got the access to your friend’s account. Remember, don’t share such details at all with anyone.

3. Monitor your Transactions and Credit Report

Monitor Bank and Credit Statement

Monitoring your credit card and banking transactions are crucial. Make it in your daily to-do list. If someone fraud you with these then you can quickly catch it in the statement and contact to the respective officials in time.

Also, you should check your credit report from time to time. It is your right to get three free credit reports as per law. The credit report contains all the details of loans and credit card using your identification. If you see anything suspicious that you are not aware then immediately contacts officials to have it investigated.

4. Think before you Click or Download

Think before clicking on link

There are lots of websites on the internet that is designed to steal your valuable information. When browsing, don’t click on random links, they could lead you to a malicious website that may infect your computer with spyware and keylogger. Also, at the time of downloading something trust on reputed and official sites only.

Not all the emails in your inbox are legitimate and essential. There are millions of spam emails sent to the users daily. These emails are like putting the bait in the water and wait for some fish to take it. Don’t be a fish, verify before downloading an attachment or clicking on the link in the email. This attachment could have malware.


You can read our guide on online security of how to stay safe online.

5. Protect your SmartPhone

Protect your Smartphone

Your smartphone contains much personal and confidential information than your PC. The wallet apps, contact list, calendar, and even personal photographs interests cybercriminals. You need to make sure its security.

Don’t install bogus apps and never download an app from the unofficial website. Always download reputable apps from Play Store in case of Android and App Store or iTunes if you have an iPhone.


Also, install a strong anti malware that could protect you from modern thieves. MalwareFox antimalware is such an app. Its Real-Time protection immediately stops threats like adware, keyloggers, Trojans, PUPs, etc.

6. Check the Address Bar

https

Always ensure that you are at the correct address before entering sensitive information. Check the address bar and match the URL of the website. It would be wise if you memorize the address of your bank login page and other accounts. With this, you can avoid phishing and pharming attacks.

Check if the connection to your computer and server is secured. To ensure this, watch for https:// at the beginning of the address. The https tells you that your connection is encrypted and no one in the mid can know what information you are entering.

7. Install Strong Antimalware

Install Strong Anti Malware

Modern computer threats are evolving as they use various techniques to harm a computer. A simple antivirus is not enough for your security now. You need a security layer that is capable of dealing with these threats. Antimalware is your option.

Antimalware like MalwareFox provide you better security against threats like spyware, ransomware, keylogger, Trojans, Rootkits, and even zero-day malware. It also helps you to avoid risks that are designed to spy on you like adware, browser hijackers, PUPs.


MalwareFox works on a heuristic approach to detect threats. It first scans the potential dangers with the signatures, and if not match then MalwareFox uploads it to the cloud for behavioral analysis.  You can also use it with your current antivirus; it doesn’t conflict with other security suites and works independently.

8. Keep your Software Up to Date

Install Latest Update

Updates are crucial when a hacker exploits a security vulnerability of software; the developers fix this issue and release the update. So it is essential that you keep your operating system and other software up to date. Enable automatic updates for your operating system.

Conclusion

Online identity theft cases are rising, and if we follow the proper steps to protect our privacy, then we can avoid it. Following the above tips will help you to prevent such cases. Also, if you keep checking security related websites like VirusPUP, then you will be informed of new emerging threats. Knowing of danger and how it infects the computer can help you to avoid cases of identity theft.

How Private is Incognito Mode of your Browser?

Do you want to surf internet privately? If you want that no one could see what you did online and you are doing it with the Incognito mode of your browser, then you are fooling yourself. Incognito Mode, Private Window, or InPrivate Window doesn’t give you full privacy protection. The government, ISP, and secret spies still can see your online activity. Let’s see how private the Incognito mode is.

What is Incognito Mode and How it Works?

Incognito mode is a way to stop saving information about your online activity on your computer. Meaning, other users of the same device cannot know what you did online. It won’t keep your browsing history, form fill up data, and deletes cookies.

Cookies are small files that websites save on your computer. For example, if you visit a site and search about something then the next time you will visit the website it will access your choices from the cookies.

How Private is Incognito Mode of your Browser

While browsing, Incognito Mode remembers everything but deletes everything when you close the window. Remember your bookmarks, and downloaded files will still be visible on your computer. The downloaded file will not in the history of the browser, but the actual file will be in the download folder.

Various popular browsers support Incognito mode. Chrome uses the same name, Firefox has Private Window, and Edge has InPrivate Window. They all support the same features.

What doesn't Incognito Mode Do?

Incognito mode only hides your activity from other users on the same device. It doesn’t protect your business from Internet Service Provider (ISP), from your employer, and the websites you visit.

How to Activate Incognito Mode?

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Edge
  • Internet Explorer

To activate Incognito mode on Google Chrome Click on Menu button, and click New incognito window. Alternatively, to start it quicker, press Ctrl+Shift+N.

Activate Chrome Incognito 1

A darker window will open with Incognito mode. It contains the message, ‘You’ve gone incognito.’ Also, it notifies you of the information that gets deleted and saved data. It also tells you exactly who can still see such information. To stop the incognito sessions close the window.

Activate Chrome Incognito 2

The Privacy Issues with Incognito Mode

When it comes to privacy Incognito doesn’t do anything. It just protects your privacy on your device level. If you want that your spouse doesn’t know what you browse last hour on the internet, then it is the best option for you. However, if you're going complete anonymous on the internet that no one even Government can know what you did, then Incognito is not going to help you.

Your browser may delete all the browsing history and data, but still, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) creates a log of all your traffic. They can easily tell how much time you spend watching porn or downloading a movie on torrent.

Privacy Issue with Incognito Mode

The Government can also see what you did on Incognito Mode exactly. Either they will monitor your activity, or they will send a subpoena to ISP about revealing your log.

Not just the Government and ISP but the cybercriminals and hackers can also snoop into your privacy. If you are accessing the internet on public wi-fi, then hackers can easily track all your activity, and confidential information like credit card numbers, bank login details, email login details, your social media accounts. Incognito mode will not be able to stop them.

If Not Incognito then, What?

If you are seriously looking for a completely anonymous way to browse the internet, then indeed it is not Incognito. Some ways can be used to browse privately on the internet. Below I am listing these methods.

1. The Tor Browser (Best way to browse privately)

If you want to browse the web privately, then the Tor browser is your best friend. It makes you anonymous on the internet by hiding your true identity. It routes your traffic from relays so that the websites you visit don’t know who you are. It protects your real IP address and location by routing the traffic. There are thousands of relays worldwide running by volunteers. Tor browser uses at least three relays to route your traffic.

Tor Browser - Alternative to Incognito Mode

It makes you look same as other users using the Tor browser. Websites and online services couldn’t identify you. However, they will know that the user is using the Tor browser. Tor also helps bloggers, journalists and another person who wants to go anonymous over the internet.


The redirecting the traffic through different relays makes it slow, so it can’t be used to access online services that require a fast connection like steaming websites. It makes you anonymous on the internet, but when you log in with your username on sites, they will be able to identify you.

2. DuckDuckGo (Search engine that respects your privacy)

The popular search engines rely on your search queries. They actively monitor your search activity and use it to serve targeted ads in the search results. If you don’t want the monitoring, then the best option is to use DuckDuckGo. This search engine doesn’t track your search activity because they don’t have reason to do it. DuckDuckGo doesn’t rely on service ads, so they don’t monitor anything.

DuckDuckGo - Alternative to Incognito Mode

It has its own bot to crawl the internet pages and also it uses more than 400 sources to pull search results and quick answers to your query. These are used to enhance your search results and help you find exact solutions. However, DuckDuckGo doesn’t stop other websites to track you.

3. VPN (Best method to go complete anonymous)

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best way to access the internet without revealing your activity. VPN encrypts your connection and provides a secure tunnel for all internet traffic. When you use VPN no one can know what services you are accessing, not even your ISP. They will see that you are using VPN, but they can’t say what you are doing.


It is like a train tunnel or highway tunnel, people will know that some traffic is going through the tunnel, but they won’t know numbers of cars, their speed, and the destination. The VPN works the same and hides all your internet activity. The websites and online services will not know that it is you, they will only see the IP address of VPN that you are using which can be anyone.

How VPN Works

VPN also help you to protect your confidential information like credit card or bank login details when you use a public Wi-Fi. Even if someone has hacked the Wi-Fi, he or she won’t be able to read any details that you will enter with VPN.


Apart from encrypting your internet connection, VPN has other applications too. Suppose you want to access content like a TV show or Movie that is blocked in your country from watching. Then VPN could help you. You can use the IP Address of another country to access the blocked content. VPN is a blessing for movie lovers.


VPN also can be used to unblock the P2P traffic like the torrent. If your ISP has blocked the P2P traffic even if you want to share legit files with friends and co-workers, then you can use VPN. It makes your torrent activity undercover, and even your ISP couldn’t know what you are sharing with the torrent.


Among all these options VPN is your best choice if you love your privacy, mainly when you rely on the browser’s incognito mode.

Conclusion

Incognito Mode doesn’t do anything when you to try to hide your activity from everyone. Yes, it helps you if you are trying to protect your internet history from the local peoples. Your ISP, your employer will know everything that you do on the internet.

If you respect your privacy, then you should go with VPN. It encrypts all your internet traffic and makes you completely anonymous on the internet. Even, the Government and ISP will not be able to spy on you.

The Tor browser does the same, the websites and online services couldn’t track the activity back to you with your IP address. It routes your traffic through different relays and makes you look same like other Tor users.

DuckDuckGo helps you with your search queries. If you don’t want Government and big corporations to mass monitor your search activity, then DuckDuckGo is your best friend. It doesn’t track your search queries and provide you with complete privacy.

 Using all these three services at the same time ensure better privacy protection against all factors.

A Guide to Social Engineering Attack with Real Cases

Social Engineering attacks are getting common these days. Social engineering is usually taking advantage of human behavior. Hackers and cybercriminals use some common human feelings such as fear, urgency, and curiosity to fool users and revealing access to their computer, network, or other critical data.

Cybercriminals hide their true identity and intentions and present them as a trusted source. They use tricks to manipulate users to fell into the trap. It is easier to take advantage of user’s vulnerability than looking for software and networks weakness. We will look into social engineering attack in detail and how to prevent these attacks.

How Social Engineering Attack Works?

If a hacker wants to seek into any secured network, then his first choice is the social engineering attack. He first research about the network and user’s who have access to them. He will grab the information about the internal operations and employee hierarchy. Then he might try to mark users with limited access such as a receptionist, personal secretaries, or security guard. These types of users have low-security clearance, and they also have limited knowledge about such attacks.

Then the hacker will try to grab information about the marked user from shared information such as social media accounts. He can easily find the email address, mobile number, and other publicly shared data. Then he will use this information to personalize the attack. Once he gains the access of that user, he will use the same tactics for higher level users.

Some low-level social engineering attack is on malicious websites. It is designed to target a large user base who can relate to the message. For example, the site tries to tell users that their browser or software is out of date click on Update to continue. Once the user clicks on it, they get infected by malware.

Types of Social Engineering Attacks and How to Avoid

1. Phishing

Phishing is the most common and popular social engineering attack. Usually, email or text messages or voice calls (Vishing) are used to do phishing. Hacker sends personalized email to the user to create a sense of urgency, fear, or curiosity. For example, a hacker may send a message telling that your account has been compromised pretending a bank, email, or social media account representative. You need to reset your password, click on the link to reset the password. This link looks like the official website address, or it can be in a shortened format.

Phishing Attack - Social Engineering

The link will lead you to a fake website that looks just like the official website. When you enter your current login details, it will reach to the hacker. Such kind of phishing messages is sent to mass users, so it is easy to identify by your email service provider. They can identify such emails via threat sharing platform and move it to the spam folder. Thus, this social engineering attack is getting less effective over time.

How to Avoid?

If you receive such messages don’t panic, do not click on the link given in the email. Instead, visit the official website by entering the address manually. Check the address and match the signature of security padlock before entering your critical login details on any webpage.

2. Spear Phishing

Spear Phishing is similar to the phishing, but it is more personalized and targets a particular user or an enterprise. The hacker research about the target and collect information to personalize the attack. The hacker can include information like organization name, designation, and can impersonate as a co-worker.  Such details are available on the company website. A hacker can pretend to be a co-worker from other department and can ask for confidential information or access to the secured network.

Spear phishing - Social Engineering Attack

Another example is a hacker can send emails to one or all employees to reset their password pretending from the IT department. The format and text of the message look exact so that users don’t suspect anything. Such type of attack is less susceptible and has higher chances of success.

How to Avoid?

If you receive such emails from someone in your organization, then it is better to confirm before providing confidential information. Phone numbers of other members are available on the company website. If you see password reset requests, then match it with previous messages and compare the link. Even if it looks legitimate don’t click on the link instead visit the company website by entering the address manually and then reset the password from there.

3. Baiting

Baiting is similar to a phishing attack; the difference is, in this type of attack hackers create a false sense of greed or curiosity. Out of greed user take the bait and get infected with severe threats.  For example, the attacker could bait of downloading a movie or songs if the user enters their login details. A corporate employee can be lured with payroll file access or upcoming promotion file.

Baiting Attack

These kinds of attacks are not just happening online, but they can also be taken physically, for example, leaving a USB or CD on the campus of the organization where the user can find them. They can be labeled as payroll backup drive to create curiosity. When someone grabs it and insert into the computer, it can execute the malware.

How to Avoid?

The greed and curiosity is the prime reason for this kind of attack. Never fall in such type of trap especially when you have access to sensitive information. Wherever you need to enter your login details stop for a while and think about the necessity and consequences.

4. Pretexting

Pretexting is when someone builds fake stories to get the confidential information. The attacker befriends the user or creates a sense of urgency pretending some high official who needs information to confirm the identity. He could ask for social security numbers, bank account number, date of birth, secret information about your organization.

Pretexting Social Engineering Attack

The motive of the attacker is to create trust with the user with false stories. The attacker could pretend to be a bank official, police, or tax officials and ask the user to provide information to complete a critical task.

How to Avoid?

It is not easy to get away from such an attack, but if you have some sensitive information, then you should think multiple times before providing it. Also, you can ask from the other party to follow the proper channel to get this information, or you could directly ask for their identification.


On the enterprise level, to avoid such attacks, appropriate monitoring is required. If there is some sensitive information, then the IT manager should monitor who accessed it. If some unusual user tries to obtain confidential information, then necessary actions can be taken.

5. Quid Pro Quo

Another Social Engineering attack is Quid Pro Quo. In this type of attack, the user is offered something in return to release some information or disable the security of their computer. The fraudster put the bait of some service, money, free stuff, subscription to paid services, etc.

Quid Pro Quo Attack

For example, a fraudster can call or message users pretending a representative from a survey organization who is surveying how secure is your password, if user participates in the survey they will get $100. Another type of quid pro quo attack is, impersonating tech support executive. The fraudster can ask the user to provide free assistance to solve their issues if they turn off the antivirus and install a tool which is malware.

How to Avoid?

This attack is similar to baiting, where users didn’t bother about the security, and they provide sensitive information in the greed of some stuff. You should not take help from unknown IT representative who is asking to disable firewall or antivirus and asking for your login details. Also, never enter confidential information on any other page to get some free stuff.

6. Honey Trap

Social engineers create a fake profile of an attractive person to befriend the targeted user. They talk in a friendly way and create a false sense of relationship with the user and then trick them to reveal sensitive information such as passwords, financial details, or enterprise security details.

Honeytrap Social Engineering Attack

How to Avoid?

To avoid such a scam never share information that no one should know other than you. When someone asks for such information, then it is time to end that relationship.

7. Scareware

The scareware is usually a malware tool that scares users about viruses and malware and tricks them to download the fixes for them. It typically happens when a user has an adware infection or when he browse some rogue website. A pop-up generates saying your computer has been infected with the virus, download the removal tool to fix it. When the user downloads this tool, he gets the real infection.

Scareware Attack

Another kind of scareware message is displaying that your PC has some errors download the fix.

How to Avoid?

Don’t fall into the trap of this kind of messages. If you doubt any infection, then only scan with trusted antimalware.

8. Watering Hole Attack

A watering hole attack is when the attacker exploits a website that a targeting group of user visit. The hacker first observes the behavior of the users to know what sites they often visit and then they inject some HTML or JavaScript code that redirects the user to some other webpage. This webpage will further infect the computer of the user with malware to gain access to the network. This kind of attack works on getting this to get that method.

Watering Hole Attack

How to Avoid?

This kind of attack is difficult to detect and stop. To avoid it companies should completely block other websites in the office network, and users should not open any other sites.

9. Tailgating

Tailgating is used to fool users who have access to a physical location by letting the attacker enter the premises. The enterprises usually secure their network from outside attack, but if a hacker gets entry into the organization’s building, then it will be easy for him to breach the network and steal confidential information.

Tailgating Social Enginerring Attack

Such kind of attack usually happens when an employee or person who has access to a physical location opens the door by their access card, and someone else enters the premises with them. The attacker may impersonate as a delivery man and may ask some other employee to hold the door for him.

How to Avoid?

A person who has access to a physical location should pay attention that no one enters with them. The companies should install such entry passes that enable entering one person at a time. Also, they should establish and monitor CCTV camera. However, in real life, these are not enough. Companies should force a strict rule for employees to not providing access to anyone with their access card.

Cases of Social Engineering Attacks

Social Engineering attacks aren’t new; it starts a long time back with the intelligence of human minds. One such famous example is in the ancient Greece history. After several attempts in 10 years, Greece soldiers couldn’t penetrate the security of Troy city. Then, they adopt a misleading strategy to enter the city. They declare that they have lost the battle and left the battlefield leaving a big wooden horse. When the people of Troy city take the horse into the city to celebrate their victory, they found hidden soldiers who opened the gate from inside letting other Greece soldiers. Troy city gets destroyed due to this social engineering attack.

Now let’s take some real cases of social engineering attacks.

 2006

Steve Stasiukonis Baiting Attack to Assess Security

Steve Stasiukonis got hired to assess the security of a credit union. He wrote in his blog post about this baiting which is no longer on the website. He planted USB Flash drives infected with Trojan in the parking lot and smoking area of the organization. Out of 20 planted drives 15 were plugged in. The Trojan in the USB collected data like username, passwords, and other details and sent it via email. Steve said a little giveaway of flash drives reveals this much data that can put the organization in jeopardy.

 2007

€21m Worth Diamond Stealing using Pretexting

In 2007, a thief stole €21m worth diamond from ABN Amro Bank. The bank vault has high tech security system worth €1m still he got away. He didn’t use gun or violence instead he used most potent weapon his charm. The thief posed a successful businessman be friendly with the staff, gift them chocolates and gain the confidence. Then he got the original keys to make duplicates and the location of diamonds from the team. Philip Claes, spokesman for the Diamond High Council in Antwerp, said: "You can have all the safety and security you want, but if someone uses their charm to mislead people it won't help."

 2011 

RSA SecurID Breach using Spear Phishing Attack

In 2011, hackers did send two different emails to two small groups of RSA employees. Uri Rivner said in his blog post, which is no longer on the site. This phishing email contains the subject line as “2011 Recruitment Plan”. The hackers personalize this email in a way that creates curiosity among users, and they pull this email from the spam folder. The phishing email contains an excel sheet naming “2011 Recruitment Plan.xls” infected with a zero-day malware that opens a backdoor using Flash's vulnerability. Although the affected users weren’t high-value targets, it opens a possibility that hackers could penetrate the security of a company who provide security solutions.

 2013

Associated Press Twitter Hijack using Phishing

In 2013, the Associated Press (AP) Twitter account was hacked using phishing email. The Syrian Electronic Army took the claim of this hack. They sent phishing email with the name of one AP Staffer to different employees. This email contains the subject as News and in the message area “Hello, Please read the following article, it’s very important: and the link to the news was a lookalike of Washington Post. The link took the user on a malicious site making them enter their login details.

The hackers posted a tweet saying two explosions in the white house and Barack Obama is injured. Within a few moments of this tweet, the stock market dropped causing $136 billion loss in value before rebounding.

 2013

US Department of Labor using Watering Hole Attack

United States Department of Labor was hacked in 2013 using watering hole social engineering attack. Hackers inserted JavaScript into the DoL’s Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) website. This script redirected users to another website that downloads the malware into the user’s computer. The malware opens the remote connection on ports 443 and 53. The government didn’t release any information on how many computers were infected and whether hackers take any sensitive data or not.

 2015

Ubiquiti Network Scam using Pretexting

Another recent case of Pretexting is Ubiquiti Network scam. In this case, hackers impersonate themselves as an employee and sent emails targeting the finance department of the company. Ubiquiti reports this activity in their quarterly financial report submitted to the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). This email contains the wire transfer instruction from the other department which finance department usually receives. They didn’t bother to verify the information and initiated the transfer. This fraud activity resulted in $46.7 million of transfer into the hackers account. After this company was able to recover a few million but others were gone.

 2018

Quid Pro Quo Attacks

There are several malicious websites on the internet using quid pro quo method to exploit the security of computers. Some examples are – “Enter your Gmail Login Details to watch the Movie,” “Click on Allow button to access the content of the website,” or “Your website has blocked video playing, click on Allow to enable it.” These types of websites don’t target a particular user, but they are open to enter in any computer. When a user enters their login details on such site, his data gets stolen. Similarly, when a user clicks on Allow button, the websites start sending notifications of malicious web pages, which can further infect user with Trojan or malware.

There are several cases of social engineering attacks. Hackers use human behaviors to penetrate the security of networks and computers. The only thing that can help us is, always stay alert and observe the behavior of websites.

How to Remove “Click Allow” Pop-up Scam

Click Allow button pop-up scam is trending these days. This feature was introduced by browsers so that users can know when their favorite website publishes new content. However, cybercriminals are misusing this feature. They are telling users to click on Allow button to view the content in the site or view the video. In reality, when you click on Allow button, the browser gets your permission to display the notification from that website. Don’t think that you will get notified of some great stuff. These notifications may lead to a site that can further damage your computer with severe threats.

Usually, these kinds of websites start appearing when your computer gets infected with browser redirects, browser hijacker, or adware. This infection redirects you to such site. The website keeps asking for your permission until you click on Allow.

A genuine website asks your permission to display notification; they did not blackmail you. Click on Allow otherwise content will not be displayed. It is the primary characteristic of this scam. When you often start seeing such kind of blackmailing close the website and follow instructions in the article to clean your computer.

Types of "Click Allow" Pop-up Scam

The Click Allow button Pop-up scam is a type of social engineering attacks that trick users to subscribe for notification. These tricks can be any kind, but we have found three commons which we are listing below –

1. To access the content, click Allow

The adware on your computer causes the redirects, and it leads you to a website that asks you “To access the content, click Allow.” 


This kind of website also has a message in case you are accessing it from mobile which says – “If you are 18+ tap Allow”. Most users don’t understand the scam and click on Allow button. It doesn’t display the content but will make you view and handle the notifications of malicious websites.

To access the content, click Allow scam

2. Just one more step! ‘Allow’ to continue

The other type of scam messages with such website is “Just one more step! ‘Allow’ to continue”. Users think it is mandatory to click on Allow button and they click on it.

Just one more step! Allow to continue Scam

3. Click the Allow button to watch the video

The third most common social engineering trick to take permission of users to display notification is displaying the message “Click the Allow button to watch the video.” The website makes you click on the Allow button so that you can watch the video.


It also displays a video player saying “Can’t play the video! Perhaps your browser doesn’t allow video playback. Please click the allow button to watch the video.” They show it so that user doesn’t smell anything fishy. There is no video to play; you didn’t want to play any video in the first place so why to click on allow.

Click Allow to Watch Video Scam

What Harms it can do?

Click Allow button Pop-up scam does not just display notification; it is a sign of loophole in your computer security. Below are the possible harms this scam can do-

  • Display lots of notification and redirects you to other websites which ruin your browsing experience.
  • Can lead to malicious sites that can further infect your PC with severe threats like ransomware, Trojan, keylogger, spyware, rootkits, and even zero-day malware.
  • The adware causing the redirects could track your online activity and report it to its makers. Information like browsing history, search history, IP address, location, hardware, and software is at stake.
  • Crosshairs
    It eats lots of RAM and processor which make your PC slow to respond.

How to Stop Notification Pop-ups in the Browsers

You can stop Click Allow to show notification request from the browsers. Follow the below steps to block it –

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

Click on Menu button and then click on Settings

Stop Click Allow Notification from Chrome 1

Scroll down and click on the Advanced button

Stop Click Allow Notification Scam from Chrome 2

Now click on Content settings under Privacy and security section.

Stop Click Allow Notification Scam from Chrome 3

Content settings will open now click on Notifications.

Stop Click Allow Notification from Chrome 4

Now slide the toggle button to left so that it comes to Blocked instead of Ask before sending (recommended)

Stop Click Allow Notification from Chrome 5

The websites you have already permitted to display notification will still show it. To stop it, scroll down to Allow section and click on the menu button against websites you want to stop the notification and click on Block.

Stop Click Allow Notification from Chrome 6

How to Remove "Click Allow" Notification

The first reason which leads you to such websites that do the notification scam is you have an infection of a malware that is redirecting you to such sites. To remove this infection follow the below steps-

Step 1 - Scan with MalwareFox Antimalware

MalwareFox antimalware is a robust security suite that effectively detects and removes different kinds of malware including adware, browser hijackers, redirects, etc.

Open the installer

MalwareFox Installation 1

Click Yes on User Account Control Prompt

MalwareFox Installation 2

Choose your preferred language and click Ok.

MalwareFox Installation 3

Click Next

MalwareFox Installation 4

Read and Accept the agreement and click Next.

MalwareFox Installation 5

Select the installation location and click Next.

MalwareFox Installation 6

Select Additional Tasks and click Next.

MalwareFox Installation 7

MalwareFox will install, and it will update the signatures from the database.

MalwareFox Installation 8

Once it completes the update, click on Scan.

Scan with MalwareFox 1

Click on Next when the scan gets completed.

Scan with MalwareFox 3

Step 2 – Remove Unwanted Programs from Control Panel

The adware responsible for redirecting you on such scam websites gets to enter in your computer with the help of third-party software. So, you need to remove such software from your computer. Follow the instructions to remove them –


Click on Cortana Search and type Control Panel and click on it from the results.

Remove Unwanted Programs 1

Now click on Uninstall a program under Programs section.

Remove Unwanted Programs 2

You will see the list of all installed programs. Now right click on each unwanted program and click Uninstall. Follow the screen instructions to remove it from your PC.

How to Stay Away from "Click Allow" Pop-up Scam

Once you removed all the infection, it is time to think about not getting in such trouble again. Follow below guidelines to stay away from Click Allow notification pop-up scam.

  • Do not install free or pirated software from untrusted websites.
  • Do not visit rogue websites that offer malicious products such as torrents, porn, pirated software, etc.
  • Do not click on the links of a spam email.
  • Check Circle
    Never click on Allow button unless you want to see the notifications even when your browser is closed.
  • Check Circle
    Install an excellent antimalware like MalwareFox to avoid malware infection. Enable its real-time protection so that it can stop such notorious threats from entering in your computer.

How to Make Sure that File is Safe to Download

The Internet is full of crap. Nowadays you cannot even trust a file from your friend in an email. The chances are someone hacked your friend's email account and sent you a malware. So, how you will trust unknown websites? You download a useful tool, and it turns out to be a nightmare. Don’t lose your hope. There are still some ways to ensure that the file you are about to download is safe. Here in this article, I am listing some steps that you can take to make sure that a file is safe to download.

The before downloading steps are to make sure you are not downloading malware and after downloading steps are to make sure you are not installing dangerous software.

Before Downloading...

Step 1 - Check what you are downloading

The first step is the most crucial. Knowing what you are downloading tells you how cautious you should be. If you are downloading cracked software from an unreliable website, then there are huge chances that you are downloading trouble for yourself. However, if you are downloading a Microsoft product from its official website, then there is no chance Microsoft will let you infect your PC with malware.


The same goes for downloading an attachment from an email. If you are downloading it from unknown sender from a possible spam email that has nothing to do with you then my friend you need the entire security tools in the world to make it stop.

Step 2 - Check from where you are downloading

The second step to ensure a file is safe to download is to check the website from you are downloading it. If you are downloading software, then make sure it is the official website. Most people look for a cracked version of a paid tool from a rogue site to avoid paying few dollars, but in the end, it cost them hundreds and thousands.


Make sure the official website address is correct in the URL field, and you typed it manually. Don’t just click on a pop-up or a link from spam email to visit the official website. There are chances that you visit a clone website and download malware instead of the actual product. Make sure there is a Security padlock (HTTPS) on the URL. It tells you that your connection to the website is secured and encrypted.

HTTPS Security Padlock - Make Sure File is Safe to Download

Step 3 - Check other user's comments and rating

Other users have downloaded the file before you. So, check the comments and ratings of the tool. If this tool is not genuine and it caused a problem for someone, then he is not going to sit quietly, he must have used all the foul words in the world to criticise the product.

iSkysoft User Review 1

Most websites offer ratings and feedback to the tool you download. If it is not there, then search on the Google. Someone somewhere had to relieve their frustration. If you are still confused, the next step will reveal all the evil.

Step 4 - Scan the URL on VirusTotal

VirusTotal as the name implies searches all the antivirus engines for a virus. There are lots of antivirus tools, and you cannot scan a file with all that. VirusTotal does that for you. You can upload the file to check its score, or you can copy paste the downloading URL on VirusTotal. It will reveal how much you can trust that URL or file. VirusTotal allows checking a file by uploading it, by URL, or by file hash, IP address, and domain.

Scan with VirusTotal to make sure File is Safe to Download

If it finds anything, it reports the detection in red like below image.

Malicious Program VirusTotal Scan


VirusTotal also has browser extensions. You can get it for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. This extension does the whole job in just one click.


Install the VirusTotal Extension on your browser.


With the help of this extension, you can right click on a suspicious link and then click on Check with VirusTotal. It will open a new tab and scan the URL and display the report in a few seconds.

Scan with VirusTotal Extension

You can also click on the extension and then click on Scan current site to scan the website you are currently browsing. You can also search for a file by entering its hash, URL, user, tag on the search box.

VirusTotal Extension Scan

After Downloading...

VirusTotal only tells you what antivirus engines think about that file. If the malware is new, then there are chances that none of the antivirus engines has detected it yet. So it is better to stay cautious and follow some steps even after downloading the file.

Step 1 - Check the File Type and Size

After downloading a file don’t just blindly open it. See file in the windows explorer and confirm whether it is the correct format of the file or not. For example – If you are were downloading a photo then its type should be .jpg, .png, .gif there is no way the file extension could be .exe, .scr, .pif, .bat.


Also, you need to verify the size of the file you downloaded if you have downloaded a big program and the size of the installer is less then it is most probably a fake program. Ensure, you have downloaded it from a genuine source and confirmed the installer size from there.

To verify the file type and size open file in Windows Explorer.

Check File Type - How to make sure file is safe to download

Now right click on the file and click Properties.

How to make sure file is safe to download

It will show you the actual file type and size.

Check File Type and Size 3

Here I was trying to download a scenic wallpaper, but it is not a jpg file it is a .exe file, what a cheat they even name it .jpg in the end.


To avoid this kind of confusion and cheat you should enable File name extensions in Windows Explorer. It will show the correct extension of all files. To do this click on View menu then click on List view and check the box of File name Extensions.

Check File Type and Size 4

Step 2 - Scan with Antivirus

Now it is time to use the security suite you installed just after purchasing the PC. Right click on the file and choose Scan options with your installed security suite.

Scan with Antivirus 1 - Make Sure that File is safe to download

I am using MalwareFox antimalware with Windows Defender. MalwareFox antimalware not just checks for viruses but it also checks for other dozens of possible threats like Ransomware, Rootkits, Trojan, Keylogger, Spyware, Adware, and even zero-day malware.

Scan with Antivirus 2

Step 3 - Check the File Signature

The last step to make sure the file you downloaded is safe comes just before it starts executing. This step is applicable in case you have downloaded an application only. When you double click on the software to install it, windows checks the signature of the file and tells you it is safe or not. If you see Unverified publisher warning, then quit the installation right away. Click Ok if you trust the application with your life.

Unverified Publisher Warning UAC

By following the above steps, you can be sure that file is safe to download and view or install on your computer. May the force be with you.

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