People like nosing around. People like to go through other people’s stuff. Whether they are your family, friends, colleagues, or some anonymous guys in a basement in Japan, it’s something you want to avoid.
Whether it’s because you like your privacy or you think you have a reason to ‘erase your tracks’; in the end it’s all the same.
Luckily for you and I there are apps that can help you protect your privacy and your files, i.e. erase your tracks and put a nice big lock on all of your stuff.
You might also want to see 8 Firefox addons for Privacy and Security as well as 5 disposable web accounts to keep your identity safe.
Erasing Your Tracks
CCleaner is a name you’ll probably recognize (it has been mentioned numerous times on Make Use Of). Over the years it has made quite a name for itself. If you ever saw a list of apps, anywhere, to speed up your PC, chances are good CCleaner was in there. Henceforth it has always been mentioned in terms of tweaking.
But how does it wipe your PC? Well, it deletes the history/cookies/cache of your browser, clears the memory of various applications (like Nero and Office) and tidies up your system by deleting Windows Explorer cache, empties the recycle bin, sweeps your clipboard and much, much more.
This makes it the perfect cleaner. And even more so, you indeed get a faster computer by tidying up! (note: CCleaner can only delete internet browser files from Firefox, IE and Opera)
Securely Deleting and Encrypting Your Files
Although the biggest dirt is gone, you might still have some “˜things’ left on your PC which are “˜your eyes only’. This could be credit card details, your obscure tapes (if only Paris Hilton would’ve had this”¦) or other personal files. If you really want to delete something, like as in “˜unrecoverable’, you need to shred it. Basically it deletes your file and then uses a bunch of algorithms to write over the empty space again and again until it is impossible to find what once was there.
So it’s a shredder? So what? What makes this one so special?
True. It doesn’t even let you chose the number of passes. But unless you’re extremely paranoid you’ll realize that you don’t need 35 passes (NATO uses 7 passes, the US Department of Defense 3). If you think otherwise, check out Wipe File.
The beauty about this one is that it’s part of a bigger suite. Except from deleting, you can also encrypt files.
That brings us up to the next step – protecting the files you do want to keep. “˜Encrypt Files’ is very simple to use. You pick one or more files and press the “˜encrypt’ button, hereafter you will be prompted to give up a password. You wait a few seconds and the files become completely useless. That is, for other people. Using the “˜decrypt’ button, the same password and again, a few seconds of your time, the file is quickly back to its original state.
Paranoia mode: ON
OK, it’s time for a little bit of paranoia (keeps the mind sharp). What if you deleted all your auto-passwords, secured all your files and some idiot with a keystroke-logger gets all your “˜well-kept’ passwords practically handed to him? Indeed, that would be a bummer.
When you’re typing inside your web browser, KeyScrambler codes all your keystrokes, making them impossible to read for a keystroke-logger. KeyScrambler even shows you what the logger gets to see (which looks real slick – showoff factor: 73%).
Locking up your computer by using the Windows ‘Log Off’ and ‘Switch User’ options is OK, but it has some downsides.
For starters, anyone with an administrator account can still access your account. If you are a sub-user or are on a computer with multiple administrators, a password doesn’t mean all that much. More so, when you can never really know who attempted to access your account. This is a major problem as people can guess away without consequences.
Lock Platinum solves both these problems. It’s a standalone app (an executable so you don’t have to install it – it will even work on a guest account) and it locks your computer, trapping the mouse inside a small centered screen and disables the task manager and all other key combinations like ALT + TAB, ALT + F4, etc.
On top of that, it also records all attempts to penetrate your system. As you click on ‘Stats’ you can not only see when someone typed a wrong password, but also the exact password they tried. Want to know if you can trust someone? Tell them a wrong password and see if it turns up. I would advise using the first version though. Having tried all three, the last two seemed rather unstable (the unlocking window constantly hid itself with version 3).
OK, so that’s it. If you think you know (better) alternatives to this software, please feel free to plop a comment below!
(By) Simon is a student from Belgium who wastes his time relaxing, watching anime and surfing the net. He would tell you to check out his blog, only he doesn’t have one!