Category Archives: Security

How to Make a backup of your Mac

Whether or not Time Machine backs up your Mac on a regular basis, creating a full duplicate (a clone or mirror) of its data is a good idea before installing macOS updates or upgrades. Carbon Copy Cloner 6 (£29.90, bombich.com) may create a one-time clone or regular backups in addition to, or instead of, Time Machine, and prior versions work for Mojave and before.

Catalina and Big Sur alter how you recover from a clone. It’s preferable to install macOS then migrate from the copy rather than cloning back from the copy to your internal storage, and that’s the only method for M1 Macs. That implies you don’t have to clone the System disk to conserve space, but CCC may still do so if you want.

CCC offers a plethora of choices. Here we demonstrate how to get the most out of them, such as omitting things that should be duplicated individually and creating snapshots for fast file recovery. Whatever you decide, test your clone by restoring test items.

HOW TO CORRECTLY CLONE YOUR MAC

1 Adjust the source loudness.

Select Tasks in the sidebar of Carbon Copy Cloner and name the new, empty backup job. To make your Mac’s starting drive, by default called Macintosh HD, the source for your clone, click on the Source button.

2 Choose a location.

Take note of the utilized space on your source volume and ensure that the destination volume has enough free space to store it. Then, click the Destination button and choose a volume with enough free space to accommodate the clone.

3 Determine whether or not to repeat

If you want this cloning to be repeated automatically, go to Automation and specify the scheduling basis. A daily clone is often recommended for backups or when the disk is remounted on occasionally connected MacBooks.

4 Establish schedule specifics

It’s a good idea to set the run time for when your Mac isn’t in use if it’s left running overnight. If the machine is going to sleep, you may have the backup job wake it up or leave it till later. Weekends may also be skipped.

5 Make a list of things that should be avoided.

To exclude things from the clone, click Task Plan at the bottom of the main window. Consider storing separate copies of large files, such as Virtual Machines, which change all the time while they are in use.

6 Configure advanced options

CCC has numerous sophisticated features, such as executing scripts before and after copying. You may now adjust the priority of its copying jobs here if you want it to back up while you’re using your Mac.

7 Perform a dry run to ensure everything is in working order.

Before you execute the initial clone, make sure that copying produces the results you anticipate. When you use the Preview tool, CCC will do a dry run without transferring any real files and will predict the precise size. Correct any mistakes as soon as possible.

Set source snapshots to 8

Consider taking pictures on a regular basis. In the sidebar, choose the starting data volume called Macintosh HD – Data or simply Data. Turn on CCC to take a picture of each duplicate of that disk.

9 Retention of snapshots

Because older snapshots may take up a lot of disk space, most people will find CCC’s default snapshot retention strategy to be ideal. If you want to create your own policy, click the Customize option, but keep an eye on the available space.

10 Duplicate that volume

When you’ve finished configuring everything, -click the task in the sidebar and use the Run Now command to create the first clone. CCC then displays the clone’s progress in graphical form, as well as an exact time estimate.

11 Examine task activities

When the cloning process is complete, go to Task History, pick the completed task, and then click the Task Trends button to view a summary of activities. If the job will be repeated, click the Start button in the main window.

12 System clone as an option

If you want CCC to clone your System disk as well, configure the Destination to create a complete bootable backup by clicking on its icon and choosing the Legacy Bootable Backup Assistant option before proceeding to step 7.

IT WILL TAKE TIME

ten minutes

YOU WILL BE INFORMED

To transfer files in order to restore them

YOU WILL REQUIRE

macOS 10.15 or later, an external storage device with enough free space, and Carbon Copy Cloner 6

How to Setup a VPN on a Router

You need as much internet security as you can get these days. From telecommuting to watching your favorite program on a smart TV, the typical consumer’s attack surface is three to four times larger than it was when most of us just had one computer. That’s not just a concern; it’s also a hassle, since you’ll need to install security software on all of those devices. While you can’t avoid installing different antivirus software on each device, you can make your virtual private network (VPN) worries less vexing by bypassing the per-device process and instead installing a blanket VPN on your router.

WHY SHOULD I GET A VPN?

VPNs are essential for internet security for a variety of reasons. For starters, they make your computer seem to be at a place other than where you are. That’s because you’re connecting to a VPN provider’s server and conducting your web sessions from there. When cookies or Big Bad Government Agencies attempt to track you down via your online activity, they will discover the VPN provider’s server rather than you. Even better, hundreds or thousands of people will be performing the same thing on the same server at the same time.

“You have a situation in which your location is concealed and your encrypted data stream is very difficult to discern.”

VPNs, on the other hand, do more than just anonymize your session; they also encrypt your traffic. VPNs may employ a number of encryption techniques, the most common of which is the AES 128-bit or 256-bit standard. Combine that with anonymization, and you have a scenario in which your location is hidden and your individual encrypted traffic stream is extremely difficult to distinguish, because your stream of encrypted gobbledygook is one of hundreds or thousands of other streams of encrypted gobbledygook pouring into and out of that same server farm.

That is the allure of a VPN: you obtain all of these advantages simply by installing a basic web client on your computer and ensuring it is operational before beginning any other online or cloud connection.

However, if you have numerous devices in your house, particularly if you suspect some of them are running linked software that begins before you’ve even had a chance to activate your VPN, something more consistent may be needed. That’s when you should install a VPN client on your wireless router; anybody using your local network to surf the online or use a cloud service will be utilizing the VPN by default, since they can’t connect to the internet without leaping through that always-on hoop.

MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF VPN ROUTERS

While some routers now allow connecting to VPN services using OpenVPN or the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), this functionality is unlikely to be found on most consumer-oriented routers. It’s also not a simple task to set up. Some of the more costly routers will enable VPNs through those features, particularly if the maker intends to sell them to small companies as well as households.

In addition, a few (increasing) VPN providers have taken on the job of ensuring that their VPN client may be installed on a router’s firmware—more on that below. However, since such clients aren’t always ubiquitous, you’ll require a router from the VPN provider’s compatibility list. While that is fantastic, you are probably satisfied with your existing network, and spending money on a new router simply to obtain a VPN client may not be an appealing choice.

This forces you to look for alternative firmware that supports either OpenVPN or the client of your preferred VPN service. The most common of them is DD-WRT, although Tomato is an alternative for people who have a Broadcom-based router. DD-WRT is the more mature of the two and is compatible with a wide range of routers, both old and new.

Alternatively, you may convert an old x86 PC into a router by installing DD-WRT on it and adding an additional network port through an expansion card. This does need some extra effort, but if you have the skills, it’s a fantastic opportunity to build yourself a very configurable and powerful router at a low cost.

Most people, on the other hand, will stick to installing DD-WRT on their compatible router, which not only does what it’s supposed to do but is also a fantastic method to upgrade and extend your networking capabilities. The only disadvantage of utilizing your router in this manner is that you risk voiding your warranty or, worse, rendering the router totally unusable if anything goes wrong. The easiest method to prevent this is to install DD-WRT on a router that is not only supported, but has been supported for a long time.

Because the development team has had plenty of time to iron out any bugs, the longer your router has been maintained, the easier the firmware upgrade will be. You should also be able to locate a help forum with people who are acquainted with both your router and DD-WRT. Some router manufacturers have similar forums linked to their help sites, although they are more frequently found at independent online places, such as the main DD-WRT website or Reddit.

I updated three routers in order to create this post. The LAPAC1200 AC1200 Dual Band Access Point and the WRT1200AC v2 were both Linksys products. While the update on the LAPAC1200 failed, most likely due to the fact that it is not a full-fledged router, it went well on the WRT1200AC. I decided to perform another installation just for fun on an old, generic Windows PC that I had equipped with two gigabit network interface cards (NICs). That procedure likewise went well, and although it is noticeably larger than the WRT1200AC, it is still the fastest of the two.

ACCESSING YOUR ROUTER CONFIGURATION

Every router is a little different, but most Linksys routers follow a similar pattern when it comes to logging in and making configuration changes. That procedure is similarly comparable to that of most other router manufacturers, thus it serves as a suitable example for this article. The first step is to get your router’s internet Protocol (IP) address. On Microsoft Windows 10, go to the Start menu, type Command Prompt, and press Enter. Then enter ipconfig and press Enter once more. You should see something similar to what is seen in the image below, but with different address numbers. The IP address of your router will be displayed as the Default Gateway. That is 192.168.13.1 in this case. Then, launch your browser and enter your router’s IP address as the URL (http:\\192.168.13.1). This will bring you to a login screen for your router’s administrative panel.

If you’ve never updated your router’s username and password, searching for your router model on the Linksys website should take you to a support page with the default credentials provided. If it is not a Linksys router, just locate your original installation instructions from when you originally installed the router, and the default credentials will be present. If that document is no longer available, go to the website of your router’s manufacturer to discover instructions for restoring your router to factory settings. The default credentials should also be present. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need to contact your router’s support team.

“Go to your router manufacturer’s website and look for information on resetting your router to factory defaults.”
Once you’ve gained access to the router’s administrative capabilities, look for the console that enables you to upgrade the firmware. This is usually located under the Administration tab. Check the company’s website for specific instructions for Linksys routers. Similar instructions will be accessible on the help sites of other router manufacturers.

DD-WRT DOWNLOAD AND INSTALLATION

This is probably the most critical step, since if anything goes wrong, you may possibly “brick” (that is, make your router unusable). This may occur as a result of software incompatibility or a power loss at a crucial stage of the update process. I’m not trying to frighten you—the overwhelming majority of DD-WRT installations work perfectly—but the truth is that something terrible may happen to the router, so please proceed with caution.

Navigate to this website (https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/) and input the model name of your router. You will be given a list of possible applicants. Choose the one that corresponds to the brand and model number of your router, and then download the bin file.

Now, from the Firmware Update screen, upload the bin file and wait for it to finish. If everything went as planned, your router will be running DD0-WRT and therefore compatible with OpenVPN. Don’t be alarmed if things go wrong and your router thinks you’re no longer on speaking terms. That is what occurred to me when I attempted to upgrade the Linksys LAPAC1200 Access Point. Simply follow my example: Follow the steps on this website (https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Recover from a Bad Flash). With luck, you’ll be able to return to a decent starting point and attempt again.

When everything lights up as it should, the default IP address of a fresh DD-WRT installation is http://192.168.1.1. Enter that address as a URL into your PC’s web browser again, and you’ll see a page prompting you to reset the default login and password. Following that, you may proceed to the fundamentals of configuring your new router. For corporate customers and those with more sophisticated network needs, DD-WRT has a plethora of additional options, thus going through them all is beyond the scope of this tutorial. However, for most residential and small business installations, you’ll need to configure the connection type for your wide area network (WAN), which is your internet service provider. In general, this is typically located under the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), so if you’re not sure where to go, that’s a decent place to start.

CONFIGURATION OF THE VPN CLIENT

To begin, connect your router to the internet on one side and your local area network on the other. Then configure any other network settings you need, such as Quality of Service (QoS) or access restrictions. Only after the router is completely operational should you think about installing a VPN client.

To do so, go to the Services page and choose the VPN tab. Check the Enable Bubble next to “Start Open VPN Client.” There is currently no one set of instructions for making this work. Simply follow the directions for your VPN provider, and you’ll be fine.

VERIFY YOUR HANDWORK

DD-WRT includes a great Status page with a VPN part that displays whether or not you’re connected and whether or not everything performed as expected. If you want to go the additional mile, you may look up your IP address in Google by entering “What is my IP?” If your VPN is functioning correctly, you should receive something different than what you began with since you’ll be browsing to Google from your VPN vendor’s server rather than your PC. If it occurs, congratulations! You may now surf the web anonymously across all of your connected devices.

Free Up Space by Cleaning Up Apple Messages

In an Apple Messages group chat, my family and I like sharing photos and movies. We’ve mainly posted photos and videos of dogs, infants, food, snow, hikes, and the 20-plus bananas I mistakenly purchased in an internet grocery order since COVID-19 hit. Most of these aren’t pictures or videos I’d want to preserve forever. Even if I store my own copy, I don’t want them buried in a text thread.

In addition to backing up and organizing your pictures from your iPhone or iPad, which you should do first, you may wish to remove them from the Apple Messages app. This will assist you in freeing up space not just on your mobile devices, but also on any desktops where you use Messages. The steps are below, but first you should be aware of three odd things you may experience when deleting pictures and videos from your Apple devices.

BEWARE OF THESE THREE QUESTIONS

When I removed movies and pictures from Messages, I discovered three peculiarities. To begin, despite the fact that I sync Messages across macOS and mobile devices, removing pictures and videos from one place does not remove them from the other. In other words, I can remove movies received through text message from my phone, but they remain visible when I access Messages on my computer. If you’re cleaning up, be sure to clean up in all of the locations where you utilize Messages.

The second anomaly occurs only on the iPhone. When I choose several videos or pictures to delete from the Messages app, a button displays asking me to confirm that I wish to Delete X Messages, and the X number is often incorrect. For example, when I removed one video (which had no responses, such as a heart or thumbs up), the confirmation notice stated Delete 3 Messages. I’m not sure why this happens, but it’s never resulted in an undesired deletion.

Third, when I attempt to browse through a message thread on a mobile device to pick several pictures and videos at once, the software often crashes. The program bounces around and the scrolling becomes choppy, making it difficult to see what I chose. This issue does not occur when I pick several pictures and videos that are near together, but it does occur when I go through the message history. Rather of going back and forth to locate additional material, remove a few items at a time.

ON A MAC, REMOVE VIDEOS AND IMAGES FROM MESSAGES

On a Mac, there are two methods to remove movies and pictures from the Messages program. One method allows you to remove them one by one on the moment and is ideal for quickly cleaning material. The alternative technique allows you to remove material in bulk and sort things by size or date. This second option is ideal for rapidly freeing up space and removing a large number of pictures, videos, bitmoji, or other visual material.

You may even delete whole conversations, which removes the entire text history as well as any material inside the message thread. It’s a far more drastic choice. Simply right-click on the chat and choose Delete Conversation.

Method 1: Immediately Delete Videos and Images from Apple Message

1. Navigate to Messages on your Mac.
2. Go to the chat in which you got or transmitted the material you wish to remove.
3. Locate the picture or video.
4. Select Delete with a right-click (two-finger click).
5. Go through the process again for each video and picture.

Method 2: Massively Delete Videos and Images from Apple Message

1. Locate the Apple symbol in the upper-left corner of your screen and click it.
2. Click on About This Mac.
3. Click Storage, and then wait for your computer to calculate your storage use. This may take up to a minute. When it’s finished, the gray storage bar becomes colorful, and a numerical breakdown of your storage use appears.
4. Select Manage.
5. Select Messages from the left rail.
6. A Finder-style window appears, displaying movies, pictures, stickers, and other visual material that you’ve sent or received in Messages.
7. I suggest sorting the material by size. Click on the Size column to sort it from biggest to smallest.
8. Go through the material again. Any file may be opened and viewed in a bigger format by clicking on it.
9. You may remove several things at once by choosing the first one, holding down the shift key, then selecting the final one. Alternatively, you may hold down the Command key while selecting pictures to remove in masse.
Then, either click Delete in the bottom right corner or right-click and choose Delete.

REMOVE VIDEOS AND IMAGES FROM IPHONE OR IPAD MESSAGES

You have two choices for removing movies and pictures from an iPhone or iPad once again. One method is to use the Messages app. The second option is to do it from Settings, which enables you to prioritize files and pictures that take up the most space.

Method 1: Delete Videos and Images from the Messages App Directly

1. Launch the Messages application.
2. Go to the discussion containing the videos and pictures you wish to remove.
3. Locate the information you want to remove and press and hold it.
4. A tiny menu of choices displays. Select More.
5. You may now choose several pieces of media at the same time by pressing the circle to the left of them. (Remember the peculiarity stated before; scrolling may be jumpy, so stick to what’s in view or nearby.)
6. Tap the trash symbol in the bottom-left corner to confirm deletion. (Remember the oddity stated before; the number may not be correct.)

Method 2: Remove Video and Messages from Settings

1. Navigate to Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage to begin. Allow a few moments for this page to load.
2. Locate and hit Messages.
3. On the next screen, you can view how much data is used by chats, pictures, videos, GIFs and Stickers, and other data. There is also the option to Review Large Attachments, which I suggest. Select Review Large Attachments from the drop-down menu.
4. Select Edit. You may now remove all of the pictures and videos in this list by selecting them all. When you’re ready to erase them, tap the trash icon.

SAVE AN APPLE MESSAGES PHOTO OR VIDEO

When you discover a picture or video you wish to keep, you may create a local copy on your device and then back it up. Here’s how to make a backup:

• Press and hold the picture or video on a mobile device. Tap Save, and a duplicate of the image will be stored in your Photos app.
• Right-click the picture or video on a macOS machine. You may save it by selecting Add to Photos Library. Alternatively, you can choose Copy the picture and then paste it anywhere you want to save it.

How to safeguard your WordPress website

While businesses like Wix and Squarespace have enjoyed success recently, they can’t challenge WordPress’s supremacy. More than 30 times as many websites operate on the open-source content management system (CMS) than either Squarespace or Wix.

The open source content management system (CMS) boasts an almost endless versatility, with plugins and themes making it one of the most versatile CMSs online. And just like that, the concepts behind this great software platform may be translated into forums, social networking sites, and e-commerce platforms. However, with this level of popularity, comes its own set of challenges.

There are nearly half the internet’s websites on WordPress. It’s a target-rich environment for hackers, who can exploit nearly half the internet if they identify a vulnerability in the program. And hence, it is highly likely that WordPress websites will be under attack. In order to keep your website secure, you should take these actions.

Add a firewall

Even if your site is fresh, bots that search the internet for WordPress installations will locate it shortly. When they locate it, they will start trying to figure out its vulnerabilities. Firewall plugins are a great way to spot these attempts before they succeed.

One of the most popular alternatives is Wordfence. It’s simple to put in place, and it prevents people from making items on your site more appealing for malicious visitors while also allowing search engines like Google to find you.

This system can also prohibit visitors who keep entering wrong usernames or passwords, preventing brute force attacks.

2-factor authentication

In order to limit who has access to your admin dashboard, WordPress uses a conventional username and password system. To further secure your account even further, make sure to setup two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification) for your WordPress accounts.

Two-factor authentication (or multi-factor authentication) is a security measure utilized by many websites nowadays that requires the user to input both their username and password as well as a verification code generated by a third device. Your login and password are only part of the information you’ll have to enter. You’ll also be required to enter a one-time passcode that is produced by an app or delivered to you via SMS message. Even if you’re a member of sites like Facebook, PokerStars, or Amazon, you will probably already be utilizing this today, therefore you should know how to do it.

This feature isn’t supported natively in WordPress, therefore you’ll need to find a plugin to enable it. Firewall, like Wordfence, are already installed, so you don’t need to download anything further.

Proceed to configure Cloudflare

Because of this, website owners get increased performance and security from using Cloudflare as a DNS provider. It offers a free package of premium features and a library of business-specific premium features.

It’s configured to start providing security measures right out of the box without requiring any additional work on your part, but you can link it to Cloudflare in order to layer on more security with the ability to block certain critical files like wp-config.php and require users to complete a CAPTCHA in order to access the admin login screen.

To stay current, keep everything up-to-date

Many of WordPress’ plugins and themes are also updated on a regular basis. These address security vulnerabilities in the software, make improvements to the application’s speed, and introduce new features. The first thing we want you to do is to keep your account active and to keep it up to date.

The option to automatically update the system has been enabled in the previous few years, which has made this considerably easier. Just be sure not to forget to manually update whenever new updates are available.

Plugins and themes you don’t use anymore should be disabled and deleted. In addition to removing the possibility of an unknown exploit being exploited to hack your site, this also reduces the risk of you forgetting to install an important update.

Never Lose a Backup

Although maintaining a backup may not prevent your WordPress site from being hacked, it can definitely save you time. It will, however, guarantee that you are able to utilize your site even if it is down. In the event of a worst-case scenario, the site’s directory on your server can be deleted, a fresh WordPress installation can be run, and the most recent backup can be restored.

It is very important to ensure that your backups are not stored on the same machine as the website installation.

Many WordPress backup solutions are available for purchase and/or free, which helps eliminate the possibility of making a bad decision and forgetting to make a backup.

The bottom line

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the internet. The open-source system still runs on 40% of all websites, 30 times more than Squarespace or Wix. WordPress sites are significantly more likely to be attacked than any other CMS. If you already have a firewall like Wordfence installed, you don’t need to download anything else. Cloudflare is a third-party DNS service that offers a number of performance and security benefits. There are numerous paid and free backup solutions for your site.