Options exist for Mac and PC users to cover their tracks. Using a private VPN network helps to disguise which websites were visited online while using a secure cache and log eraser helps to cover tracks left on the Mac.
Shred Here, Not There
Way back in the last century, one of the Godfather’s of modern chip technology, Intel’s Andy Grove, wrote a book partially entitled, ‘Only the Paranoid Survive.’ There might be some truth to that. After all, if everyone is out to get you, paranoia can be a convenient attitude to foster.
Online activities breed two kinds of tracks. Those captured and stored on your Mac. And those captured by third parties while you’re actually online. The latter may include government snoops, hackers, internet service providers, or simply the websites you visit.
The former are also tracks. As you browse the internet and visit various sites, Safari captures a bunch of information. Ditto for incoming email which often contains malware tracking mechanisms. Your Mac is a repository for incriminating information which may be valuable to someone, but seldom is to you.
How do you get rid of those tracks collected on your Mac?
One way, and a perfectly valid way for paranoid Mac users to cover or erase tracks, is with the NetShred X utility which acts as an internet eraser. Once NetShred X is setup then it runs in the background and does the cleaning automatically while you browse.
Cleaning? What does NetShred X clean? Well, shred? Your Mac collects a lot of information about your online activities that you don’t really need, but that others– either law enforcement or unscrupulous apps– might find useful.
NetShred X shreds these and more.
- Browser cache
- Browser history
- Download cache
- QuickTime cache
- Browser cookies
- Email cache
- Spam messages
Plenty of Mac utilities also remove those junk files, none of which are needed for a Mac to perform well, but all of which may contain information you would rather not share with anyone else, or which could incriminate you. The problem with those utilities is that they don’t erase the data, they merely delete the data, and as savvy computer folks know, deleting a file does not delete it from the Mac.
It needs to be erased from the Mac and that’s NetShred X’s speciality.
The Mac’s Finder has an option to Secure Erase files in the Trash. It erases files by overwriting a file multiple times to ensure that it’s extremely difficult to retrieve. That’s what NetShred X does and you can configure the overwrite parameters that work like those the Department of Defense and NSA use.
Those potentially incriminating files you want to get rid of are not just deleted, and not just erased, they’re shredded; and shredded multiple times.
The only problem with NetShred X isn’t really a problem with NetShred X at all. The app works, works quickly and silently, and leaves your Mac cleaner of incriminating evidence than it was before. The problem is with where you visit online. Your Mac and browser and internet service provider leave tracks elsewhere; all over servers running sites you visit, and those tracks are almost impossible to erase, hence the growing demand for anonymous VPN services. I’ll save that for another review.