John's Musings


Yeah, Me Neither

What Is Computer Security and Where Is It?

I've been kind of harping on computer security based around that all important network connection to the internet but it is much more than that. Much like anything in life you need some kind of a map or plan before you can make informed decisions to protect what you feel is important. Much like you might take physical gold to a safe deposit box or buy a home safe, what is your plan for protecting your valuable zeros and ones?


Even though a firewall and a good router are tantamount to security let's assume the worst. What is the plan for protection?


I figure there are three types of information.

- Information which must absolutely be safeguarded at all times such as Social Security Numbers, bank account passwords, tax records, etc.

- Information which if lost would result in sadness, such as a loss of photographs or emails from loved ones.

- Information that just doesn't matter and can be retrieved from the internet again and again via download.


Here is one method of protecting the first category. An encrypted program which contains all important personal information and remains encrypted unless you are actively using it. Programs (for Mac) such as Splash ID Safe or 1Password. A similar method would be to have all such information on a spreadsheet or office document and encrypt the document or the folder in which it is stored (or both). Mac provides a free means in which to encrypt folders and drives or disk images. Third party solutions are available as well. One of my favorite old programs was called Hide Folders. If you can't see it you might not find it. Maybe not the best solution but as an extra measure of security it is okay. One thing is for sure though. Just storing your critical information on your hard drive is almost begging it to be compromised or stolen.

Regarding my second category of information multiple methods exist for protecting it not the least of which is ROUTINE SCHEDULED BACKUPS, and then to take the backups off site. Doesn't do you a bit of good to safeguard your information if the house burns down and the backup is in the house. And yes, oh yes, houses burn down sometimes. Also email encryption should be more common than it is. One such service available is called ProtonMail. Using the Cloud is also a great solution. iCloud on mac is great for backing up NON SENSITIVE data such as your vacation pictures........not so much your naked pictures.


Lastly do you really need to backup items such as downloaded installer of Adobe Acrobat? No. It's replaceable. Might be a pain but it is replaceable.


Bottom line here. You can run protection services all you want on your network like I do.


BUT YOU STILL NEED TO PROTECT THE DATA THAT MATTERS TO YOU!

Back it up. Encrypt it. Hide it if necessary. Information held on a removable drive not hooked up to the internet CANNOT BE STOLEN FROM AN INTERNET CONNECTION. You keep your birth certificate and the deed to your house in your fireproof box.......why not a thumb drive of sensitive ENCRYPTED data?


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