Keep your files and info safe with these simple steps
How many passwords did you have to enter before you
started reading this?
D. I don't remember, but I love watching "Password"
on the Game Show Network.
If you chose D, you might want to take the day off.
If you need a doctor's note, I'll send one out immediately.
I would guess many of you are using a computer that's
password protected, whether it be at work or at home.
Of course, you didn't need a password to get to this
site, but you may have needed one to login through your
Internet access or just to get into your work files.
For instance, I had to utter the password "The blue
frog croaks at midnight" to Jo Jo, our bouncer at work.
Unfortunately, I had to hand over $20 because it was
the wrong password.
Pick a good password -- I would highly advise against
using the password "password" for anything, unless you
were trying to coax enemies into erasing their important
files. I recommend picking something that's not in a
dictionary, whether it's numbers and letters or just
a word you made up. Hackers have programs that match
up words in a dictionary to passwords and the like,
so the use of good passwords can get you a long way
More info: Lycos.
Use a firewall -- If you have an Internet connection
and you don't have a firewall, a hacker can get into
your system if he can find your IP address. You can
enable most firewalls to be able to interact with safe
computers, if you want to send files to friends, etc.
Jo Jo acts as our company bouncer, except when he's
at the Chinese place for two hours eating the buffet.
More info: CNET.
Protect files ? You may have just a few files that
are confidential on your machine. Instead of locking
your entire computer down, just place a password on
that individual file. Many programs have this feature
available. Be careful on assigning passwords, though,
because these same programs probably do not have an
easy way of retrieving lost passwords.
Limit privileges using servers -- Depending on how
your office network is administered, it may be possible
for co-workers to access the files on your machine.
Being aware of what files are public is a big step in
protecting yourself. On most Macs, users have the ability
to use a shared folder, which gives a person more control
over what files can be seen by all. In Windows NT, hard
drives throughout the network must be mapped to a specific
computer to have access to them. The administrator usually
has privileges that other users do not have to get into
More info: Brandeis
Don't overkill protection -- If you forget your password
or misplace a certain file, that's just as bad as deleting
it. You could keep a written list of important items
just in case you were to forget something crucial. I'm
fairly confident a hacker will not be able to find your
notes, unless he's the pizza man and you leave your
password notebook on the couch.
Following these small steps should keep your files
safe. Then again, maybe you don't have any information
anyone would want. Remember that it's extremely difficult
to push a computer through a paper shredder. Even Jo
Jo can't help you there.