Home computers have changed in use over the years. Children are required to use computers for homework. Social media has become one of the main uses for home computers. Computer games and entertainment have grown tremendously. However, all these outlets have hidden dangers. Writers of viruses and malware realize that home computers are used for banking and contain valuable data. A family's specific exposure is dependent on how and who uses the computers. Keeping a workstation current with updates and running anti-virus software is essential, but not a guarantee.
Over the next few weeks, we will publish articles on strategies on backing up your data, checking your workstation for malware, best practices for various websites and overall security for your workstation.
Backing up your data:
How valuable is the data on your computer? This question should dictate how much effort you need to put into archiving your data. The cheapest and easiest method is storing to an online service. For example, Google Drive offers up to 15G of online storage for free. Flash drives are becoming a popular backup source, but they are not always stable. External hard drives cost more, but are more stable than flash drives.
These three methods protect your data from loss due to hardware failure. However, recent viruses can corrupt your data. Online storage often synchronizes data, so the corruption would transfer to the online storage. Flash drives and external hard drives could also suffer corruption from a virus if they are plugged into an infected workstation.
The best back up method is to burn a DVD or Blu Ray disk of the data and store the disk(s) somewhere safe. If you do use flash drives or external hard drives, do not leave them plugged into the computer.