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Your Computers and Personal Information

I want you to imagine for a moment that someone has stolen your home computer, office computer, laptop (notebook, netbook), as well as all of your external hard drives and thumb drives. Close your eyes and imagine it. All of them are gone.

Now imagine the person who has stolen them -- a real sick nut (expletives deleted).

Now imagine this sick nut going through all of your personal and business files. He is looking at your precious family photographs, reading your letters and email, and looking for any confidential information he can use to steal your identity, wreck your credit, and take your assets.

This is a pretty horrible thought, but it happens all the time. Thieves love electronics, particularly laptops (notebooks, netbooks). And they even steal external hard drives, as well as thumb drives. You name it. If it is portable, they will steal it. They will even steal desktops. And I am pretty sure that they do not just reformat or blank the data. Remember that they are sick nuts (expletives deleted).

So what can you do?

This may sound like a commercial, but it is not. I am just sharing my concerns and what I have done.

For my computers, I use a program that password protects folders. When they are protected, they become invisible. You cannot see them on a directory list. No password, no access.

For my external hard drives and thumb drives, I do two things. For really confidential information (remember that I am also an attorney), I use external hard drives with built in hardware password and encryption protection. You could take these things apart and you still could not get to the data.

For less confidential information on external hard drives or thumb drives, I use software password protection. This is less secure, but also cheaper. Thumb drives in particular, are really easy to use and just as easy to lose.

In any event, I do try to protect sensitive information, even family photographs. I just keep the idea of a stupid nut (expletives deleted) looking at all my stuff, and it makes the the additional security seem pretty inexpensive.

In my experience, once a person has his computers stolen, he will then purchase security hardware/software for his new computers. You can save a lot of grief by doing so in advance.

I realize that there are additional ways to protect computers and the information on them. I am not suggesting that you do anything in particular. You may well find ways that are much better than what I am doing. But please be aware of the issue and do something to protect your confidential and personal information. Back them up too (and secure the back-ups).


Charles C. Goodin