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sinner.jpgNo one is perfect, right? 

I have a small confession to make. Some of those tech best practices that everyone says that you shouldn’t do… I sometimes do them. I always have the best intentions but just like all of you, sometimes life happens. Its easy to do, I sign up for a lot of new services and a lot of the time I am just trying to get something done so security gets sacrificed for speed. 

I have lots of tools in my workshifting toolbox and I wanted to share some of my sins and some good ways that you can avoid them while on the go. 

Sometimes I use the same password on different systems
Like I mentioned above, I am constantly trying out new services. Seeing what is good, and not so good, is part of my job but unfortunately it can lead to a lot of user names and passwords to have to remember. Its a pretty big faux pas and it is also one of the linchpins that helped Twitter get hacked over the summer. 

I know that its tough but as you sign up for new accounts (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc) take the time and try to come up with a different password for each system. As in the Twitter hack, once one of your passwords fall, its an easy process to figure out what systems you are active on and try the same user name and password combination to gain access to each. 

I don’t do a good job of backing up my data 

This is another one of those things where time is a killer. Unless you have an automated system in place you just will not back up the data on your computers consistently. Again, I always have good intentions but data backup is one of those things that we all will “get to a little later”. 

The good news is that there are a couple of free tools that can help take this burden off of us. 

Mozy is a super easy backup and recovery tool for your computer. An extra advantage to Mozy is that they actually back up your data into the cloud on Mozy’s servers. In the case of a disaster, your data is off site and safe and can be restored back to your systems when you are ready. Installation couldn’t be easier, simply sign up for the service, install a small program on your computer, tell the program what folders on your computer you want to protect, and Mozy handles the rest. Mozy will give you two gigabytes of storage just to try it out. Beyond that you can back up all of your data for five bucks a month. 

Dropbox is a fairly new application that handles backups a little differently than Mozy. With Dropbox, you store your data in the cloud but you can also sync your data across multiple systems in your home. The sync feature is nice if you want to share some files across your system and changes made on your documents are automatically synced between all systems as the changes are made. Dropbox also has a web console where you can log in, see your data, and download files to other systems as needed. A very slick little app, and they also provide for two gigabytes of storage for free. You can increase your storage to fifty gigabytes for ten dollars a month and go with one hundred for twenty dollars a month. 

I sign up for too many systems and then don’t clean up after myself 

Like I noted above, I am constantly trying new online applications out. The other night I decided to kick the tires on HootSuite and I am trying to see if it will be an addition to the list of apps that I love. The problem with this is that sometimes I leave a lot of baggage behind me that needs to be cleaned up. With all of these extra accounts lying around, it widens the footprint that someone could leverage if they were looking to hack your accounts. This came into play in the Twitter hack as well. One of the Twitter staffers had an old Hotmail account that they didn’t use any longer but then never closed the account. The problem was that the staffer used their old Hotmail address as one of the alternate email addresses when a password reset request was made. Once the hacker compromised Hotmail, they simply requested a password reset on the system they wanted access too, and it was all downhill from there. 

To try to combat this I have created a list that I add any new services I try too. From time to time I review the list, see what I am not using anymore, and then go about deleting the old accounts that are not needed. One annoying thing, a lot of these services don’t want you to delete your account, deflates their number of subscribers, so sometimes you have to go digging to find the account delete feature. 

Hopefully you got some tips to help you avoid some of the mistakes that I have made. Any you would like to share?  

Photo Credit: D.C Atty

  • Janiceaz35

    The problem was that the staffer used their old Hotmail address as one
    of the alternate email addresses when a password reset request was made.  However, for me I always do have my ways on how to back up my files and it just so simple and yet very effective.


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