How to Secure Your Computer: Maxim #10

A friend of mine came up to me the other day and said, “I love your computer maxims, but I don’t have anything to worry about–I have all of my passwords stored on an encrypted thumb drive.” Of course, my retort was, “That’s a good thing. Where do you keep your backups?”

“On my external USB drive,” he said

I asked, “That’s encrypted, right?”


Doh! If a cracker is able to access his PC and that drive is connected and turned on, my friend could be toast. Full backups can contain lots of personal information that is much more valuable than passwords. Most people don’t encrypt their data. They should, but they don’t. Some backup programs allow you to make encrypted backups. You should, if this option is available. But the safest thing to do is actually remove removable backup media.

When using external removable media for backups, either encrypt the backup files or make sure the media is taken offline after the backup has been completed.

The Geek

Have a question? It can be about anything from cooking to science, whatever you’re interested in: Click here to Ask the Geek! Kenny “The Geek” Harthun has been playing with geeky stuff since 1965. He’s a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Connective Computing, Inc. and loves to learn about anything and everything.