The mysterious "Cloud"

Pittsburgh Tech Guy

Phone: 412-256-8674


Skype: pghtechguy on Skype


How to Backup your computer online for free

Traveling light, with no devices

• Don't log in to secure sites on unsecured kiosks or public computers.
• Clear recent history (Ctrl+Shift+D in IE, Firefox, or Chrome) after using any computer that isn't yours.
• If you need secure access, use LogMeIn Hamachi (Free, 4 stars) or another free VPN client.
• Beware the hotel room phone–charges may be through the roof.

Traveling with a smartphone

• Don't log in to secure sites while connected through unsecured wireless.
• Be almost as cautious when connected through password-protected wireless.
• Check with your carrier if going overseas; you may need to enable international roaming.
• Beware insanely high charges for data roaming in other countries.
• Secure your smartphone with a strong password, not just the default 4-digit PIN.
• Consider installing Lookout Mobile Security ($29.99/year direct) or another mobile security app that can remotely lock and wipe the phone and also locate if it's lost or stolen.

Traveling with a laptop

• Never leave the laptop in sleep mode, where a thief could simply "wake it up" and have full access. Either shut it down or put all the way into hibernate.
• Make sure the laptop is configured to require a password on coming out of hibernate.
• If you're carrying truly sensitive data, consider using Windows's BitLocker Whole Disk Encryption or a third-party encryption tool like ZoneAlarm DataLock ($39.95 direct, 4 stars).
• Consider installing LoJack for Laptops by Absolute Software ($39.99/year direct, 4.5 stars) or another laptop antitheft tool that can lock down the laptop and trace the thief.

At Home

• Change your router administrator password to something other than the default. There are websites that list the defaults for virtually all models.
• Use LastPass 1.72 (Free, 5 stars), RoboForm Everywhere 7 ($19.95 direct, 4.5 stars), or another password manager to generate and protect strong passwords—you can store your router password here too.
• If you have a wireless network, be sure to change the SSID to something other than the default, and encrypt the connection.
• Install antivirus protection, if you don't already have it, or better yet a full security suite.

At Work

• Don't go to lunch or on a break without locking your desktop. This prevents co-workers from snooping or playing tricks.
• Don't log in to secure sites for personal business. Remember, the company owns that computer, and the network, and the network logs. Assume anything you do on the company computer is public.
• If you're steamed about something, calm down before emailing. Check to make sure your tone is civil, and be very sure you don't Reply All when it isn't appropriate.
• Find out if your company has policies in place about security; if so, learn and heed them.

Be sure to keep your brain engaged and your common sense active. That notification from your bank about a credit problem might be bogus, so navigate to the bank site yourself rather than clicking any links. And just as in the non-Internet world, if you come across an offer that seems too good to be true, it's probably a scam. If you focus on the right safety tips, you can protect yourself, your data, and your identity no matter where you are.