The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 9, 2012

Slate: 4 steps to avoid getting hacked

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Whenever I recommend cloud backup services, people chime in with worries about storing stuff in the cloud — what if CrashPlan's servers get destroyed or hacked? I think these worries are baseless (if CrashPlan gets hacked, your data there is encrypted anyway), but when it comes to backups, you can never be too safe. So if you want to supplement your cloud backup with a local backup on your own external drive, please do so. You can even use CrashPlan's software to do that.

Does this read like an advertisement for CrashPlan? The company hasn't paid me a dime to write this, but I'm not kidding when I say that CrashPlan is the most important, valuable add-on service that you can buy for yourself.

Indeed, if I were king of the Internet, I would turn on backups by default. Every device you buy should come with a backup system, and it should store your data online automatically unless you tell it not to. The first company to realize this will make a killing. If Apple really wants to do right by its users, it would buy CrashPlan, build its service into all its devices, and offer unlimited backups to everyone for free. Apple has enough money to do this, and the firm must understand how well built-in backups would work in a marketing campaign: "Never lose anything again." How's that for a slogan?

3) Remote wiping is unnecessary. Turn off "Find My Mac." Instead, encrypt your data.

Being able to find your lost devices sounds great. You paid a lot for that tablet, phone and laptop. Why wouldn't you want to locate it if it's gone? And if someone else has it, wouldn't you want to delete your stuff remotely so that they can't monkey with your data?

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