Ever since I experienced a severe data loss when being a teenager, I developed a deep sensitivity for keeping my data safe.
How I keep my data safe:
- First of all, I simplified my data. My rule is simple: I only own one computer, and everything I own has to fit on my main hard-drive. I regularly clean out old stuff, and every few years I upgrade my storage capacity (currently I’m on 500GB with plenty of space left, including a full backup of my iPhone).
- I have multiple external hard-drives at home, and I do a weekly Time Machine backup on one of them. Of course all external hard-drives are encrypted and password-protected.
- I have an external hard-drive in a safe place outside my home. Once a year, I format this hard-drive and make a fresh copy of all my stuff. Just to have a second, secure location.
- My main hard drive is encrypted by Apple FileVault.
- I encrypt and password-protect my iPhone backups in iTunes
- iPhone: Touch ID & Passcode is required immediately. Find My iPhone is activated to do a remote wipe if necessary.
- I’ve been using a Password management software for many years. General rule: I create a unique & secure password (usually 20 characters or more) for each account. No re-using of simple passwords! No Word-files with passwords! Additional benefit: Never lose credentials for your accounts ever again. In case you don’t use a password management tool yet, I highly recommend it.
- 2-step authentication (2FA): This is a must-have. I use it everywhere: Gmail, Apple, my webhoster, my domain provider, Twitter, Facebook, and all other places that support it. Make it a habit to check for 2-step verification and to activate it everywhere. Else it’s only a matter of time before your Gmail or any other account is hacked.
- Whenever possible, don’t use SMS for 2FA. Use Google Authenticator, Authy, or even better a Yubikey.
- Computer: Whenever I leave the computer, I turn on the screensaver which immediately triggers password protection. I never leave my computer unsecured. Never. By the way, I’ve changed my screensaver text to “You are wonderful.” – offering a micro-boost to everyone who reads it.
- Want to go even further? Read A Modest Privacy Protection Proposal by Jameson Lopp.