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“Consumers backing up information more frequently”

 

Do you backup your data on a regular basis?

A new survey from a leading online backup provider found that PC and Mac users are backing up sensitive files and documents more regularly than they have in the past. Approximately 10 percent of computer users now back up their systems daily, compared to only 6 percent in 2011.

“These are the best results we’ve seen since we started tracking data backup five years ago,” online backup expert Gleb Budman said.

While not everyone backs up his or her computer on a daily basis, many people are doing so more frequently than in the past. The study noted that approximately 20 percent of computer users back up sensitive documents and applications roughly once a week, compared to only 14 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2008. Another 36 percent of survey respondents said they duplicate sensitive files roughly once a month, compared to only 26 percent who did so in 2008.

“It’s great to see that the desire to protect photos, videos, music and other data is becoming an everyday part of using a computer,” Budman said.

The survey also revealed, however, that roughly 29 percent of U.S. computer users have never used online backup tools to bolster data protection and minimize the chances of unnecessary data loss. The study noted that this trend varies between age groups, as roughly 35 percent of individuals older than 55 never use remote backup, while only 24 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds neglect to duplicate sensitive documents.

Source: Consumers backing up information more frequently – Online Backup News.

If you are backing up your data, what tool(s) do you use?

 

Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat

Bloat.  It’s something that constantly needs to be dealt with on a Windows-based computer.  Unless you want it to run slow.  For some savvy computer users it may be an option to just re-format the hard drive and start from scratch with a fresh OS.  But for most that isn’t a convenient option.

Here are a couple easy ways to take care of that Windows bloat that invades after just a few weeks.

A lot of these apps and methods highlighted do pretty serious things to your computer, so I hope it goes without saying that you should have a full bootable system backup before attempting any of them. You have been warned!

Remove Windows Features You Don’t Need

Windows is a massive operating system, with an array of features and processes that the majority of us simply don’t need. Luckily, Windows makes it relatively easy to turn features on and off.

Just go to Control Panel -> Programs -> Turn Windows Features On or Off.

Uninstall Old Apps

This might seem obvious, but uninstalling apps we no longer use is a sin that can pass even the best of us by sometimes. Head to Control Panel -> Uninstall a Program and see what useless apps are lurking within.

Go to the source to learn more ways to “speed up” your computer by removing the dreaded Windows bloat.  You’ll also find some alternative tools for uninstalling applications.

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Blind to security risks of printers

The article is about UK workers but it’s probably safe to say the results would be similar here in the U.S.

A new survey by Samsung has uncovered what it claims is an alarming lack of security awareness among UK workers when it comes to printing documents.

Just under half of all employees are regularly exposed to sensitive data, such as a document abandoned on a printer, and Samsung warned that awareness of the issues this presents must be improved.

Around 14 per cent of respondents admitted seeing salary details, 22 per cent had seen performance appraisals and 34 per cent had seen CV information.

Samsung’s poll of 4,500 European office workers found that many are not aware of any printing security processes or technologies in place at their company to prevent printer-based information leaks.

UK organisations which deal in a large number of sensitive documents, such as the banking and finance sector, saw the most incidences of data exposure, with 40 per cent claiming to have seen sensitive documents on the print tray.

Samsung warned that eight in 10 UK respondents were not aware that printers store all recent documents on an easy to remove hard drive, while over three-quarters did not know that a networked printer is as easily hacked as a PC.

“The potential for security breaches is vast, and can only be overcome if employees are educated about the pitfalls of leaving abandoned documents, and with the help of a controlled printing process,” said Geoff Slaughter, director of Samsung Print in the UK. (Source: Companies blind to printer security risks – V3.CO.UK)

With all the functionality present in printers today, any security plan must treat them the same way computers and other network hardware are treated.

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New worm has the ability to bypass security applications

What a surprise it has Chinese orgins.

Security researchers at Bach Khoa International Security (BKIS) have warned computer users about a new worm called W32.SafeSys.Worm that has an ability to bypass security applications such as Deep Freeze.

The worm was first detected in early March 2009, and since then, around 174 new variants of this Chinese born virus have been discovered on the Internet. Faronics has developed Deep Freeze application to facilitate administrators to restore their systems after being used by unauthorized parties.

So how does the worm accomplish this feat?

However, W32.SafeSys.Worm utilizes a new technique in which it directly writes on sectors of hard disk by requesting for direct link with the disk controller. Interestingly, the worm does not leave any scope for its identification by frozen system programs such as Deep Freeze while writing on hard disk.

After entering the system undetected, W32.SafeSys.Worm performs a number of malicious operations from the infected system – such as seizing online game passwords, displaying fake gateways, automatic upgradation of new variants and insertion of iframe exploiting application that circulate through USB and LAN. (Source: BKIS – Deep Freeze application fails to detect new Chinese worm – SpamFighter)

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If you are going to sell your old PC …

Image of a Western Digital 250Gb SATA Hard Dri...
Image via Wikipedia

make sure all sensitive data is removed.

Anyone with a cheap data recovery program can recover your recently deleted files–even if you’ve emptied the recycle bin. They can also get files off a freshly-formatted hard drive. So if you want to be
absolutely certain that your old PC’s new owner won’t get your private information, you need to wipe the sensitive files by overwriting them with new 1s and 0s.

Before you pick a program, you need to answer two questions: Do you want to wipe the sensitive data or the whole drive? And how paranoid are you?

Wiping just the sensitive files is faster, but it requires more thought on your part, and leaves open the possibility of a mistake. It also requires you to wipe the unused space on your drive, which may contain remnants of older versions of your sensitive files.

But wiping the entire drive has its own problems. A Windows computer is supposed to go to new owners with the operating system intact. If your PC came with a recovery disc, and you haven’t lost it, that’s not a big problem–you can wipe the drive, then reinstall Windows. But if your PC can reinstall Windows without a special CD or DVD, wiping the entire drive will effectively destroy the Windows license that came with it. Even wiping the C: partition and leaving the recovery partition alone might render recovery impossible.

Now then, about paranoia: Most of these programs offer several wiping methods, some of them elaborate
routines that write over your drive 35 files to make sure nothing can be restored. But a simple, one-pass wipe will render your data inaccessible to any software that an identity thief is likely to have. A one-pass wipe is also faster (we’re talking hours instead of days) and in some cases, cheaper. So unless you have reason to fear the FBI, you can probably skip the massively slow and secure Gutmann method. (Source: Remove Sensitive Data Before You Sell an Old PC – CIO)

For recommendations on how to clean your hard drive check the article.

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