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Protect Your Data from Loss or Theft


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One out of three U.S. citizens has had their personal data exposed as a result of lost or stolen data. While data theft has somber implications for the individuals impacted, it also has dire consequences for the companies involved. Just ask Card Systems Solutions, which ceased doing business after a 2004 data breach exposed as many as 40 million credit card accounts.

To ward off data theft, use strong passwords to protect the BIOS. Watch closely as the computer boots up - just after the system performs its memory check, a message will display at the bottom of the screen telling you which key to press to enter the BIOS menu. From there, just follow the onscreen prompts. Mac users should password protect the firmware.

Encrypt sensitive data files or clear laptops and other mobile devices of confidential data before traveling. For encryption, try the open source TrueCrypt.

Also, beware the portslurping vampires - never, ever allow anyone's USB device to be hooked up to your computer, and never allow your USB devices to be hooked up to theirs.

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