These are the days when everyone is practically attached to an electronic device; take your computer, for example. In fact, some of us have more than one. It is no longer the prerogative of IT professionals and geeks alone – we are all sending and receiving emails (…and God forbid, we cannot do that…all hell will brake loose) and we are all on the Internet tweeting, researching, downloading songs and movies, looking for materials for the latest presentation or doing a hundred and one other things we can now do online.
It is also so easy to buy a computer these days that it almost feels anticlimactic ..when we take hold of our new baby and march out of JB Hi Fi or whatever store you fancy for your computer purchases.
Probably, the best thing about computers today is that they have become so user friendly that you do not need to be a geek to know how to use one like a pro. On the other hand, computers have become so complex that if yours decides to give you the ‘blue screen of death’ or refuses to start up – you are in a bind if you are not a self-troubleshooting kind of person. And so, you send your computer for computer repairs or maintenance…Easy! Dial the number. Wait for the geek. Hand the computer over and receive your computer back all fixed. Stop for a minute right here…. Before handing your computer and your important information to that geek, did you back up your files? Did you ask if the computer repair geek will do that for you? If you have not, and the computer repairs geek does not offer a backup service, you may be in trouble as your information may be lost as a result of some types of computer repair work , e.g reformatting. (Please bare in mind that sometimes, in fairly rare circumstances, data simply cannot be retrieved from a hard drive and if you do not have a back up of your own, it will be lost.)
Most of us tend to accumulate a large amount of useful and useless information on our computers over a period of time. And if there are systems that we use by ourselves, like a personal computer, we tend to get careless about security, even for data that is extremely sensitive and the loss of which could lead to undesirable consequences. So, before you send out for computer repairs , ensure that you check these off your to-do list as well.
- If possible, remove all sensitive information like files that contain passwords for your bank accounts, your PIN, CVV and other important numbers used for your cards, and other details relevant to your bank accounts which could be used to hack them or gain unlawful access to them. Even common information like your date of birth and your mother’s maiden name can be used to gain access to your bank information and used to perpetrate fraud and theft. It is better if you simply do not store that type of information on your computer especially in one file.
- Remove files that contain your credit and debit card numbers, and any other details which could be used to perpetrate identity theft.
- Remove files that contain information relevant to your passwords for email accounts and social networks.
- Remove stored passwords on your browsers – you can do this by clearing your history from Settings. Some browsers allow you to see your stored passwords through a “Show Saved Passwords” option.
- Delete photos and other files that could be misused by unscrupulous people or move them to a portable disk or online storage facility.
- Delete any sexually explicit photos and videos you may have stored, intentionally or inadvertently. It is your prerogative of course, but you do not want the world to know you as the next Paris Hilton.
- Back up all important your data to a secure location so that you do not have to worry about it getting deleted or lost inadvertently. It is advisable to do this on a regular basis so you do not lose any important information if your hard disk gets corrupted.
Even if you follow these rules, you may still not be safe, so make sure that you hire a reputable computer company for your computer repairs work. Check their website, see if anyone yu know has used their services, speak to the comany representative and only when you are sure, hand over your computer.
Over and out