Beanery Online Literary Magazine

February 19, 2008

PROTECTING PRIVACY OF PERSONAL DATA ON YOUR COMPUTER

Click here to read A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 1 &

A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 2 (filed in category COMMENTARY)

Click here http://redtape.msnbc.com/2008/02/a-lost-laptop-a.html#posts to read article on Raelyn Campbell’s $54 million lawsuit against Best Buy

In reviewing posts responding to Raelyn Campbell’s “tale of frustration” in dealing with

her laptop repair problems at Best Buy and her resultant $54 million lawsuit (read the article at http://redtape.msnbc.com/2008/02/a-lost-laptop-a.html#posts ) I discovered many valuable hints on protecting my data privacy when my laptop (or computer) must report to the electronics hospital.

Thanks to Jeffrey, in upstate NY, who wonders about Campbell’s “lack of common sense” in storing personal tax file (and perhaps other sensitive documents) on her notebook computer. First, the computer could be lost somewhere in her travels, as happened with BestBuy. Second, she probably connects to the Internet using various hotel guest networks and hotspots at other locations which significantly increase her exposure to exploits and malware, capable of accessing sensitive data on her computer. Third, if she ever needs to have her computer repaired, even if BestBuy did not lose her computer, the technicians at the repair facilities still have access to the data and files on her computer. And if the hard drive fails, it would be replaced, and it is likely that she would not obtain the drive back. In many cases, a hard drive that cannot be booted can still easily have data recovered from it. Thus the possibilities for Identity Theft are significant both desktop systems and notebooks, but definitely greater for notebook computers.

In this Digital Age, giving your personal files to a stranger is the dumbest thing you could do. DUHHHHH! Robert William Churchill

Through several posts I learned that I do not have to be dumb. I CAN protect and preserve my data if I learn a few simple techniques.

First and foremost, the hard drive can be removed from the computer while it is “hospitalized,” since it is irrelevant to any repairs that need to be accomplished.
While I feel sorry for this woman and the issues she has had; a lot of the stress, worries and problems she occurred could have been easily avoided. Prior to leaving the computer to be repaired at the store she should have requested that they remove her hard drive that contained all of her data for her to hold onto. For majority of “hardware issues” the service techs do not need to have the hard drive. Exceptions being of course a hard drive problem and all software issues. Tisa Cincinnati, Ohio —For starters I absolutely can not believe that neither Ms. Campbell nor her Best Buy store thought to REMOVE her hard drive from her laptop!!!!! That is something that should have been done regardless – Best Buy had no need for her hard drive to have been left in her system while they “repaired” it. They should have “Test Hard Drives” that they use when repairing a system. Robin, NW AR

This advice is critical to preserving the privacy of personal data. However, Robert, West Haven, CT notes that “Only an experienced user would know to make this request.”

As a computer professional, Jeffrey does not store personal information on a notebook computer. He stores only limited personal information on his desktop systems.
“For very sensitive information, I store the information on removal media, such as flash drives, and restrict the access of the systems that process it to the Internet by physically disconnecting the systems from my network.

I urge everyone to take common sense precautions against having data on your own systems compromised. Think about this – if your system is lost, stolen, or simply needs to be fixed by someone else, what is the likelihood that your data can be stolen or compromised? Flash drives and removal media are cheap, and if they fail (and backups are available), you can easily destroy and replace them. Jeffrey, Upstate New York (Sent Feb 12, 2008 9:18:24 AM)

JB Washington DC ‘s post states: I cannot stress enough that you need encryption if you are storing any personal information on a computer or notebook…A backup program is a must as well, just because you have a large hard drive doesn’t mean you are safe, you should get a USB hard drive and backup on a regular basis or use an online backup like Iron Mountain’s Connected or even something like Carbonite.

Tisa Cincinnati, Ohio, concurs in her post: A smart computer owner will also backup their important data to an external usb or firewire hard drive (~$100 depending on size) or actually store their data on an external drive. That way you have the data and can delete the data from a system prior to leaving it for repair.

The next time I take my laptop (or computer) to the “electronics hospital,” I will be much wiser in protecting my personal data.

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8 Comments »

  1. I’ve had people look at my screen for possible information in public places. I mean people will do anything for information, even if it’s illegal. It’s all about the information now. I recently has my laptop stolen and a whole mess of things went bad because of some files that were on there. It was my home laptop, no my traveling one. So, I am a fan of doing whatever possible for laptop privacy, from a laptop privacy screen to password protecting your laptop screensaver unlock. Better safe than sorry.

    Comment by No Privacy on Laptops Today — July 25, 2010 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  2. the good thing about notebook computers is that they are not very heavy but they have small screens ;;,

    Comment by Wrench Set — November 17, 2010 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for sharing this information with me. The article was

    extremely informative and I look forward to reading more soon.

    Thanks again. funyhony Laptop Review

    Comment by funyhony — January 17, 2011 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  4. I like this blog very much, Its a real nice spot to read and incur info .

    Comment by Ardelle Fiebig — July 7, 2011 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  5. I second that, great article! It’s really important to protect your network and personal information.

    Comment by Duane Gordon — July 19, 2011 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  6. Very Helpful info
    Thanks for sharing, it’s a great article!!

    Comment by john mista — October 28, 2011 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  7. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative
    and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on
    the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women
    are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that
    I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.

    Comment by best seo expert — April 2, 2013 @ 10:30 am | Reply


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