In the beginning Scopes was fair and then through the years, they bent left and frankly, well, misrepresented facts, on certain issues. Defended left-wing positions, especially Obama-related material, when we saw videos proving the Snopes-scenarios were completely untrue. So it's a matter of sifting through a ton of info, going back to the source for 10-times-around-published/slightly-altered-info. Often we see websites post stories without bothering to verify and we are asked, "Is this real?" Thank you for trusting us. Once in a great while, we are duped, and when that happens, we acknowledge same, with apologies. It's the only way to maintain a good reputation and a matter of doing homework before linking.
Protecting Your Personal Information
As to how we backup and protect our personal information… We do not use Cloud-based backup like Carbonite or iDrive. Some companies offer to make a copy of your material and send you a hard copy on a thumb or disc. So now you've got their employees in your personal business. We're not picking on them; those are just 2 examples. There are heaps more. When we've had to take in our Macs for repair, Stan has stood there, sometimes for the entire day, to see that no one cloned or copied our material. This may sound extreme, but your security is in their hands and it's up to you to take appropriate precautions. They say they won't look, but who knows. You have put your personal data, maybe your most intimate photos and financial information in the hands of well, everyone.
Stan and I use Mac's Time Machine. It backs up everything to an external hard drive that goes nowhere into cyberspace, where it can be had by all, like your health records with your SSN on nearly every document. This backup stays on a hard drive on your desk. That's it. You can set preferences for backing up as you go, once a day, turn it off and on throughout the day, set it to back up when you're not using your computer, whatever suits your needs. Their Restore feature is beyond nice. If you muff up something, simply hit Restore and pick a time to see the page before you screwed it up. Hit Replace and you're done. You can overwrite the error or save it as a copy. For PC users, here are the 6 Best Time Machine Alternatives for Windows.
We also suggest LifeLock. We've used them since the company first opened in 2005. For about $30 a month for their best package they monitor transactions on your credit cards for unusual activity. However, you can get protection for as little as $10 a month.
Several years ago they sent Stan an alert for a $7.25 charge made in the UK on one of our company cards. I was grocery shopping when he called asking if I'd made this transaction. No, didn't. That put the kibosh on it right then and there, thanks to LifeLock Someone at a restaurant had taken off our security code from our credit card when paying. Now when we go to restaurants, we pay cash. Always. The other alternative is to follow your server back to their payment area, hand them your credit card, see they don't jot down your 3- or 4-digit security code. Yes they could memorize it and jot it down later, but cash prevents this. Sorry state that it's come to this, but one of our company cards was compromised twice, so we take these precautions.
The other thing I do is assign just one credit card for online purchases. It limits exposure especially when hearing that a year ago Uber hushed up that 57 million people's personal info had been compromised and Sonic's databases had been hacked in Sept. Also in Sept. it was revealed that a popular file-clean up program called CCleaner with over 2 billion downloads had been compromised with a “backdoor.” It allowed hackers to target users who thought that they had downloaded and were using the app from a legitimate source. Then the crown jewel of ironies: Equifax, one of the nation's largest credit reporting companies, was hacked compromising personal data of 145.5 million U.S. consumers. This data went info the dark web and heaven only knows now who has it.
The FTC recommended that people go to Equifax the scene of the crime, so to speak, and fill out a short form to see if your info had been compromised. Our course they were swamped with literally millions of people to answer. They said they'd get back to us. It's now been over 3 months and we're still waiting for that promised contact. Instead, LifeLock stepped up and has been giving Stan regular updates.
Here a few other tips we use:
- Never give your real maiden name or birth date unless it's to the government or doctors. Be sure to remember how you altered it.
- Especially around the Christmas / Hanukkah holiday, ask the bank who issues your credit card to use tighter controls on purchases. They may do this automatically. You might go to make a large purchase and if it's not a place you buy from frequently, they may decline your card. It's a pain, but you then have to phone the bank and tell them you're going to make a purchase. They usually ask how much do you think the it will be, guestimate only needed. It's just an added layer of protection for both you and the bank. Often you'll find these measures have been relaxed after Christmas is over.
- Another trick we've used for years, which actually makes ordering online faster and foolproof, is to make a cheat sheet. Type out in a text document like Word your name, physical and shipping addresses, phone, your credit card number, expiration date and security code. When a shopping cart asks for it, just Copy and Paste. It eliminates errors and typos, you bypass any keystroke logging malware on your computer and you check out about 5 times faster than retyping your details for each purchase.
- Change your passwords often. Make hackers work for them. Even after years of ID theft specialist warnings, you'd be surprised how many people still use qwerty, 12345, 7777777, 123123, 1q2w3e4r5t, and password as their passwords. Use both capital and lower case letters, with numbers and symbols interspersed like d#kMt@95q%&e*.
- When banks want you to pick a security question, choose the least obvious and one whose answer you haven't been plastered all over social media, like "What's your favorite pet?" Instead, choose something difficult "What was the make of the first car you owned?" or "What was your great granddad's favorite middle name?" and then make something up. Again, be sure to make note of it.
- We also use virus detection. Make sure to take advantage of all updates they offer as new malicious software is always surfacing. We use MacScan and here are more to choose from though there are quite a few others not listed here.
Hackers are getting more clever so it pays, literally, to protect your data, your credit rating and your passwords like they were Ft. Knox.
DISCLAIMER: As like for Dare To Prepare, we receive no remuneration for companies and products suggested. They are our unbiased findings. None of these measures are foolproof, but taken together, hopefully they afford decent protection.