News

Keep your course work safe at University

14/09/2016

So you have just started university, there are lots of things you need to consider, including your course work safety and storage solutions.

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You will find that a lot of universities provide desktop computers which you can log into while you are on campus as well as a personal storage area for your own use. This storage area can be accessed on campus when you are logged into a university computer. Some universities also offer a VPN system, but what about when you go back to your accommodation or want to find a quiet space to work offsite without wifi? An encrypted USB offers you the opportunity to transfer your course work safely between machines and ensure no one else can get access to it.

Portable storage

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Like any form of data storage, always have a back-up of any important data in case of loss or damage.

USBs are a convenient and portable way to store and transfer large files. They use Flash Memory to store data – this is a form of memory that keeps its contents even when unplugged. USB drives are a reliable choice (no moving parts to break) – most manufacturers quote a life of about ten years for them.

Cardwave recommends SafeToGo® which provides you with an encrypted, secure USB drive.

With so many cloud storage systems like Dropbox and Google Drive, why would anyone want to a USB flash drive? For most people, storing and transferring large files, or large numbers of files, is still cumbersome using online systems. Sure, you could load everything onto your portable hard drive, but those are usually bulky and again may not be encrypted. USB sticks often weigh less than an ounce and fit comfortably on a key ring.

A hardware encrypted USB flash drive such as SafeToGo gives you a quick and easy way to transfer large amounts of data, including documents, photos, music and videos with the reassurance that if lost the data will remain secure.

Get 10% off SafeToGo at www.cardwaveshop.com with code “drcomp”.

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Anti-Virus

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Make sure you have an anti-virus programme installed and running on your computer. There are many software packages available that will reduce the chance of virus attacks. Students are able to download and install a copy of Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus and anti-malware which auto-updates and is free. Many anti-virus packages automatically update, giving you one less thing to worry about. Packages available include Microsoft Security Essentials (free), Norton, McAffee, Kaspersky, AVG from Grisoft (free), AVAST (free) to name a few.

Anti-Spyware

As well as an anti-virus package you should also have an anti-spyware programme which is included in Microsoft Security Essentials (i.e. Adaware, SpyBot Search and Destroy). Spyware covertly gathers information about you and sends it back to a pre-defined source over the Internet. This data is mostly used for advertising purposes but can be used for more severe attacks including data theft. Ensure that you regularly update and run an anti-spyware scan. It might also help speed up infected laptops, as the spyware often slows a machine down. Anti-Spyware systems can help keep your data safe and a product like “Windows Defender” comes built into Windows. You should keep both anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date with the latest versions to stay protected.

Password Security

By now, the use of strong passwords should be a basic security protocol. A strong password should use a mixture of alphanumeric characters and other symbols, should be at least 8 characters long (though longer is better), and should not be used across multiple sites.

However, just following these suggestions still doesn’t mean a password is secure. There are common formats and formulae people use for passwords that make them still easy for attackers to guess, for example, putting all the numbers at the end, or replacing a character with an obvious substitute, such as an ‘o’ and a ‘0’. Strong passwords need to avoid using these trends, and ideally avoid using dictionary words at all. A good technique is to use come up with a passphrase instead of a password, and to then code that phrase into a number of letters, numbers, and symbols, to make it even more secure. This way, even if the phrase is something that could be found online, like a quote or a song lyric, the resulting string of characters will be different enough from the original phrase that it can’t just be guessed.

Another technique for creating strong passwords is called a ‘haystack’. This technique is designed to make long, strong passwords that are easier to remember than random combinations of characters. A haystack will use a number of real words that have no connection to each other, and that are not personal to the user, to make a memorable, nonsense string. These words are often used in conjunction with symbols for added security.

Splash Data compiled a list of the 25 most used passwords of 2015. Here’s how they compare to the year before:

1. 123456 (Unchanged)
2. password (Unchanged)
3. 12345678 (Up 1)
4. qwerty (Up 1)
5. 12345 (Down 2)
6. 123456789 (Unchanged)
7. football (Up 3)
8. 1234 (Down 1)
9. 1234567 (Up 2)
10. baseball (Down 2)
11. welcome (New)
12. 1234567890 (New)
13. abc123 (Up 1)
14. 111111 (Up 1)
15. 1qaz2wsx (New)
16. dragon (Down 7)
17. master (Up 2)
18. monkey (Down 6)
19. letmein (Down 6)
20. login (New)
21. princess (New)
22. qwertyuiop (New)
23. solo (New)
24. passw0rd (New)
25. starwars (New)

Data Recovery

There are many reasons you might lose data from a SD card, a USB, your phone or a hard drive. Perhaps the device has experienced a technical problem and the data has corrupted, or the device can no longer be recognised by your computer for you to transfer your files and photos across. Perhaps you made a mistake and deleted the wrong thing and can’t find a way to get it back.
Losing data can be very demoralising, but you don’t have to give up on those lost files. Data Resus is a data recovery service that can recover a vast range of file types from all sorts of media devices, whether they were lost by a simple mistake or by a bigger problem, be it a dropped hard drive or even water damage.

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As you continue to use your computer, or any device you’ve deleted files from, the new data you create and store – even unintentionally, through temporary Internet files – starts to be stored in the space where your old files were. This space is often spread out over the drive, rather than all being in one area, so bits of the file may be replaced in only a matter of hours, while other parts might sit untouched on the drive for years. This is why recovery of some files is only partially successful.

It’s important, then, to minimise the use of a device you wish to recover data from as much as you can, as continued use of it provides more opportunities for the data you want to recover to be replaced with new data. One important example of this is downloading data recovery software; don’t download the software to the drive you want to recover from, if it’s a situation where the drive is still accessible, as you run the risk of replacing your data with the software.

Let Data Resus help bring your data and memories back to life.

Find out more at www.dataresus.com / dataresus@cardwave.com

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