Lately, a number of writers I know have had their sites and emails hacked into. While there are no guarantees that anything you do will protect you, the more obstacles or barriers you put up the better. If you were a knight, your first line of personal defense would be your shield. As an internet user, your first line of defense is your password.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Many sites, groups, forums, etc., that require passwords have a password gauge. It actually tells you how strong your password is.
This is convenient and a great tool if you actually use it. I watch as I type in my password; it goes from weak to medium to strong; using the best combinations of words and letters creates the strong reading.
An important tip from the Elance.com blog (a freelance writer’s job listing site) is to mix it up. What does this mean? Don’t use “Iwantin” as your password for everything. If a hacker figures out one of your passwords, you don’t want that to be the ‘key to the city.’
To keep track of all your passwords may need to create a Password Sheet. While it’s a bit of extra work, you’ll be glad you have it when you forget a password.
And, please be aware that I was just kidding with the password of “I want in.” Your passwords shouldn’t be your name or other simple word, date, or phrase, no matter how funny or cute. You need a combination of letters and numbers, and/or special characters. Pretend you’re at a carnival and you have the hammer in your hand…you lift it up and over your should, then you slam it down with all your might…the ball rises to the top and hits the bell. This is how you should view the creation of your passwords—hit the bell with each one.
To be extra careful, it would be a good idea to periodically change your passwords, even it they have a strong reading.
2. Back Up Your Work Daily
I’ve written about this before, but it’s such an important aspect of writing that I’m including in here.
Often, I know this pertains to me, we forget to back up our work. I also know how important it is because twice I lost VERY IMPORTANT documents. One of those documents was a manuscript I was working on – about a week’s worth of revisions…GONE. I ranted and raved…and cried.
Backing up your work should be done on a daily basis, if you’ve done any writing or saved an article or newsletter – it’s important to backup. If you’ve bother to save useful or interesting information, it’s worth it to back it up. I save so much information from sites or emails or newsletters that I intend to read later...often I forget where I saved it, but that’s another story.
The strategy I use now is to save directly to a zip drive. If it’s an exceptionally important file, say, my manuscripts or clients work, I “save as” to my hard drive also. Then, I save the important folders to a 2nd zip – I should be doing this daily, but I always forget. And, as a full back up, I save any folders I’ve worked in to a 3rd zip drive once a week. I feel confident that a 3and 4 layer backup should be safe.
I know may writers save their work at offsite services such as carbonite.com or backupsolution.com (please note, I’m not recommending any service), but I haven’t journeyed down that path yet. I have enough monthly writing expenses without adding an offsite backup system. Even at $5-7 per month, it’s more than I’m willing to pay right now. I just hope I don't end up regreting my decision.
Until next time,
Platform Building with Content Marketing