A padlock sitting on a computer
Image credit: Pixabay

Every November 30 since 1988 has been Computer Security Day. A good thing, too, considering the frequency and severity of computer-related crimes, breaches, hacks, and so on. And yet, somehow, most people do shockingly little to protect their digital devices and their data. (Pro tip: putting an open padlock on top of your laptop won’t help.) I’ve written kind of a lot about security-related issues, so allow me to help you celebrate Computer Security Day with some tips (and recommendations for some of my books):

  • Passwords: Always use long, random passwords, and never use the same one in more than one place. A password manager makes all of this painless. Pertinent books: Take Control of Your Passwords and, if you decide on 1Password as your password manager, Take Control of 1Password.

  • Backups: You should have multiple backups of everything on your computer—and update them every day. An online backup service makes this painless (is there an echo in here?). You can read my recommendations in this Wirecutter article. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll learn much more about backups in my book Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac.

  • Updates: Always keep up with software updates, which often contain bug fixes for security issues. I talk about software updates—and many other maintenance tasks—for Mac users in Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac.

  • Privacy: Security, privacy, and anonymity are all distinct but related. Good security can help to protect your privacy, and I give extensive advice on this topic in Take Control of Your Online Privacy, which is for users of any platform. (I also explain, in that book, how a bear can illustrate the differences among security, privacy, and anonymity!)

Let’s be safe out there!