Welp…Now that every Windows machine on the planet is in some megalomaniac hacker’s crosshairs, I sure am glad I have an Apple.
Much as I resented the cost, time, and hassle involved in having to upgrade both computers and change out the hard drive on the MacBook…sure am glad i have Apple.
That doesn’t mean that Apple users aren’t targets. They surely are. One of the women on the choir reported that she had to cough up $300 to get her Mac unlocked. And she was a little old church lady, not likely to be downloading BitTorrent or cruising porn sites. She probably opened a phishing email and clicked on a link in it.
Spared extreme risk from this current attack, I’ve now arranged a two-pronged back-up system: one that backs up continuously to external drives with TimeMachine (which backs up your work in real time), and one that backs up manually to two external drives that most of the time are disconnected from the computer. Additionally, I’ve copied all my data files to DropBox.
You can use Time Machine to make a one-time back-up. It copies EVERYTHING on your computer, including the programs — not just data files — and stores it neatly on an external drive or other medium. (A few cloud applications are compatible with Time Machine.) So: here’s the strategy…
Time Machine backs up one machine (which also accesses Dropbox) continuously to external drives. Two external drives: if one crashes, the other continues to run. I hope.
With all the crucial data files on DropBox, if the house burns down or the burglar steals both machines, it won’t matter: I’ll still be able to access anything that matters. I now work exclusively on DropBox, so that all updates to data files are done in real time on DB.
Two 2-terabyte external drives back up the MacBook, also using Time Machine. On the first of the month, I plug in drive A and activate Time Machine. Soon as the download is complete, I disconnect the external drive. Then on the 15th of the month, I plug in drive B and repeat. Thus, at any given time the backup on one of the drives is two weeks old.
It takes about three days for a ransomware attack to manifest itself. This means that at least ONE external hard drive will contain uninfected data if malware is installed on my computers.
Since two weeks is a long time when you’re editing brain-banging academic articles ranging in length from 6,000 to 60,000 words — a lot of work that you don’t want to repeat gets done in that period — I also have flash drive large enough to hold the contents of my DropBox files. That, I intend to plug in about every four days, to back up the most recent work. I probably should alternate with two of those, too…but there’s a limit to how much ditz I can tolerate.