Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Applemania, Vindicated

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.

Apparently something over 100,000 organizations (god knows how many computers that means) were hit by the latest ransomware exploit. From what we’re told, the victims are all Windows users.

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.


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Author: funny

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  1. Before one gets too schadenfreude-ish about running a Mac, remember that our entire supply chain – everything that gets stuff to you so you can live – runs on Windows, and many of those organizations are hurting bad this week. So you and your Mac can enjoy starving together:)

    I run every OS every day (IT support) including Windows 7 and 10, and I’m pretty paranoid about staying up to date on patches and security fixes. (Windows Auto-update works fine too.) I haven’t been personally affected yet.

    I’ve used Dropbox for years to hold everything important, but I’m also sensitive to the fact that a ransomware attack will still put you out of business if your computer won’t even boot up. Even if your files are safe, how can you get to them? In certain extremities, I’ve been reduced to using my phone to conduct business. Barely possible, but not pleasant.

    Your backup approach sounds thorough, but the last part is to test to make sure you can actually restore from your Time Machine backup. A dodgy hard drive cable is all that is needed to perforate your strategy. If you are getting a new Mac, keep the old one around and see if you can actually restore from a TM backup.

  2. Ha hah! that’s good!

    Seriously, I hope neither you nor any of your clients or employers have been affected by the current flap.

    So it sounds like you might not think I’m crazy in my demented belief that just about anything in the Cloud (encrypted or not) is vulnerable to SOME degree (greater or lesser). DropBox seems to me to fall into the “vulnerable” category: first because it’s not encrypted and second because your computer (and hence ransomware and presumably other kinds of malware) perceives the DB files as residing on a directory of its very own. That is, the computer thinks it’s another folder, as it were.

    Excellent thought about keeping the old unit in the back of the closet, at least until such time as it becomes SO superannuated that nothing extant can read it.

    I’m hoping the plan to keep several back-ups in such a way that there will always be one iteration that’s at least two weeks old (i.e., untouched by the Web over the previous 14 days) is something that will make some sort of sense. One never knows with old laydeez, though. Some of our ideas are the wise outcome of decades of experience; some of them are just batsh!t.

    On Time Machine, at this point we’re getting backups from two separate units: an iMac and a MacBook. These two do not communicate with each other (they’re not synced) but they do both “see” DropBox. While it’s not impossible, it’s unlikely that they both will prove problematic. I hope.