In the last two chapters, we explored ways that your personal information could be threatened, and examined techniques for protecting your privacy on the Web. In this chapter, we’ll consider additional threats to your computer that do not directly involve privacy, but nevertheless can be very damaging—lost, corrupted, or stolen data.
Backups are copies that you make of information that you hope you will never need. A backup can be a simple copy of a file that you put on a Zip disk and put away in the top drawer of your desk for safekeeping. If the original file is inadvertently deleted or corrupted, the backup can be retrieved after the damage is noticed.
Backups can be very simple, like the Zip disk in your desk drawer, or they can be exceedingly complex. For example, many backup systems will let you copy every file on your computer onto a 30-gigabyte magnetic tape and create a special “restore floppy.” In the event that your computer is lost or stolen, you can buy a new computer and a tape drive, put the tape into the tape drive, and boot the computer from the floppy disk; the backup system will automatically restore all of your files and applications to the newly-purchased computer.
Bugs, accidents, natural disasters, and attacks on your system cannot be predicted. Often, despite your best efforts, they can’t be prevented. But if you have good backups, you at least won’t lose your data—and in many ...