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Files that we must encrypt or destroy to protect our identity

The main types of files that can pose a risk to our privacy

Surely we all save on our computer personal photos that we have taken over the years of our life and everything that surrounds it. Photos, although they may seem harmless, are one of the easiest ways to identify them and break our privacy, since they can reveal a large amount of information about our tastes and interests, in addition to allowing anyone to identify us with great ease. If we also have saved any photo to our passwords or credit cards, the risk increases exponentially, and we must delete these photos as soon as possible if we do not want to have problems.

We also usually save all kinds of documents. Most of the time they are harmless documents, such as jobs or a report that does not have personal or extremely important information, however, some document may contain more sensitive information, such as personal data, bank details or financial data. Also if we usually save on the computer our train or plane tickets, the tickers and invoices of what we buy and even several versions of our curriculum, we can be making it easier for anyone to do with everything related to our identity.

Other types of files that may have a large amount of personal information about us are, for example, data from our browser or a plain text document that we can save, for example, with a key or password (something incredible but, unfortunately, very common).

What should we do to protect these files

When it comes to protecting the previous files and preventing them from falling, in different ways, into the hands of unauthorized users, the first thing to consider is whether we really need to save that file or, otherwise, we don’t need it and, in that case, we can remove it.

We may keep documents from a few years ago that we will never need, tickets, invoices and even resumes that, although old and outdated, may pose a risk to our privacy. If we don’t need these files, the best we can do is remove them safely from our computer or device so that no one can access them, not even with forensic analysis techniques, thus protecting our privacy.

If, on the other hand, we have personal files on our computer that we do not want to lose, such as, for example, documents that we do need or personal photos, then the best way to protect it is by using an encryption system that protects the files we want with a password. One of the best tools for this purpose is VeraCrypt.

Finally, we remind you that we should never sell a hard drive over the Internet because the data, even if we erase it, is always there. And if we have bought a new hard drive and we are going to replace the old one, the best we can do is wreck it safely with a hammer or drill. Prevention is better than cure.

Can the cloud help us protect our privacy and identity?

Although we still keep saving a lot of data on our computer, little by little it is gaining a lot of popularity cloud storage on platforms such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox. These platforms can be very useful to save our personal data, such as photos (in Google Photos, for example) or our documents so that, in addition to having a backup in the cloud, we can access them at any time from anywhere . However, does this really protect our identity?

Cloud storage platforms are usually safe, we cannot deny that, at least as long as we use a strong password and double authentication system. It is rare that a hacker can access the data that we have stored in the cloud if it is not for our weakness. However, saving personal data in the cloud is not the best option either.

When we upload any file to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox or whatever cloud, we are transferring ownership of the file to the company responsible for said cloud, file that we are copying to a server located hundreds or thousands of kilometers from us and over which we have absolutely no control. Hackers will not access our files, but it has not yet been proven that companies, especially Google, do not analyze our files and use them for commercial purposes.

Do you take care of your personal files to protect your identity and privacy?