I use Apple computers for lecturing and Windows 8 and Linux (especially Ubuntu distro) for WordPress Web development (for Webhosting however I only use Linux OS). Most of all I use Windows 8 particularly because the vast majority of people tend to run Windows so testing Websites is simpler when using the same environment as most Website visitors.
There has been so much reporting recently about the capabilities that the NSA and other government agencies have in regards to gaining access to peoples data. All this has come about due to the leaks by Edward Snowdon. In some ways the whole Snowdon/NSA saga has overshadowed that it isn’t just one big organization that is able to steal or access a persons data; there are some very clever people and groups out there that are very successful at getting your data and/or scamming you.
Below are five tools I use as a Web developer to secure my data (specifically for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems):
Free and oh so good! BleachBit clears your caches, cookies and removes data that isn’t needed on your PC. It will also overwrite free disc space so that deleted files can’t be recovered. What I love particularly about BleachBit is that it goes beyond what many other ‘cleaners’ do and has an emphasis on security (it even has specific FileZilla cleaning activities.
BleachBit works on Windows and Linux.
Microsoft Windows Defender
Why pay for security software when you get it with Windows. Windows Defender is excellent and includes anti-spyware and antivirus capabilities. Best of all it’s unobtrusive and runs in the background.
If you don’t currently encrypt the data on your PC then it’s time you start. There are various local data encryption software products available but one of the best is the free TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt even may be used on portable devices such as USB drives.
TrueCrypt entered into encryption folklore in 2008 when discs of a banker accused of money laundering were seized. The Brazilian security services tried in vain to decrypt the TrueCrypt encrypted data and then handed over the discs to the FBI. The FBI tried for 12 months to access the data without success.
Some versions of Windows 8 come with BitLocker disc encryption.
I don’t know how I could be productive without a means of securely keeping my clients various usernames and passwords easily available. My 1Password keychain, which is encrypted by 1Password, is stored in Google Drive so is encrypted twice. I then use the same keychain on multiple devices including Android and Apple devices so passwords are always in sync.
A contentious recommendation I know. Many people believe that using cloud data storage is insecure however I subscribe to the opposite hypothesis; that encrypted cloud storage is actually safer than having my data on a physical computer (that can possibly be hacked into and stolen).
I actually have real issues about the very poor performance of Google Drive on Windows and, worse, that there isn’t even a Linux (especially Ubuntu) install available. Besides the significant problems that Drive does have, it’s just incredibly useful if you, like me, use Google Apps and/or Gmail and especially if you work on multiple devices.
On the security side, the ease of use of two-factor authentication is brilliant, data is encrypted in the ‘cloud’ and, if any of my devices were stolen, I can remove access to the data from that device Online.