Protect Yourself

This has been a rough couple of weeks.  I’d like to share with you a tiny part of what happened.  On Monday night the 29th, about half an hour before closing, I was working on a bibliography when I was called to the adult side of the library to help out.  There were only two boys on the children’s side and I thought nothing of it.

I came back and tried to save my document, but it wouldn’t save.  Wha??  Then I noticed.  My Mickey Mouse flash drive was gone, right out of the computer.

Yep.

The flash drive on which I had recorded everything I’ve done for the year, all I’ve written, all the books I’ve gone through and thought, “This would be great for _______ storytime.” Everything.  Including the PowerPoint presentation for a Math for Caregivers program the next evening (fortunately, the 19 page handouts with all the ideas and resources were already printed out.)

And absolutely nobody was in the children’s side of the library.

I immediately notified the staff, and we all raced around trying to locate the boys.  They weren’t in the library, they weren’t in the bathrooms, and they weren’t out front.  Talk about a sinking feeling!  Then, one of our amazing staffers remembered that one of the boys had asked for his library card number, and she knew his name.  Quickly, my boss called the family and asked for their help.  The father of the boys, surprised, said that the flash drive was sitting right in front of him and that the boy had found it on the floor.  He’d picked it up and brought it home because he knew how much his dad liked Mickey Mouse. He would be happy to return it.

In a few moments, the flash drive was back in my hands, but it wasn’t quick enough.  The boy had already deleted everything on it and renamed it for himself.  I was so elated to get the drive back, and then stunned to discover everything wiped out.

Yes, I do back my drive up, but despite my good intentions, I had procrastinated until I had waited several months.  So, lesson one is: set a date for backing up and keep it.  I’ve decided that every Monday is my back-up day.  That way I can only loose one week’s worth of work at the most.

Our great techs at the library were able to recover many of the documents, and my amazing husband was able to recover many more.  (On a funny aside, while my husband was working on this, he said, “Do you know how many files you had on here?  Over five hundred!”  No, I didn’t realize that, but I’m not surprised.  In the end, I realized I’d probably had over 700.)

In the end, I comprehended just how vulnerable our electronic lives are.  One electrical surge, one lightning bolt, one spilled coffee cup, and hundreds of documents, photos, files, and hundreds of hours of work are wiped out.

Then, two nights ago our truck was broken into outside of our house at night.  Right next to our house, with a floodlight and a porch light on.  The nerve!  Nothing of import was stolen, and we learned that this is a little crime ring that has been targeting our area.  Immediately, I thought of all our financial information sitting on our computer a few steps and one door away from that truck.  Criminitly!

I’m feeling a bit vulnerable, can you tell?

I’m not one to live in fear.  I take reasonable precautions (hence floodlights and locks), but I also believe that people determined to do wrong will always find a way.  Sooo, we should take reasonable steps.  Use passwords.  Back up your systems (my financial information has always been backed up), lock your doors.  Coincidentally, the two vehicles that were locked weren’t broken into.  Somebody (and I’m not naming any names here, darling) made things too easy.

Let’s not make things too easy for the bad guys.  Or the kids who aren’t bad, but can’t resist the impulse to walk away with something that doesn’t belong to them.

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One Response to Protect Yourself

  1. suefoote says:

    Thanks for the cautionary tale. An excellent reminder to back up electronic files.

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