Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

data privacy

Guest post: how to protect your personal data when disposing of computers

Cassie Phillips is an internet security enthusiast and digi.me blog fan who specialises in cybersecurity and technology and writes at securethoughts.com/express-vpn-review

Most people wouldn’t get rid of their credit cards, Social Security cards or even sensitive paper documents by throwing them out or tossing them in the trash. Yet careful souls across the globe continue to fill landfills with millions of old computers containing exactly that kind of sensitive information, in the process exposing themselves to aggressive high-tech criminals.

Latest statistics indicate that computers are being mined by the millions for bank statements, business documents, Social Security numbers, scandalous pictures and information, credit card details and numerous other tidbits that open the door for everything from full-on identity theft to credit card fraud and even blackmail.

No one needs to be a victim. Here is how you can protect your personal data when you are scrapping or passing your computer or computer related technology, such as external hard drive or USB stick, along to someone else.

Back up your data

Begin the process by copying all of the important data you will need in the future somewhere safe. This can be on your new computer or storage device. Be sure that the storage device is capable of storing all of the data that you need to back up. You may also opt to back up your data in the cloud. Cloud backup strategy involves sending a copy of your data over a public network to an off-site server.

In addition, try to be as safe as possible if you are transferring or emailing them to an online backup, such as cloud storage, especially if you are doing so on the go or in a public setting.

Permanently erase your data

Simply moving your files into the trash or recycle bin and emptying it isn’t enough to permanently delete them. In fact, when you place files in the recycle bin, you are simply marking them to be written over. And unless they are written over, the files remain on the computer’s hard drive. That means anyone who gets hold of your computer can retrieve them using advanced techniques such as hard disk forensic analysis.

For ultimate safety, you need to wipe your drive with a dedicated file deletion software or program, or physically destroy the hard drive to render it useless. Programs such as WipeDrive V5, Nova Drive Erase Pro, CCleaner or Darik’s Boot and Nuke—a DBAN—will overwrite all sectors on your hard drive making data unrecoverable.

Please note that destroying the hard drive isn’t simply throwing it away—it needs to be literally broken up. Hammering or axing the drive should do the job (with much more fun), but if you are unsure of how you’ll dump the metal and plastic pieces in an environmentally-friendly manner, seeking the services of a disposal facility or a computer security firm that uses industrial-size shredders to grind the drive to nothing, might be a good idea.

Encrypt your files

Setting up encryption on your hard drive can also help to protect your data while disposing of your computer. Encryption secures all your files, including both current files and deleted files. PC owners can encrypt with the BitLocker feature built into Professional versions of Windows or opt for the TrueCrypt that is compatible with all versions of Windows.

Encrypted files require an encryption passphrase to open or be accessed. And because the passphrase will be saved to your hard drive in encrypted form and only available when you sign on, the key won’t work if you are signed out or if the screen lock is on.

Try to self-recover your erased files

One way you can be sure that your drive was properly wiped out is by using a file-recovery program to test whether or not you can recover any erased files from your drive. A file recovery program will scan external or internal hard drives for erased files, display information about them, and allow users to recover them.

If your drives were thoroughly wiped, the recovery program should find no files you can recover. File recovery software was designed to execute the same sort of trick an attacker would employ to retrieve your data.

Conclusion

It is completely important to wipe out all the private and confidential data present on your drive such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and even pictures before disposing of your computer or PC. It’s is the only way you will be protected from attackers looking to prey on you.

Cassie Phillips is an internet security enthusiast and digi.me blog fan who specialises in cybersecurity and technology and writes at securethoughts.com/express-vpn-review

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YOU are the #12 reason to love digi.me (#1-11 are also very good!)

You unlocking the power of your data is arguably digi.me’s greatest gift as an app – and it’s only going to get more powerful in 2016.

digi.me’s current incarnation as a social media gathering tool, allowing you so much more enjoyment of, and insight into, your life is already a technological feat that has enriched hundreds of thousands of lives since it was launched.

But 2016 will see the start of a new control over personal data, bringing information about you, that is currently scattered across the web,  back to the person who can be most trusted with it.

And with that data centralising of a whole life, not just the online elements of it, will come greater benefits for you, directly.

Your data will be returned to you, starting with health and financials, and with that gathering enabled by digi.me will come the choice to exchange slices of it as and when you choose, in return for service, convenience and reward with businesses who you – and we – trust.

Our app will enable you to gather this data back together, but you will do it, not us, and so it will be yours alone. We will never be able to see your data or access it at any point, so all the control and choices exercised over it are yours to take.

It’s a revelation in the personal data economy that will benefit businesses who crave better, 100% accurate data, just as it will benefit you, with personalised benefits in return for sight of data you are happy to share.

A value exchange that is a true win-win for all involved – and it’s not just a dream, it’s very close to being a reality.

Download digi.me now, and you can be among the first to know of exciting new developments as they happen – it’s also 50% off for December as an added incentive!

Happy Christmas!

 

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Reliving past comments and likes again: #11/12 reasons to love digi.me

In a world where most of us have hundreds of pictures on our phones, digi.me gives your memories more depth by retaining the comments and likes from when you first posted them.

And so, for the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…the ability to enjoy the past and bring it back to the present.

We post pictures and statuses about our lives to share key experiences, good and bad, with others. The reactions to those posts – outpourings of love, affection or virtual hugs – become part of the experience itself, but often this key element is quickly forgotten unless you go back through your social media history to find the original post – and in our busy and time-poor world, who often has the time to do that?

Enter digi.me – our app gives you the ability to download your posts and pictures from a range of popular platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and collect them in one, secure place to enjoy and share as you want.

But, crucially, the original likes and comments are retained, so not only are your pictures from across all platforms categorised and searchable by date in our automagic journal, they’re just as they were when you first posted them – even down to exactly who liked them.

This makes it easy to relive major events in our lives in full, as they first happened, again and again whenever we choose.

And you can do so much more with these pictures as well – still retaining the likes and comments. Export them via PDF or to Evernote, or create a Collection. Basically, enjoy them in the way that means the most to you.

Ready to start turbo-charging your memories ahead of the Christmas season? Then download digi.me now to try – as an added bonus, it’s 50% off until the end of December!

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Your social media life in one place is the #10/12 reason to love digi.me

digi.me allows you to view a complete picture of any day in your social media history – with a little bit of journal magic…

Our automagic journal collects and displays your social media history by date format – so you can relive any day in full through your online posts and reactions from all your accounts.

So, on the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…the ability to relive special days in all their glory or just zip around the journal at random.

All the clever stuff of normalising the data you’ve downloaded with our app goes on behind the scenes, so all you see is your social media posts as they originally appeared, arranged on the date you made them. Nifty, eh?

The journal view on the left hand navigation defaults to the current day, and you can use the arrows to go back a few days, or click on the date to either select a specific one or see your journal entries across the options given, which include yesterday, lifetime, last seven days, this week, last week, last month, this month, last 30 days and since the last sync.

So, any combination you fancy, really.

Once you’ve selected, make sure you leave plenty of time to dive into the memories of days past – and for this month only our premium package is 50% off, so what are you waiting for? Download now!

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#9 (of 12) reasons to love digi.me – add your own pictures and posts

Having all of your social network content in one place makes for a pretty comprehensive picture of you – but what about the things you didn’t post online? (gasp)

Because we know how important having a complete online picture of you is, one of the recent digi.me updates added the opportunity to add your own posts and pictures that hadn’t been previously shared to your journal.

And so on the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – the chance to make the sum of my online life fully rounded.

Adding your own content couldn’t be easier – simply navigate to the journal view from the home page, and you’ll see an ‘Add something’ bar at the top, with a space waiting to be filled and the option to upload pictures.

Simply start typing, upload anything you want to, and it will be added to your online library on the day entered. Simples, as a certain Meercat might say. These personal entries can be organised into collections, and are searchable, as with all your other account information.

Of course, this is just one great feature among many, which include flashback, universal search, Collection curation and export and so many more. We’ve got new touches being added all the time, and have an iOS app in the works.

Find out just how digi.me can enrich your life by downloading it now – it’s 50% off in December so even more of a bargain than usual!

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#8 (of 12) reasons to love digi.me – you can export your favourite bits!

Your accumulated personal social media network data is a huge and wonderful thing, but sometimes just seeing the bits you want is enough- which is where our gorgeous and speedy export facility comes in.

Taking for granted all the amazing features of digi.me mentioned in the blogs above (which you have read avidly around your Christmas mulled wine drinking and present wrapping, yes?) sometimes small can be beautiful, so on the 8th day of Christmas my (tired) true love gave to me – the gift of export!

Maybe you just have a favourite picture of all-time, or favourites of your children that you want to be able to jump to and look at whenever life gets a bit bleurghh for a feelgood boost.

Of course, you could (and probably should!) delve into your digi.me and find it there, amongst all its friends and loads of other pictures and posts from your past just waiting to be rediscovered, but sometimes there isn’t time for, well, anything that fun.

On those days, being able to view a single picture or small collections of posts and/or pictures is a great thing, and our export feature allows you to do just that.

Anywhere in the app where you can see the PDF and Evernote elephant icons in the ‘do more’ menu in the top right hand corner means download of content on that page is enabled – from a single photo to a whole Facebook album, for eg.

Clicking on either will ask you to select what content you want included – there is a select all button, or you can select individual items. Then press create (for a PDF), which brings up a box asking where you want the finished product exported to, before it is created in seconds. Best of all? These exports retain all the original likes and comments – so can recreate those feelgood moments in a heartbeat.

Everynote exports work in a very similar way, but when you’ve selected your items, you’re given the chance to give the finished note a title and select which of your existing notebooks it should go in, before it too is created in seconds, again with original likes and comments.

Should you want to pull together a more in-depth Collection using content from across a variety of your platforms, simply follow the guide here and then export it as a complete entity.

Can’t wait to get started? Well, excellent – because not only can you download digi.me instantly, but we have 50% off for the whole of December, so you couldn’t have picked a better time. Enjoy!

 

 

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#7 (of 12) reasons to love digi.me – we help you know your friends better!

Coming to the end of the year, we all get very nostalgic looking back on the months gone -but as you use digi.me to flashback through your year, did you ever consider you can also use it to see how well you actually know your friends?

Once again, that’s something that digi.me is really good for – and so for the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – greater insight about my online community!

Yes, you might think you know your friends – particularly those who you are, perhaps, related to, or see often in real life – but onlife life can be a mysterious and weird thing, and the quiet ones IRL can be quite the opposite from the other side of a screen.

But how would you know this? Once again, our super widgets are the way. We have both a most active one and a most influential one – use across all your accounts or just one at a time to see who’s got the most followers or interacts with you most.

Both cycle through the top few results when they’re sitting prettily on your desktop. Clicking on the most influential opens up the bio information of, for eg, twitter top bods, giving you follower counts and any other information shared such as location.

With most active, which is more personal, clicking on the picture opens the most recent posts and pictures of yours that the pictured person has liked or commented on.

As with many of our coolest features, this is for premium users only – but this could quickly and easily be you, as digi.me is only a download away and half price for all of December – get it now!

 

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50% off digi.me: Collected photo fun is the #6 (of 12) reasons to love our app!

digi.me’s vision has always been that gathering all of your personal data in one place makes sense for so many reasons including privacy and control – but having all your pictures from across your social media together is a huge deal as well.

So, on the sixth day of Christmas, my true love brought to me – all my photos in one place!

Yes, as well as the many and varied benefits that having digi.me brings to your life (you have read all the blogs above, yes? Good, good!) – one that is sometimes overlooked because there are JUST SO MANY COOL THINGS TO TELL YOU ABOUT is the gift of having a complete gallery of your life that you can navigate and organise as you want.

If you’re anything like most people (and sadly, as individual as we all think we are, we do end up displaying herd qualities), then you use different networks for different reasons. Maybe the audience is niche, maybe you like to show off different sides of your personality, maybe you’re just trying to win at them all and adapting accordingly – who knows?

But we digress. So Facebook ends up being your cute and family pictures, for example, Twitter is for silly things you see, pictures of cats and random political opinions (pictures optional), while Instagram is for showing off those beautiful meals you cook once in a blue moon and those moody weather shots you took on a rain-soaked walk.

All of them are elements of you, but none are the whole – until you put them together. So now you can see all the shots you took on any given day – of anything, from anywhere – on your computer in your private digi.me library, together for the first time.

You can search by albums under the pictures tab, or by a single date or chosen date range – and you can do this all in one place.

Enjoy reliving special days, special people and moments in time you had forgotten – all with their original likes and comments to put them in context.

If you want to gather them all together for any reason, you can even export them together as a PDF or to Evernote – and they’ll still retain those all-important interactions.

Really, if you love your life enough to chronicle and share it, then you need to be backing up these pictures and giving them a new lease of life with digi.me.

With a host of cool features including flashback and Collections, we know you’ll love our app – and digi.me is 50% off for the whole of December, so what are you waiting for?

Go on, download now and see just what we mean.

 

 

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50% off digi.me: Collections are the #5 (of 12) reasons to love us!

The personal data, gathered, of each of us is powerful but huge. Greater than the sum of its parts, it’s mighty and magnificent – but we know that sometimes you just want to gather some related parts together to be viewed as one small whole. And, as ever, your wish is our command.

And so, on the fifth day of Christmas, my true love brought for me – the ability to create Collections.

Collections are essentially what they say on the tin – a way to group together content you love from across your social media platforms and save it, download it – essentially use and enjoy it how you want.

Creating and adding to them is (as with everything in our well-thought-out app) is simple and straightforward. Either navigate to collections on the left hand sidebar and click the ‘new collection’ button on the bottom right, or meander your way (with meaning or otherwise) through your journal, flashback and accounts.

Anywhere you see a heart in the top right panel means that you can click to select some or all of the content on the page and either add it to one or more existing collections (one at a time), or create a brand new collection ON THE SPOT. Yep, we’re totally down with spontaneity.

Then, when you’re finished full stop, or just done for now, navigate back to the Collections page to view each of your collected works in its full glory.  But we’re not finished – oh no. digi.me is the gift that keeps on giving, remember?

So now you can view your collection of content in one place – maybe it’s an album of your kids, or a significant birthday celebration, or favourite pictures of your family. Whatever it is, and wherever you posted it, it’s now together in one place within your library (which you can continue to add to at any point in the future. But we digress.)

But can you do even more with it? Yes you can! As well as deleting anything you’ve changed your mind about and changing the order of content, the big excitement is that you can export it, either as a beautiful PDF that is ready in seconds, or to Evernote. That’s right, you can download the content that means the most to you, together with the original likes and comments, in a shareable form that means it can be emailed on to anyone else who is also interested. We really do spoil you – and you’re worth it.

So what are you waiting for? Collection those related pictures and statuses from across the web and pull them together with digi.me Collections – download it now so you’re ready for Christmas 2015!

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50% off digi.me: #4 (of 12) reasons to love us – our fab personalised widgets!

Widgets. Great name, great tool – and one which adds layers of fun and surprises to digi.me’s peerless secure personal data gathering, search and flashback features by offering personalised insights that delight and inform. And because you can customise them yourself, the possibilities are pretty much endless!

We’ve already given you multiple reasons why digi.me is a must-have, never-to-be-missed, buy-now-or-be-sorry personal data and memory – based Christmas gift par excellence – and our all-new singing and dancing widgets are pretty much the icing on the (Christmas, naturally) cake – bite-sized, custom insights about YOUR data, YOUR friends and YOUR followers,  parcelled up into cute little packages that greet you when you open up the app’s home page.

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Aren’t they lovely? We automatically create a few for you to get you started (or the app does, we never, ever see your data so couldn’t do this for you even if we wanted too, but luckily our digi.me developers are some of the best in the business), and then it’s over to you to do, well, what you want!

Just hit the ‘create widget’ button and it’s a simple three-step process. Choose from 13 types of widget, including latest and oldest photos and posts, most influential followers, most popular day, remember this?, total comments and likes and things you favourited.

Then, choose which linked social media account you want this widget to draw its information from – choose one or select all – and a date range.

And then bingo! You new widget will magically appear next to others already there, and start cycling  through the pictures or posts it has pulled in, meaning your home page is constantly in motion with interesting things about you. Nice! And if (when!) you see something great you want to remember in more detail, simply click the picture and up it pops full size!

If you change your mind or want to shake things up – no problem! Simply hit the round minus button in the top right hand corner of the page, and a delete button will overlay all widgets, making switching things up very, very easy.

We really do spoil you – and with 50% off for the whole of December, what’s stopping you? Download now!