We’ve all heard horror stories of people’s’ credit card information being stolen, or of their sensitive photos being shared with the public. The last thing we want is to have a scary cybersecurity tale of our own. So it’s hard to imagine just handing over our devices to strangers and giving them full access. However, if your computer or tablet breaks you may find yourself happily taking it in to be repaired by someone you don’t know. Most computer repair stores are reputable, honest, and secure, so how can you be sure you are taking your technology to one of the good guys?

 

Keep Your Data on an External Device

And Backup Frequently

If you are someone who is good with foresight, be prepared for computer failure by storing your data on an external hard drive. We have plenty of advice on backing up your data. Backup frequently and you won’t have to worry about your information if something breaks!

There is no need to bring this external storage in for repair unless it is the device that needs to be serviced. In fact, if you believe that your internal hard drive doesn’t have anything to do with the needed repair, it can be removed as well! The repair shop should be able to help you remove it if you put in the request!

 

Password Protect Your Passwords

(Protect All Other Personal Data!)

Now that you have all your data saved in a different location other than your hard drive, you are going to want to protect what is available on your desktop. Keep sensitive data password protected and keep those passwords private! If you have any personal images, confidential data, or any other information that is for your eyes only it should be organized, hidden, and locked with a password.

And, if you don’t already have one, a Password Manager will make it easier to store and secure all of your passwords!

 

Carefully Read the Computer Repair Shop’s Privacy Policy

No Privacy Policy? Steer Clear!

Once you find the right computer repair store or tech guru for you, locate their privacy policy! What do they do in the case of sensitive data accidentally being exposed? What steps are they taking to make sure privacy is maintained? Read the fine print to find out what exactly could happen to your information while your device is being fixed.

 

Go to the People You Know

And Trust Word of Mouth

If you are completely new to an area or have never had to get any repairs you may be in the dark about good, trustworthy repair shops. So use the people you know as resources! Ask friends and family for their opinions, read reviews online, and scroll through local online forums. It is important to research the company you are thinking of using before handing over your technology.

A quick internet search should supply you with some information and other people’s opinions about the repair shop you are considering. If your search doesn’t return many informative results then consider looking up different shops! If a repair shop is worth your time it will be getting good feedback from others.

 

Know About Tech-Support Scams

Tech-Support Will Not Contact You First!

One way to be sure you and your data aren’t taken advantage of is by educating yourself! When you know the signs of a scam then you won’t be falling for it. For example, a popular scam in tech-support happens over the phone. The scammer will call and claim to be working for Microsoft or Apple and then they will say they’ve detected an error or virus on your computer. (Of course, there’s no way for Microsoft or Apple employees to know about the status of your computer!) You will then be asked to provide the scammer with remote access to your computer, and maybe even money so that they can “work” on the problem.

If you do ever receive a call like this, now you know just to hang up! Keep yourself updated about similar scams that may happen over the phone, over the internet, or in real life. You’ll be surprised at how many you see in the world around you once you know what a cybersecurity scam looks like.

 

Sometimes when our devices break it’s out of our control, but what we can control is who we trust to repair them. When you don’t have someone you trust to fix your computer and have to refer to a computer repair shop, it is good to know that your information will be kept private. Now you are armed with tips that will help you secure your data and choose the right agency for your technology and data!

Meg Krafft

Digital Marketing Assistant at The Security Awareness Company
After starting out creating digital and print marketing for a real estate company, Meg now assists in keeping up the marketing needs for SAC. When not working she's probably watching a good movie or indulging in local art and music.