As summer rapidly approaches, so comes a time of the year when the mice will play: getaways to the pool and beach, places to let your hair down – but not your guard!
Recently, we posted an infographic on securing information on your PC. Here is a purely hypothetical situation you could face this summer:
The focal character in our tale is Alex, a 20-something recent college graduate. She has a great job at a major law firm. She wants a quick vacation this summer; she works hard, plays hard. To that end, she and her friends decide to spend the weekend in Las Vegas.
The trip is fantastic: Hot dry desert air, frozen margaritas by the yard, beach clubs and more. They take photo after photo (some better than others). Alex comes home, exhausted from the weekend, and not entirely sure she wants everyone to see the photos from the trip. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Let’s see what happens after she uploads her photos through two scenarios:

Scenario 1
Alex doesn’t have software to protect her files. The photos sit in a folder on her desktop.

Scenario 2
Alex has ZoneAlarm File & Folder Lock on her computer. The photo folder is locked with a unique password generated by the program.
When Alex’s friends ask for copies of the photos, she transfers the folder onto USB flash drives, which she then sends to her friends:
Scenario 1
Alex’s friends upload the photos and then throw the USB into a random drawer or the trash, consequently leaving all the photos unprotected and visible to anyone who gets hold of it.

Scenario 2
Alex’s friends can’t open the photos until Alex provides them with the password to the folder. ZoneAlarm File & Folder Lock keeps the files locked, so if the USB is tossed into a random drawer or the trash, no one else will be able to access the photos unless they have the password.
Later in the week, Alex’s mom comes over for dinner and wants to use the computer. A curious parent, she sees the “Summer in Vegas” folder on the desktop and tries to open it.
Scenario 1
Vegas does not stay in Vegas. Mom is able to rummage through the photos Alex took in Vegas, some of which are more confidential than others.

Scenario 2
Alex’s mom doesn’t have the password and is unable to open the folder and lets it go. She understands Alex’s right to privacy.
A few years pass, and it’s time for Alex to get a new computer. What to do with her old Vegas memories?
Scenario 1
Alex deletes all of the files on her computer, empties the desktop recycle bin, then brings her computer in for donation.
Unbeknownst to her, all of the files Alex thought she “deleted” from her computer are still on her hard drive.

Scenario 2
Alex uses ZoneAlarm File & Folder Lock’s Secure Delete and her files along with the “Summer in Vegas” folder are permanently deleted from her computer. Secure Delete is based on military-grade deletion technology, meaning there are no digital traces of any information on her hard drive.

And so ends the tale of Alex, whose trip to Vegas stayed in Vegas… but only in Scenario 2.
ZoneAlarm File & Folder Lock isn’t limited to just protecting photos – think of all of the files on your computer and external devices that are at high risk of being stolen. Have you ever emailed your mortgage application documents to your broker? Did you “misplace” the USB you used to bring tax documents to your accountant? What about the computer you donated, did you really delete all of your files (and emptied the “Recycle Bin”) like Alex? You are at risk of your personal information being stolen by anyone savvy enough to hack into email and a hard drive, or by anyone who knows how to plug in a USB.
This summer, worry about SPF and not your files. Install ZoneAlarm File & Folder Lock on your computer, and it will take care of the latter.
Keep What Happens in Vegas in Vegas - ZoneAlarm Blog