FAIL-SAFE Technology OR Doomed for Failure?
Fail-Safe is a term that we hear a lot of these days. It is a contradiction of terms and offers us our first clue when we try to decipher its true meaning.
Airlines boast about their fail-safe systems with redundant backup systems giving us a sense of security when we fly the friendly skies. But are they really fail-safe?
Just recently I watched a TV show about an airline crash where the so-called fail-safe system had failed. Why? Because the plane had been neglected and not properly serviced by the airline.
So the term fail-safe is really a misnomer, or perhaps could more aptly be described as a public relations gimmick to give us a false sense of security so we will fly more often.
When it comes to computers the same is also true. My recent computer troubles have reminded me of this fact because I had all my bases covered in the event of a disaster… or so I thought.
Obviously I was sadly mistaken, and when it comes to computers I was reminded once again that nothing is really safe and no plan of action is completely fool-proof. We can try our best to minimize a catastrophe, but we can never be absolutely, 100% positively immune.
Case in Point:
I had installed a second hard drive (as I always do) to backup my data, so in the event that my primary windows partition (or hard drive) had become corrupted I could reinstall and not lose my important information.
Even an experienced user such as myself can still screw up, and apparently I did big time. My data had been encrypted with Windows XP EFS and I don’t even remember doing it! Perhaps I had forgotten, or maybe the Trojan asshole who had infected my computer did it.
Nevertheless, when I tried to use the data on a different system it refused to allow me access to my own information! So keep that in mind if you decide to use it.
Which brings me to another matter. How on earth I got the Trojan in the first place is beyond me. I have a network router which has a built-in hardware firewall. I also use F-Secure Internet Security Suite which is a state-of-the-art software including anti-virus, anti-spyware/adware/malware/rootkits, etc.
So what did I do wrong? It’s possible that I visited a site that somehow slipped it in via Java or ActiveX permissions. Or maybe my wife or child opened up an email attachment that they shouldn’t have. Who knows?
But the point is you can never be too careful (or arrogant) when it comes to computer security.
So what’s the bottom line? Probably the only really safe method to protect your data is to back it up regularly onto DVD. (Providing of course the disk hasn’t been scratched, or corrupted, or… you get the picture.)
1. What horror stories of your own can you share with us (because misery loves company and how did you resolve the problem?
2. What fail-safe methods for backup are you using, and have you considered all of the angles?
3. Do you know how to break EFS encryption or is it truly FAIL-SAFE?