tech tips for writers

Secure your WIP from hackers–easy and free

tech tips for writersTech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future tip.

As a writer, it’s critical to protect your work. If anyone stole them, it would ruin our day, our year, longer.  Here’s an important step to take to protect your mss that’s easy and free:

Air gap them

In layman’s terms, it means:

store a copy of your WIP or complete MS to a drive not connected to your main device.

Here’s how I do it:

I backup my work to a flash drive that I then unplug from my computer.

If a bad guy gets access to your computer, he can reach any locations connected to your main device, all the ones that show up under ‘Computer’. For me, that’s the C Drive, a few external hard drives, an image backup drive, a few cloud drives, and my flash drives. That’s convenient for me because they’re always on, easy to reach when you need access.

But it’s not particularly safe.

Have one drive that you disconnect and reconnect only when backing up or saving to it. That way, no hackers can get to it. Hackers can only access the drives connected to your main device.

If you’re looking for more detail about air gapping:

I wish I could send you to articles specifically for writers about air gapping, but it appears I am the first writer to ever address this topic. How is that possible?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022.

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113 thoughts on “Secure your WIP from hackers–easy and free

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – 10th April 2022 – #OnlineProtection Jacqui Murray, #Review Traci Kenworth, #Publishing Nicholas Rossis, #Flash John Howell, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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  4. Thank you for sharing a good idea!.. I write my blog and do other projects on a computer that is not connected to the internet and I use the flash drive to upload to a computer that is on the internet… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I should probably do this, Jacqui. It’s easy and great advice. I keep most of my work in DropBox, so I don’t worry too much about losing my work. But I suppose if they hack my laptop, the could also wreck anything I have stored in the cloud. Thanks for the nudge!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Tech Dread” – that describes me to a T, Jacqui. Last month our e-mail crashed. MS office took away Office 2010 and we didn’t know. Shame on us, but shame on them for taking away, crashing, our work and personal e-mails. I won’t get into the details of why/how it took so long (3 weeks and an IT specialist) to get it back up, but I’m hiring him now to air gap us. I know, we should be able to do it, but seriously, the idea of all of this gives me hives. I’m so bummed, but I’m not ready to give up blogging…. yet….despite how much this tech snafu gave me a bad taste. THANK you for your great info.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jacqui – extraordinary – you’re the first … yet have the common sense to let us know and evaluate the idea … and we never know when we’re going to appreciate having taken your advice … eg in a fire too, theft, or as now in Ukraine – fleeing … thank you – a wise thought to put it mildly – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When you do copy to a different device you should also keep it someplace else other than right next to your computer. Hackers can into to you system or on-line accounts, but also you data can be lost if there’s a fire in your office or someone breaks in and physically steals your computer. I’ve had friends who’ve had their computers stolen and that loss is hard to recover from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, cloud storage is good, and as secure as the provider–Dropbox is good. My problem with them is when the internet is down, I can’t reach my stuff. And the internet is down more than I’d expect.

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  9. I thought cloud backup was good enough. I never considered that someone would hack me to delete my work. I suppose I don’t consider myself that much of a risk. People would have to know me to want to target me. But I suppose hackers torment anyone they can just for fun. This is a great idea. Thanks, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

      • As many times as I’ve lost stuff due to catastrophic laptop failure, you’d think I’d have considered that. I rely on Carbonite and Google Drive. But I’m going to start air-gapping, too. It’s an excellent suggestion.

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  10. I never heard the term air gap before, Jacqui, but I do use it. I back my files up to a jump drive I disconnect from my computer. I also save them to the hard drive and to Dropbox. I had a jump drive become corrupted once, so I was grateful for the Dropbox backup as well as the original file on the hard drive! The jump was only a few weeks old when it went bad. Needless to say, I was highly ticked!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I save all my files to an external hard drive which stays locked away in a cupboard, although I don’t back up as frequently as I should. I email my WIP to myself chapter by chapter, but I guess although it saves the work, should something happen to my laptop, it’s still hackable.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. While I have a backup hard drive that I use about once a month, I have wondered if I should have two (and keep them in two separate places) in case of fire, etc. Good ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An offsite backup is always a good idea. I don’t have that, either. The cloud is good for that, and secure if you trust the cloud service. But that doesn’t protect you from hacking if a thief gets into your computer. Well, it might, depending upon how you set it up…

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  13. Here’s a few thoughts in addition to your expert advice, Jacqui. For Apple computer users, saving a copy of your WIP to your iCloud drive gives an additional file removed from your desktop, iPad, or iPhone. Running short on space? Also, Apple makes it easy to add inexpensive terabytes of iCloud storage.

    My desktop has an automatic backup every hour to an external hard drive, but I manually save the WIP to iCloud. At the end of each writing session, I save an extra file with “BU” appended to the name. That “BU” copy serves as my recovery file in case I fat-finger something while writing or my editing app does something funky. I may lose a bit of work, but not the entire WIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Secure your WIP from hackers–easy and free — – uwerolandgross

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