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A computer is a key component of any freelance journalist's kit.

They are used to research and produce stories, contact sources, communicate with editors, talk to family members and store information and materials, so it's vital that you take care of your computer and minimise the risk of theft, damage and infection from viruses.

Best practice: computers

  • Ensure you have a pin lock on your computer. Make it a strong and long password. See our section on passwords for how to do this.
  • Avoid leaving your computer unattended or with people you do not know. Do not lend your computer to others. Only get your computer repaired with reputable businesses.
  • Keep the software and operating system on your computer updated. This will help protect it from vulnerabilities.
  • Consider using an antivirus. Try this free antivirus software from Avast.
  • Back-up your data on your device regularly. You may want to back up to a hard drive as well as to an online cloud service. Online services may be vulnerable to attack. See our guide on securing your materials.
  • Know what content is stored on your computer and understand how that can put you at risk if your device is taken or seized. This includes documents, recordings and photos.
  • Consider encrypting your computer to protect your data. See our guide on encryption for information on how to do this.
  • If you remove material from your computer make sure it is permanently deleted. See our guide on securing your materials for how to do this.

Setting up your computer to remote wipe

If your computer is lost, confiscated or stolen you may be able to remote wipe the files but you will need to have set up your computer beforehand to do this. Remote wiping relies on your device being connected to the Internet.

Use the following guides to set up remote wipe:

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