Backup saves the day after crime author loses laptop in blizzard

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Backup saves the day after crime author loses laptop in blizzard

Celebrated crime author Ann Cleeves turned to Twitter this week, desperate for help.

The reason? The author, whose novels had been the inspiration for TV series like “Vera”, had lost her HP laptop during a blizzard in Shetland.

A laptop which contained the half-completed draft of award-winning Cleeves’s next book.


Ann Cleeves tweet

Cleeves offered a reward, told BBC Radio Scotland that the laptop was probably buried “under a foot of snow” in Lerwick.

My first thought was – that’s unfortunate, I hope she had a backup. And I also hoped that Anne Cleeves had secured her laptop with a password and full-disk encryption to ensure that anything sensitive wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands.

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Too many people seem to find making backups of their laptops a chore.

I understand that it might be a pain to remember to plug in an external drive to copy your important documents and photographs onto, but there are services like Backblaze and Carbonite which can automatically backup your data to the internet.

And if you didn’t for some reason want to go to the expense of a backup-specific solution, you could always consider saving your valuable data into a folder that automatically gets synced with another device via the cloud – using a service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Ann Cleeves, fortunately, did have a backup strategy of sorts – although one that relies upon the user remembering to take the precaution of making a copy of their data. She had emailed the book to herself as an attachment, a few days before the laptop was lost.

Whether you’re worried about your computer croaking, malware deleting your data, or simply accidentally deleting something you really should have kept, please make sure you have some kind of backup strategy in place.

It could save you a lot of time, tears, and heartache.

Oh, and Anne’s laptop? Someone found it a few days later… albeit slightly the worse for wear.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Backup saves the day after crime author loses laptop in blizzard”

  1. L. Paquette

    Off Topic…

    And a Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you, Carole and other blog staff as well as the family.


    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to L. Paquette

      Cheers! And a Ho Ho Ho to all our listeners.

      Easy on the mine pies, folks.

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