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Full Disk Encryption
Set up and use full disk encryption to protect your private data, especially when travelling. Full disk encryption uses mathematical techniques to scramble data so it is unintelligible without the right key. This works independently of the policies configured in the operating system software. A different operating system or computer cannot just decide to allow access, because no computer or software can make any sense of the data without access to the right key.
Here's a useful primer on disk encryption and why it might be the most important investment you can make in your data. Windows users have access to Microsoft BitLocker while TrueCrypt provides the most cross-platform compatibility.
Use Google Chrome with Force SSL
With its strong sandbox, safe browsing tools, speedy patching and automatic/silent updating Google Chrome is considered the most secure web browser available. Switch to Chrome and install the KB SSL Enforcer extension which will force encrypted browsing wherever possible. The extension automatically detects if a site supports SSL (TLS) and redirects the browser session to that encrypted session.
The importance of back-ups
Get into the habit of automatically saving the contents of your machine to an external hard drive or to a secure online service. Companies like Mozy, Carbonite or iDrive can be used to back up everyone -- from files to music to photos -- or you can simply invest in an external hard drive and routinely back up all the stuff you can't afford to lose. For Windows users, here's a cheat sheet from Microsoft.