Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How To Protect Your Laptop Against Theft & Loss

Laptop theft is rampant. Some reports even state you have
a 1 in 10 chance your shiny new laptop will be stolen.
And the real shocker: according to the FBI 97% are never
recovered.
And they should know, the U.S. Department of Justice
stated in a recent report that the FBI lost 160 laptops
in a 44 month period ending in September of 2005. If
FBI agents have trouble keeping track of their laptops,
imagine what the ordinary person is facing.
The statistics are pretty grim. A laptop is stolen every
53 seconds. Ouch!
With stats like those you have to do everything in your
power to avoid becoming a victim of laptop theft. If you
keep valuable personal or business information on your laptop
the consequences can be even more gruesome and devastating.
For laptop hardware can be easily replaced, but your valuable
information may be lost forever.
So here are...

Some Practical Ways to Protect Your Laptop
Against Theft, Loss or Misplacement.


1. Keep Your Eyes On Your Laptop.
Be aware of your laptop at all times especially when traveling.
You wouldn't leave a Thousand Dollar Bill lying around unattended
would you? So watch your laptop closely.

2. Don't Use An Obvious Laptop Bag.
Carry your laptop in regular luggage that doesn't look like it
has a laptop. Don't advertise your laptop to any would-be thieves.

3. Use Visual Locks And Restraints
Use visual locks and restraints to secure your laptop and to use
as a deterrent. It won't fool hardened thieves but most will
opt for a less secure laptop. For example, you can use a product
like STOP, this system works by attaching a specially-made
security plate to your laptop. This plate is barcoded and
registered. It also carries a warning label letting would-be
cyber thieves know that the ownership of your laptop is permanently
monitored.
In addition, most laptop now have a Kensington Security Slot for
a Kensington lock so this can be a part of your anti-theft system
for your laptop.

4. Use Passwords And Encryption
Use passwords and encryption to protect any sensitive
information on your laptop. Again, unless you use very
sophisticated encryption it won't fool the experienced hacker
or hard-core digital thief but it will slow down and hinder
the common criminal.
Set a BIOS Password for your laptop. You have to take advantage
of any security option that's on your laptop's OS or operating
system. For those using Mac OS X you can encrypt your entire
hard drive and set-up a master password in order to view it.
Windows XP & Vista lets you encrypt files and folders. Just
right click your data, select properties, open general tab and
then advanced to check "Encrypt contents to secure data box".

5. Use Encryption Programs Like Steganos Safe 2007
You can also try something like Steganos Safe 2007 ($49.95).
Vital files can be encrypted and it can even turn your USB
thumb drive or iPod into a key for unlocking your hard drive.

6. Use Anti-Theft Software Like LoJack
Use anti-theft software that can track and locate your laptop
or computer thru the IP address once the stolen laptop is used
to access the Internet. Use systems like LoJack For Laptops.
Costs around 50 bucks a year but it may be worth that price for
your peace of mind alone.
According to info on their site they recover 3 out of 4 stolen
laptops equipped with the LoJack system. It basically places
hidden and silent software that reports back the IP address and
location of the laptop once it is stolen and the thief connects
to the Internet.

7. Use Invisible Ultraviolet Markings
Use invisible ultraviolet markings so that any recovered
stolen laptops will be clearly marked as yours to the police. Keeping
track of your laptop's serial number is also a good idea and have
this number stored in a different place other than on your laptop.

8. Try Remote Data Deletion
If you place important information on your laptop have a
remotely controlled self-destruct solution in place. Then
your highly sensitive information can be deleted remotely
after your laptop is stolen.

9. Be Prepared
Create company policies for management of your company's laptops.
Have set procedures in place for tracking and reporting of any laptops
stolen or misplaced. Buying laptop insurance is another option you
should consider especially if you are a student or do a lot of
business traveling with your laptop in tow. Be prepared for
the inevitable.

10. Backup Backup Backup
Regularly backup any vital information you have on your laptop.
Most information will be useless to potential thieves but may
be extremely important to you personally or for the running of
your business.
No matter if it is through theft or simple misplacement, losing a
laptop is a painful experience, one you should avoid at all costs.
However, if it does happen to you, be assured you can minimize the pain
by having a complete backup of your laptop's contents. In most
cases, this information will be much more valuable than the laptop
itself.
Hardware can be easily replaced, your personal data and months/years
of work may take forever to recover or redo. Sometimes it is lost
forever, so BACKUP your information regularly. Keep your
laptop and its contents safe and out of harm's way. Protect yourself
and your laptop. Simply protect yourself and your laptop by using
the tips you have just read.

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