Laptop and Notebook Theft Prevention

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Laptops or Notebook computers are an expensive personal and business asset that are highly sought after by both small time thieves and large complicated theft rings. Keeping your laptop and notebook computers safely in your possession should always be in the back of your mind. Not only are these extremely expensive, they can contain very private personal information or business secrets that can hurt you if the information was ever brought public, or worse yet, sold to a competitor!

Physical theft prevention should be your primary concern when you use laptops, and really most of the information is just common sense. Don't brag, or advertise that you have a laptop in your possession, try to carry your laptop in non-traditional laptop bags that make it obvious you have one. If you can fit it in your briefcase, or in a shoulder bag you are far better off from getting targeted.

Asset tag your electronics devices and peripherals with permanent markings or engravings, large markings that make your laptop unique make your device less attractive because it will become harder to sell.

Always be mindful of where your laptop is at. If you are using the washroom, or a payphone, don't leave it on a table, counter, this includes while you are at restaurants! If you are traveling in rental cars, try to get a car with a lockable trunk, that doesn't have access or a viewable trunk from the outside such as SUV's or hatchbacks. Don't leave items in plain sight that will entice people to steal from your car!

If you are staying in hotels, try to use locking cables to permanent metal settings to secure your laptop if you go out, or ask the hotel to lock it up in their safe if you won't be using it for an extended period of time.

In the event that your laptop has been stolen there is many different organizations that offer products and services that might help in a quick recovery or tracking of the device. Some products install a "call home" feature if the laptop is ever reconnected to an internet connection, or having serialized components that make tracking and recovery easier. Additionally there is some really interesting products that have movement and proximity alarms installed. For instance, you wear a device on your belt, and if your laptop is more than a certain distance from you an alarm will sound loudly. This is used in hopes of stopping criminals who snatch and run with your device!

It's always a very good idea to install some sort of encryption software on your laptop, such as a PGP that will help keep your data private in the event it is stolen. It's always a good idea to plan for the worst and hope for the best!

Remember, physical security mainly consists of using common sense to protect any attractive item that you may own. Be discreet, be mindful of your devices and you should be relatively safe!

Ken Dennis

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