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Laptop Security Device - 10 Ways to Protect your Laptop and Data

May 7, 2008
The main attraction of laptops is their portability and mobility. It is great to be able to take your computer with you and use it anywhere. But with these benefits comes a risk of theft. Obviously theft is more likely to happen when an object can be picked up and carried away. Laptop security devices are important to prevent your laptop from being stolen as well as to prevent the data from your laptop being retrieved and used in the event that your laptop is a victim of theft.

10 TIPS TO PREVENT LAPTOP THEFT

1. The biggest mistake people make with their laptops and other valuables for that matter is leaving them in plain sight in their cars. There has been a rash of car burglaries lately stemming from electronics being left on car seats or floors. Don't think for a minute that thieves are deterred by the fact that your car is in a crowded mall parking or even at the gas station, thieves are bold and if they see it they can take it. Always lock your laptop and all valuables in the trunk.

2. Don't use computer bags, while these maybe fashionable and comfortable they make it obvious that you are carrying a laptop. Try using a padded briefcase or suitcase instead.

3. Make sure your laptop is always with you. Do not check laptops in with your luggage while traveling. Never leave your laptop in your car in plain sight. Lock it in the trunk.

4. Never leave access numbers or passwords in your carrying case. Keeping your password with your laptop is like keeping the keys in the car. Without your password or important access numbers it will be more difficult for a thief to access your personal and corporate information.

5. Keep your eye on your laptop. When you go through airport security don't lose sight of your bag. Hold your bag until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Many bags look alike and yours can easily be lost in the shuffle.

6. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor. Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it. If you have to set it down, try to place it between your feet or against your leg so that you are always aware it's there.

7. Use a screen guard when in public. This prevents people from looking over your shoulder and seeing sensitive information. This is especially helpful when you're traveling or need to work in a crowded area.

8. Do not leave your laptop unsecured in your hotel room. Things sometimes tend to get lost in hotel rooms and are never secure. If you must leave your laptop in the room then use a security cable to attach it to a stable object, such as the desk or bedpost. Another good thing to do is leave the "do not disturb" sign on the door.

9. Label everything possible with the owner's name and make sure these labels are conspicuous. The value of laptop or peripheral diminishes greatly when the thief is required to remove identifying labels. Also identifying labels increase the potential of catching a thief in the act.

10. Buy a laptop security device. The next section details some options for laptop security devices.

LAPTOP SECURITY DEVICE:

1. Security Cable for Laptop Computer: One of the most inexpensive and effective laptop security devices is a cable. Very much like a bicycle lock, this cable attaches to your laptop and allows you to lock it to a stationary object. The cable makes it much more difficult for someone to steal your laptop.

2. Laptop Tracing Programs. Very much like LoJack for cars these programs will report the location of a stolen laptop. They work when the laptop connects to the Internet, and can report the laptop's exact physical location. Some tracing programs include CyberAngel and ComputracePlus.

3. Motion Sensors and Alarms: Unexpected loud noises make people wake up and take notice, something that aspiring thieves find very discouraging. Laptop security companies realize this and have created alarms for portable computers.

Signaling mechanisms of these alarm systems are usually the same, but, the triggering mechanisms are both varied and specialized. TrackIt Corporation has a product available that creates a "maximum separation zone" around the user and the laptop. The idea is that if the user moves out of range of the device, or the laptop is moved out of range of the user, the alarm will sound. Thus, if someone tries to steal or remove the laptop, the alarm will sound, drawing attention to the theft. Another possibility is to buy an alarm that relies on nothing more than movement of the object that it is attached to. Fellowes provides just such a device that users can attach to the laptop. If the object that the sensor is attached to is moved, an alarm will sound. Entering the 3-digit security code will reset or disable the alarm once the device has been recovered.

LAPTOP SECURITY DEVICES PROTECTING DATA ON LAPTOPS:
Security measures are available in order to prevent access to data on your laptop especially in the event that the laptop is stolen or missing.

1. Set a BIOS password:
Most laptops offer protection by allowing the owner to set a boot password. Typically most will prompt the user three times to enter a password, then refuse to boot if there are three failures.

2. Set a Login Password:
To successfully login to the computer, the user must provide a login name and password. If the information entered is incorrect, the operating system will refuse to allow entry.

3. Encryption:
One of the best laptop security devices are file encryption programs, which, encrypt files on your laptop. A private unlock key is provided to the user, and as long as your private key is kept safe, no one but you and your intended recipients will be able to view your data.

4. Biometric Fingerprint Readers:
Another great laptop security device is the Biometric Reader. The idea behind biometrics is to use the uniqueness of certain features of a user, such as fingerprints, and even typing characteristics, to accurately identify and authorize persons. This type of laptop security device would provide a hardware level of authentication that would require authentication before the machine would even boot up.
About the Author
JR Lang is a computer applications specialist. To browse the lowest priced laptop security devices please visit: Laptop Security Device
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