How do you safeguard a device that was made to be conveniently transported from place to place? That’s what we want to find out. A laptop’s most endearing quality-portability-it turns out is also one of it’s biggest flaws. Thieves will target your laptop whatever security precautions you put in place. God forbid they succeed, below are some clues on how to go about securing your laptop.
- Invest in a Laptop Backpack or some other random bag to carry your laptop. Ditch the laptop bag. Gallivanting around town with a laptop in a bag clearly labelled DELL won’t help matters much. Better to keep that opportunistic thief guessing and hopefully dissuade him from targeting you.
- Use a Login Password on startup. This serves to keep unauthorised people from tampering with your laptop in your absence. Formulate a strong password using letters, numbers and symbols. ‘Password’ doesn’t constitute a viable option for a password. Neither does 1234567 or your birthday for that matter. Password cracking software is often tweaked for such number and letter combinations.
- Never save Passwords on your laptop. Saving passwords to your online accounts gives whoever accesses your laptop unlimited access to your social media accounts, email accounts and online banking services. You might as well hand them a noose to tie around your neck. And PCs get hacked on the daily using malware, viruses and all manner of unpleasantness. A little inconvenience of having to sign in every time is nothing compared to losing everything all at one go.
- Encrypt your Computer Files and Windows OS with built-in Bitlocker Drive Encryption. A security feature introduced in Windows Vista, ‘Bitlocker can validate the integrity of boot and system files before decrypting a protected volume’ either through a PIN or a key stored on a USB flash disk. Normally when unscrupulous individuals encounter a password on a PC, what they do is they remove the hard disk and plug it into another PC via the USB port. With Bitlocker activated, doing that won’t work. Call it keeping your files in a vault.
- Backup files on the cloud and on external hard drives to offset the panic of losing important work-related files and also private candid pictures and video of beloved family members. Microsoft’s OneDrive offers free basic built-in integrated cloud services. Google Drive and Dropbox as well provide hassle-free online storage services. With cloud storage and external backup storage, one can simply replace the lost laptop and it’s business as usual. Where external hard drives excel is that one need not buy a data bundle or to comb the internet for not-so-free online storage services. They also offer more storage for a fixed price so one can backup more files.
- Engrave your laptop with your name or workplace and contact information. A thief looking to sell a stolen laptop will be reluctant to do so with your name prominently shown. And perhaps if your laptop is genuinely misplaced, the engraving will help whoever finds it to contact you. Sign Care Uganda are notable engravers in Uganda.
- Install Anti-theft or Laptop Tracking software and hardware on your laptop. Prey is a tracking software that can pinpoint the location of your laptop in case the thief is dumb enough to connect it to the internet. Premium services include more functionality such as remotely wiping your hard drive. Tambula and Summit Consulting Ltd. are two companies in Uganda that can place trackers in your laptop to locate your laptop without having to depend on an internet connection.
- Invest in Laptop theft insurance: There are a number of insurance schemes out there. If you invested your cool Ugx 6,000,000 on the latest Macbook Pro, isn’t wise to insure that machine for say Ugx 8,000/month with the appropriate insurance provider? AIG Uganda has such a program and it would be wise for those with high-end gear to consider laptop insurance.
The data on our personal laptops is often of a sensitive nature. In the wrong hands it can be used to blackmail or obliterate one’s life at the hands of a mean spirit. What better way to ensure this never happens than to look into these tips. As they say,’Better Safe than Sorry’.