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Beginners Guides: Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop

Beginners Guides: Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop - PCSTATS
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Abstract: And, if that doesn't work, at least you can protect your data better than you did that brand new notebook. Harsh words, but sound advice.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Sep 08 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

Beginners Guides: Preventing Data Theft From a Stolen Laptop


A little bit of common sense and some preventative forethought can save your notebook from becoming just another piece of stolen hardware. And, if that doesn't work, at least you can protect your data better than you did that brand new notebook. Harsh words, but sound advice. - Version 1.0.0

Portable computers are made for traveling and computing at the same time, and are thus incredibly valuable for their weight. We're talking 'carton of cigarettes' dollars-to-weight ratio here. Consequently, laptop's make a tempting target for thieves and have been known to go AWOL with distressing frequency when compared to less expensive things like your baggage full of Hawaiian shirts.

Having a laptop stolen is a double-dose of bad news, since not only are you confronted with the fact that your (at least) $1500 portable PC is now gone, perhaps forever, but you also have to deal with the possibility of data theft. It's sort of like losing a wallet, but a wallet cannot hold gigabytes of potentially valuable or personal data. Credit data, email records, license keys, personal documents, all at the fingertips of the kind of person who was willing to steal your laptop in the first place. For business travelers, this is especially bad news.

In this article, we will look at methods to reduce the risk. First, We will cover physical security methods that can help prevent laptop theft in the first place, then we will go step-by-step through some essential data securing techniques that can drastically reduce the chance of your data being stolen along with your laptop if the worst does happen.

Physical security: Lockdown your laptop

There are several physical methods you can use to secure your mobile device, ranging from chains and alarms to ID programs which clearly identify the computer as belonging to you. Let's look at a few options.

Chains and alarms

Several companies, such as Targus and Kensington, manufacture devices that physically secure your laptop by locking it to a surface, sort of like a bicycle lock. Of course, these products also share the same disadvantage that bike locks do, in that a prepared thief can circumvent them rather easily.

These locks, often called Kensington locks, will discourage casual theft especially in the office environment. Companies that have large amounts of employees using laptops would do well to invest in these. Motion sensing locking devices are also available, and these add an extra layer of security by setting off a loud alarm if the cable is tampered with.

These products connect to laptops through special security ports built into the machine itself. All recent laptops should come with some sort of port for these devices, though some companies (notably Kensington) require a special branded port for their devices. Check your laptop's configuration before purchasing one of these locking devices.

Biometric security

Biometrics is the methodology for recognizing or identifying persons based on physiological or behavioral characteristics. Essentially all security features are based on a combination of three key concepts; security can be based on something you have, something you know or something you are.

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop
 Pg 2.  Biometric security
 Pg 3.  Laptop tracing software
 Pg 4.  Protecting your data in the event of theft
 Pg 5.  Password Tips and Encrypt Vital Data
 Pg 6.  How to encrypt files in Windows XP
 Pg 7.  Creating a Recovery Agent
 Pg 8.  Exporting a data recovery certificate

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