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Preventing Computer Theft

Friday, November 2nd, 2007 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Q:
I always worry about my laptop being stolen when I’m traveling for my job. Do you have any tips on what I can do to prevent theft or just what I should do to keep my computer safe? Any suggestions would be great!

A:
First of all, I just want to tell you how great I think it is that you’re even asking this question! In my opinion, people don’t think about computer safety seriously enough. They just go about their daily lives, never worrying about something happening to their computer (or any other devices, for that matter). It’s good to know that someone is being cautious about their computer and wondering what they can do to keep it safe!

So, for that, I assure you that you’ve come to the right place! Below are a few tips you can follow to prevent your computer from being stolen, along with a few recommendations that will help you cope a little easier if that does ever actually happen. Alright, here we go!

Here’s what you can do to protect your computer from being stolen:

1.) When you first get your computer, you should always write down its serial number and model number. You can find those on the bottom of your computer tower or on the bottom of your laptop. You should also write down a customer support phone number for the manufacturer of your computer. That way, if anything happens to your PC, you can call them right away for assistance. They will always ask you for the serial and model numbers, so it’s very important to have that information on hand.

2.) You should always keep the receipt for your computer and any other equipment that may have come along with it. Your receipt is vital in these kinds of situations.

3.) If you have a laptop, you may want to think about getting a lock for it. Attaching it to a lock will help keep it safe while you’re traveling through airports or even while you’re at work or in a local coffee shop. There are many different laptop locks you can purchase. A few companies you may want to check out are Kensington, Targus and Compucage.

4.) If you travel a lot with your laptop (like the person who asked today’s question), chances are, you spend a lot of time at the airport. We’ve gone over this before, but again, always keep a close eye on your laptop while you’re going through the metal detector. That’s a prime opportunity for thieves to take your personal belongings. You should also keep your laptop with you at all times while you’re waiting on flights and when you’re on the plane. Never let it out of your sight!

5.) If you’re using a personal computer, you may even want to go as far as having your name engraved on it, along with your contact information. That way, if anything does ever happen to it, it’ll be easier to identify.

Now, here’s what you can do to eliminate some of the stress if your computer is ever stolen:

1.) You should always keep an updated backup of all your important data on an external drive. If you have all of that information on something that is separate from your computer, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress if anything ever does happen to your PC.

2.) Another good thing to do is create a password for your computer. That way, if it is stolen, no one will be able to access it unless they figure out your password. When you’re doing this, make sure you create one that is not easy to identify. Including a jumble of both letters and numbers that still make sense to you is the best way to go.

3.) You should also encrypt or even password protect any personal information you put onto your computer. Doing that will help keep your data even more secure.

Lastly, there are a few companies out there today that can help you protect your computer or in the event that it is stolen, they can help you locate it. Some you may want to look into are Absolute Software, Safeware, XTool and zTrace. No matter what extremes you decide to take, your computer is one of the most important devices you use in your daily life and I urge you to do what you need to do to keep it safe and protected. Hopefully you have gotten some good ideas from today’s tip and now, you can go and put them to work. Go for it and keep safe!

~ Erin

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