Well, I have a headache.
I bought this nice new shiny laptop, Blue Ray disk, full HD display, awesome graphics card, newest processor, huge hard drive, tons of memory, all the good stuff.
I like it. It’s shiny, metallic, with nice logo on the back of the screen and great sound. I want to keep it. I don’t want it to get lost or stolen.
How should I protect it?
Well, here are two classes of protection:
1. Software based.
One of the most known examples is the LoJack for laptops – a software that sits on your laptop and pings the servers once in a while to check if its still legit. You can buy from the company, or you can go on Amazon and get it slightly cheaper. Lojack For Laptops Premium – 3 Year subscription costs $91 on Amazon vs. $99 from the company directly. The pros: allows remote control over the laptop, locking it, wiping data, etc. The cons: assumes the thief will connect the laptop to the Internet without taking precautions against the software. Basically, it will help recovering a lost laptop found buy a good Samaritan, but a self-respecting criminal will be able to handle it, especially if the laptop is sold for parts, or quickly sold to a third party (or moved out of the country). They do have a lot of commercials and publicity, but the customers’ reviews are not encouraging (for newer versions however, the ratings are slightly better). The main complain is the customer support (or rather lack of thereof). Note, that although there’s a version for Macs, it’s definitely not as reliable as the (newer) Windows version used on the supported models.
2. Physical Means Protection
One example of the physical means protection is StopTheft tag – This is slightly different model. Instead of a software on the laptop, StopTheft provides you with a kit that allows you gluing a tag on your laptop with a bar-code ID, that is extremely hard to remove. If removed anyway, the tag will reveal a tattoo on the laptop body which says “Stolen Property, call 1-800…”. There’s no software protection involved, just the tag, sold for $25 a piece (cheaper for bulk purchases for companies). Basically it provides two thinks: Deterrence and loss recovery. If the laptop is lost – it is easy for the finder to connect with you using the ID and the StopTheft online web page. Then you work with the finder on how to get it back (probably just refund the shipping costs and some reward). The deterrence work through the tags themselves. They’re clearly marked, very bright, hard to remove, and damage the appearance of the laptop if the removal is attempted. Meaning: the laptop is hard to sell, unless sold by pieces, and even them the screen (one of the most expensive parts) is unsellable (assuming that’s where you put the sticker). That will deter thieves from even attempting the theft because the hassle will not pay off.
But of course before buying additional means – make sure you use these:
1. Cable protection – most new laptops now have cable protection slots which are made of an enforced metal that is connected to the laptop body. It has to be broken physically in order to steal the laptop, and that of course will rend it unsellable. An example of such a cable is Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock, Kensington considered as a brand name in the field. Similar lock cable can be used in conjuction with the StopTheft tags, using their StopLock product.
2. Car Safe – Here you can find an example of the product. Basically it can be used anywhere, not just car, to store sensitive or important information. You can’t use the laptop while it’s secured, as opposed to cables, but the thieves won’t be able to steal parts (like removing the hard drive, or the CD), again – as opposed to cables.
3. Don’t leave it in plain sight – just think before you leave your laptop unattended in a hotel or car. If you must leave it – make sure it’s hidden (in a cabinet, closet, or car trunk), and if possible – locked (in a safe box, locked cabinet or with a cable lock).
4. Use passwords – it won’t prevent stealing the laptop, but might make it harder for “accidental” users (like a hotel maid, or someone who just took it for a minute in the library while you weren’t looking) to get to your private files (of course, professional thieves who know anything about computers won’t have any problem working around your password).
Here’s an article with some more tips, courtesy of LocateMyLaptop.com.
So what shall I do? I’m considering the StopTheft plates ($25 investment) as a mean of deterrence and the LockItTight (free for me as a private user) as the software protection layer, in additional to the cable that I have already and my precautions.
Your Little Advisor.