By Andrew Eisner

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Laptops are disappearing at an alarming rate; some statistics say a laptop is lost or stolen every 58 seconds. Many of those missing laptops contain lists of credit card numbers and other sensitive identity information. Even if your laptop doesn't contain thousands of numbers, it's no fun to lose your laptop due to your own carelessness or theft.

Here are some suggestions on how you can prevent your laptop from being stolen and protect the data in case your laptop end up in the wrong hands.

Don’t Make It Easy for a Thief
Don't use conspicuous laptop bags. Nothing says “I'm a laptop, steal me,” more than a slim, nylon, rectangular shoulder bag.
If you're not one of the many workaholics and you don't take your laptop home with you, lock it up in your desk.
Treat your laptops like your kids, don’t leave them unattended. Don't leave your laptop visible in your car when you park and don't leave it sitting on the table at a coffee house or library when you have to go you know where.
Laptops that go to Vegas, sometimes stay in Vegas. Don't leave your laptop out in the open in your hotel room. Most hotel employees are honest but why tempt someone?
Don't send your laptop through the airport X-Ray machine until you’re ready to walk through the detector, it just might not be there when you get to the other side.
Secure Your Laptop
Most laptops have a Universal Security Slot (USS) on the side of the laptop that can be used to connect a cable or alarm. The Kensington 64068F cable and connector costs under $40. Belkin makes a device that sells for around $20 and sets off an alarm if it's removed.
Mark your laptop with an ID code. Companies like yougetitback and armortag make it easy for someone who finds your laptop to call an 800 number and get a reward.

Stop will sell you a registered “security plate,” that incorporates an “indelible tattoo” that can help missing property get returned to their owners

Protect Your Data
Keep sensitive information on a USB drive or in the, "Cloud."

Encrypt all the data on your disk. There are many drive encryption programs on the market. Some versions of Vista include BitLocker Drive Encryption. You could also use a free open source on-the-fly encryption program like truecypt.

from + plus magazine
Hide sensitive data in places thieves are unlikely to look like inside images using steganography. Steganographic applications can hide text or whole files inside image files like BMP or PNG files or even sound files.
Make it harder to log into your laptop with:

  • Smart card and a PIN
  • Biometric authentication method such as a fingerprint
  • Dongle to store a key
  • Boot-time driver that asks for password
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Your article on laptop theft

Your article on laptop theft is missing an important option. ComputraceComplete is a software package that is bios integrated in many laptops and allows for a stolen laptop to be traced and recovered by the police the when it connects to the internet. it also allows you to remotely erase your data off of the lost or stolen computer and becuase it is bios intergrated and doesn't show up in windows the thief is unaware of its presence and is unable to remove it. I use this software at work on all of our laptops.
I wouldn't own a laptop that doesn't support this software!

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You're Right

I agree, it's a great product and there are plenty more like it. We cover them all in Part II coming in the next newsletter.