Monday, April 6, 2009
We’ve been seeing so many reports of laptop thefts recently. Most of the time, they’re taken from parked cars. A friend of mine recently lost his Powerbook and external hard drive at the open parking in between North Park and Big Grill in Makati. Window was smashed and there are traces of blood in the broken glass. Obviously, the culprit forced his hand inside. If only our local police has DNA records of people with criminal records. I’m blasting this email so we can all pitch in some of our own tips, based on our personal experiences, on how to avoid losing a laptop. I’ll try to list as many as I can in this first post, please feel free to add your own.
Luckily Vista has rafts of security features that will preserve your most sensitive banking information and quasi-pornographic, Paris Hilton-esque photos to an impregnable limbo. You can either encrypt your data or encrypt the entire hard drive volume via Bitlocker.
Unluckily though, this will not exempt you from being a victim of these ruthless thieves and mindless thugs. So here are some ways to camouflage your laptop from would-be thefts. Note that there is still no such thing as fool proof, and no one has the immunity to this mishap so better be extra careful with your belongings not just your lappies but also your cellphones, digital camera, and mp4/mp3 players.
1. Use a nondescript bag to carry and hide your laptop. There are bags that are obviously laptop bags, avoid those at all costs. A brand logo on the bag doesn’t help either. But CD-R king brand will do, hehehe.
2. Never let your laptop or your laptop bag out of your sight. When in a public space like a café, take the laptop with you when going to the restroom or when picking up coffee at the counter.
3. As much as possible, deploy a cable lock. If you have to leave your laptop in the car, keep it connected to the Kensington cable, and tie it around the seat brace, tie it or any secure area in your trunk. Think of your car as if its just another table in a trade show. You leave a laptop untethered, you give thieves more chance to take it from your car.
If you have to leave it in the trunk, prevent the driver side lever from opening the trunk. Some cars have this "child-safe" like switch at the inner side of your trunk that prevents it from being opened without a key.
4. As much as possible, avoid leaving your laptop in a car. In case you have to:
a. do not leave the laptop or its bag in plain sight. Thieves will not bother breaking into a car that looks empty. Even shopping bags attract their attention.
b. Make sure your car doors are locked and windows shut.
c. try to park in an area that’s well-lit and highly visible.
d. if you’re going to watch a movie, make sure not to park in an area obviously used by movie-goers only
e. vans with sliding windows are the most broken into. Never leave valuables in L300s and the like.
5. Do not leave your laptop in the office overnight, especially over the weekend. No matter how secure your office may be, there’s a big chance for someone to take it when no one is looking
6. Use the hotel safe.
7. When flying, do not check your laptop in with your luggage
8. In airports, do not let your laptop bag into the X-ray machine until you are sure you have a clear path through the metal detectors.
9. Keep your laptop’s whereabouts in the top of your mind. Bawal ang pork…
10. My personal style, I have to park in between the glossiest, shiniest sedan or SUV, that could easily be mistaken as those of ambassadors or expats or elitist few. That will make my car pale in comparison to theirs, as well as the contents of my car and my personal belongings. Thus, making mine less prone to thefts.