Ted Demopoulos    Demopoulos Associates
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Protect Your Laptop from Theft

Laptop Theft Prevention

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  • The Ted Rap, www.thetedrap.com, has a several posts on the recent Ciscogate incident involving ex-ISS security researcher Michael Lynn and his Black Hat presentation on Cisco Router attacks. Feel free to visit and leave comments.

  • I've been writing high level Security Policy for a Fortune 500 company lately, which brings us to "Protect Your Laptop from Theft." One client is integrating this into their Security Policy. Another company has very recently distributed this to all their laptop-toting employees as required reading, which anyone may do for free if the attribution is intact.

Protect Your Laptop from Theft

Laptop computers are often stolen. They are small, easily sold, and valuable. When a laptop is stolen it is a major inconvenience at best, and if company confidential data gets into the wrong hands the results can be truly catastrophic.

Many professionals use a laptop, often transporting it between home and the office. Most travel at least occasionally with a laptop. Laptops are particularly vulnerable when traveling but are also often stolen from offices and residences as well.

These simple steps should be taken to help protect laptops from physical theft.

  • Use a locking cable and perhaps an alarm for your laptop, available at any computer store. I don’t always lock my laptop, for example at home, but often lock it in hotel rooms and even in my private office when leaving for extended periods of time.

  • Carry your laptop in something other than a laptop bag, for example a briefcase or backpack. Don't make it obvious your bag contains a laptop!

  • Try not to leave laptops in a car. This isn't always practical, but minimize it as much as practical. Never leave a laptop, laptop case, or briefcase in plain sight in a car.

  • Watch your laptop carefully in airports and train stations! Certainly do not put it in checked luggage. Do not ignore or leave it alone for even a few seconds. When going through security, place it on the x-ray machine last, immediately before walking through.

  • Many laptops are stolen from businesses. If you don't know if it's safe to leave your laptop unattended then ask someone. A colleague once had his laptop stolen from a "secure building" at a police facility during lunch!

  • Don't leave your laptop or any laptop accessories visible in your hotel. In a drawer covered by clothes is a good hiding place.

  • If you take a bus or shuttle, hold on to your laptop. Don't put it “in back” with the other luggage.

It only takes a few seconds for a thief to grab a laptop. These simple steps will help protect your laptop, your data, and even your company from potential disaster!

Ted Demopoulos, Consultant and Professional Speaker, 603-231-8782 (cell)
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