Laptops are small and convenient, making them easy to take with you on trips for business or leisure, to school, work or other places; however, it also means they are easy to steal. According to a report from officers from JustStolen.net, one in ten laptops are stolen during a laptop’s lifetime. In the same report, FBI figures calculated that the rate of successful recoveries was only five percent. However, you can take certain measures to protect your laptop and improve its chances of recovery, such as installing tracking software that uses the Internet to broadcast its location if stolen. We’ve also added a few handy precautionary measures you can take beforehand, so your laptop has a better chance of making it home safe if the two of you become separated.
How To Prevent Theft and Protect Data
Here are a few things you can do beforehand to help make sure your laptop finds its way home and that your data stays protected.
1. Install Prey
Prey is a monitoring application that you can activate remotely should your laptop become missing or stolen. Prey then “calls home” to the Prey server (or your own server, depending upon configuration) once the laptop connects to the Internet. A Prey report gives the IP address, geolocation (complete with map) and even a screenshot from your webcam. You can also use Prey to lock your device to prevent others from accessing it
2. Encrypt Sensitive Data
Many personal data are stored in laptops.Personal data such as credit card, financial and medical records should always be encrypted — this is doubly true if your computer is portable. Encrypting your data will help to ensure that your identity doesn’t get stolen along with your laptop
There are a number of good encryption tools out there, and many modern operating systems have encryption options baked in. One popular, free encryption tool for Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms is TrueCrypt.
3. Make Your Laptop Easy to Return
Make a file and place it on your desktop (e.g. REWARD_IF_FOUND.TXT) containing your contact and information and information about a reward which you offer to the guy who found your laptop These details will make it easier for anyone who’s stumbled across your missing computer to return it to you without the need to go digging through personal data. It may even cause a remorseful thief to have a change of heart — especially if you can provide a way for the laptop to be returned anonymously.
4. Back Up Your Data Frequently
You should backing up your data on a regular basis to protect against hardware or software failure. If you’re on the go with your laptop a lot, you may want to take advantage of online backup services like Dropbox. If you choose to backup to an external hard drive, don’t store the drive in your laptop bag.
5. Consider an Engraving
You should consider having your company or name and a piece of contact information such as your email address or phone number engraved into a prominent location on your laptop. This greatly decreases its resale value and makes it obvious who the laptop belongs to. Engraving is a reasonably good deterrent against theft and provides just one more way of letting the finder of your laptop know who to return it to.