Keeping Your Laptop Secure In An Insecure World

This is a guest post by Mila Johnson.

Laptop security starts with simple measures and ends with in-depth solutions. Whether it's protecting the entire machine, or the data inside, this list will provide a solution.

No Tech

Maintain Contact

Whether at a library or in a public setting, keeping an eye on a laptop is the easiest way to keep others from stealing it. It only takes seconds for a thief to grab a laptop and run. If a book or other item is needed that will take a laptop away from eyesight, keep a finger or a hand touching it.


Carrying cases are nice, but similar to key fobs with manufacturer emblems, it signals to thieves that something valuable is inside the bag. Keeping a laptop in a backpack or other non-distinguishable bag when possible will keep a low profile.

Personal Tracking

Laptops come with serial numbers and sometimes other personalized numbers. Record them. If willing to damage the case, or at least small portions of it, make marks and engrave designs that are recognizable. It could help in situations where a person can spot their own laptop in the hands of another.

Low Tech

Cable Lock

Kensington Locks are devices that clip onto laptops with the locks preinstalled and keep them anchored to sturdy structures. These are meant more for short-term security and quick theft deterrent than as long-term solutions. Some thieves will break the lock and damage the casing if only to steal the data from the hard drive.

Noise and Motion-Sensor Systems

Think of these devices as car alarms. Often snapped into a Kensington lock or a drive's port, these devices sound alarms if too much movement is detected or the cable is snapped. Like car alarms, they can be set off accidentally and cause embarrassment.

High Tech

STOP ID Labels and GPS Tracking

STOP ID Labels are stickers placed on the bottom of laptops. If the laptop is stolen and the labeled removed, a tracking number burned to the case will appear. Most companies similar to the STOP brand offer lifetime tracking.

Tracking software, such as LoJack Computrace, can use Internet browsing to locate a stolen computer, even when thieves change the hard drive and operating systems.

Finger Print Recognition

In order to even boot up or log-in, some laptops require users code in with a fingerprint. These systems are hard to fool or workaround in quick jams. When combined with other security features, these security devices keep information very secure.


For guarding information from wireless hackers and viruses, install, update, and run anti-virus software. There are paid services like McAfee, and free versions such as Avast! that perform stunningly. Avast! free anti-virus protection is one of the best laptop deals around. When it's free, there's no reason not to have it.


Encrypting data and information sent wirelessly or stored externally is a good way to keep most criminals from accessing data. 128-bit encryption is becoming standard and many routers and Wi-Fi cards offer it. If unsure of how to use or setup encryption, contact an Internet service provider or the company of any cards and external hard drives being used.

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Guest post by Johnson.

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