How to Stop Laptop Thieves in Their Tracks

Image Credit: Sergey Mironov / Shutterstock

Whether you spend your day in an office or in the classroom (or anywhere in between), there’s a good chance that you always have your laptop with you. Whether you keep it in your bag, on your desk, or in your vehicle, there’s always the chance that you could fall victim to laptop theft.

Just how common is laptop theft, you might ask? Well, to put things in perspective, over half a million laptops are stolen at airports every single year. Not to mention all of the thefts that occur in university libraries, offices, and vehicles. The security of your laptop should be a major concern (especially if you travel a lot, or like to use your laptop in crowded, busy places).

Luckily, there are many different ways to protect yourself from falling victim to laptop theft. Most of the major strategies and methods that you can employ are covered in the sections posted below. We go into detail regarding physical security locks, tracking software (in case your laptop gets stolen), as well as some basic data security tips.

Securing Your Laptop With a Lock

Laptop cable locks have been around for a few decades now (ever since the invention of the laptop). The majority of manufacturers have a built-in locking mechanism known as a “lock slot.”

There are numerous brands that manufacture locks, however, the problem is determining which type of lock is adequate for your specific needs. For example, if you own a heavily-trafficked retail business with a large amount of Apple products on display, you’re going to need to choose a very high-quality lock manufacturer that specializes in scalable lock solutions.

Maclocks is the industry leader when it comes to enterprise-level (and personal-use) physical security systems. There are a variety of Apple-based locks you can buy through Macklocks’ site.

The way most cable lock products work is by attaching the actual lock to the laptop and then attaching the cable to another object. In order for the lock to be as effective as possible, it’s recommended to secure it to a very heavy/large object (if possible).

Data Security Tips

Data security is something that’s seen as esoteric among people who aren’t technically-inclined. However, the basic principles of data security are fairly easy to grasp:

  • Encryption is vital
  • Backups are essential
  • Password must be strong

Those are easy enough to understand, but how exactly do you go about encrypting your data? What about data backups? Don’t worry, both of these topics aren’t as complicated as they might sound.

Encrypting your personal/business data is one of the very best ways to protect it from getting into the wrong hands. There are countless ways to achieve this, but the easiest way would involve using a standard encryption program. Most people who steal laptops won’t have the technical abilities required to decrypt your information (because hacking into encrypted data is incredibly difficult).

Most people choose to encrypt their entire drives, and there are many tools out there that can help you do this (some are even free). Encryption doesn’t need to end with your laptop either. Mobile phones, desktops, and other electronics can all be encrypted for increased privacy/security.

Maintain Situational Awareness

One of the main reasons why so many laptops are stolen each year is because people simply aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings. Criminals are always looking for easy targets, and people who aren’t paying attention are very easy targets (especially if they have valuable electronics).

Being able to be aware of your surroundings can be the difference between losing your laptop/getting it stolen and preventing that crime from even beginning in the first place. Make yourself a hard target and always pay attention to the location of your devices (especially in crowded places).

Make Your Laptop’s Security a Priority

Too many people take the security of their laptops for granted, which is why so many people become victims of laptop theft. Secure your devices with physical locks from a reputable brand (such as Maclocks), encrypt your drives, maintain situational awareness. Following that advice alone will solve 90% of thefts from even occurring in the first place.

If your laptop does get stolen, one of the ways that you could possibly get it back is by making sure that you’ve installed a GPS tracking application on it. Many of these applications come with remote-user capabilities (meaning that you could log on to your laptop even when it’s not in your physical presence).

While this might provide you with some peace of mind, nothing beats physically securing your laptop via cable lock systems.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.