Laptop theft? Keep Your Data Protected !!
Today, Computers are practically endless sources of information about its users, and the loss of one may represent a bigger personal security risk to them than the inconvenience of not having vacation pictures or family videos.
Gaining access to your computer (either through a malware, or stealing your device), an attacker can view and obtain all your information that you wanted to keep safe from others.
Names, addresses and phone numbers of relatives, friends and professional contacts in Outlook, photos of your house, your loved ones, information related to your social networking sites, a complete history regarding your Internet activities, logins and passwords of your financial accounts, your tax records, bank statements, information related to work or study and even much more.
All these information should not be readily available to anyone and for this you can take various security measures to protect your data, your information and your privacy.
How to increase computer security?
Increasing your computer security is not a complicated task. Following are some attitudes and software that will allow users to rest easy, secure in the knowledge that their valuable information is protected, even if they do happen to lose their laptop.
Hide your personal folders
Alright, this may not seem like anything technological for you, but trust me, many times thieves of laptops and desktops are not experts in computer science. Putting your important folder (Hidden) in a directory like “C:/Windows/Data” can keep your data hidden from non-expert prying eyes.
Though you can easily access your data (by typing the path in the address bar of Windows Explorer) and can keep the folder in hidden mode, so that only you know it’s there.
Encryption: This word gives chilling effect to many people. Scramble the information on files and folders so they are viewable only by password. Encryption is not perfect and can be pierced, but will require an attacker’s reasonable computer knowledge.
Windows 7 Ultimate operating system has an integrated encryption tool called BitLocker. You can use it to make folders, USB drives, files and even the entire disc safe.
In case you do not have Windows 7 Ultimate installed on your machine, do not worry. There is a great free alternative to encrypt files, folders and entire disk: the TrueCrypt.
If you are buying a new laptop, there is an even safer option: the encryption hardware. Seagate is already well known for its quality of self encrypting drives (also known as SED).
If you intend to buy one of the laptops with SED, then I would suggest you to go with DELL brand that has several ThinkPad models with this technology, and some Inspiron models too.
For those who want a unique way to access their computers, biometric readers can be a great solution. Biometric authentication mechanisms can be used to replace or supplement passwords on most operating systems. Nowadays, several notebooks come with fingerprint readers and it is possible to install programs like Luxand Blink to do facial recognition on the Windows logon screen.
The advantage of biometric readers is that it simplifies your Windows Logon experience and frees you from creating and remembering complex passwords.
Even if you want a more complete solution, then you can go with O2Face that allows you to add safe access in folders and secure access to Windows logon. O2Face will recognize your presence and provide access as long as you face the camera directly. In addition, O2Face provides several other modules, including Live Detection, Leave Detection, Face Sense, SSO for websites, etc.
Protect your passwords. Always!
Programs like KeePass (free) and Kaspersky Password Manager (paid) which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. Thus, the user have to remember one single master password (auto complete forms for login and password) to access websites and applications, keeping your information secure.
Safe Data! Now let’s catch the thief!
The dream of almost anyone who has its laptop stolen, is to recover his or her laptop from thieves. Although there is very little chance of that happening, but you can increase the possibility of localization using programs installed on your system.
Software like Lojack and GadgetTrak (both paid) allow users to track the location of their computer when connected to the internet. That is, if you have your laptop stolen and the thief gets into your system and connect to the internet, then these software will send you an auto-email with detailed information about your laptop’s current location. You can pass the collected information to police and possibly recover your laptop.
Keep in mind that if the thief format your laptop before having an internet access with it, then all the software installed in your laptop will be removed from the system and its recovery plans go awry…but the possibility still exists 😉