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Securing Your Laptop on the Road

September 21st, 2011 | by admin admin | in Security Advice |    36   comments

“Can’t get away from the office? Take it with you!” This is the blessing and curse of today’s mobile technology. On vacations and business trips, you can stay connected via laptop. Aside from the work/life questions, though, travelling with a laptop raises significant security concerns. Namely, theft.

To protect yourself, start by keeping a low profile. A laptop case tells the world what’s inside. Try a padded briefcase or other nondescript travel bag. Find a private spot before pulling out your laptop, or use a screen guard to protect against passersby peeking over your shoulder. If anyone asks about your computer, pack it away.

Keep your laptop with you at all times. Don’t check it in your luggage or set it down while you talk to a ticket agent. While going through airport security, hold onto your bag until the person ahead of you has cleared screening. Avoid leaving your laptop in your hotel room or at the front desk. If you must leave it in your room, put “Do not Disturb” on the door to keep staff out.

Secure your data with a strong password. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. “sE33C//uRE” is a far stronger password than “ABC123,” but won't help if you leave it with your laptop for thieves to use. If, however, someone does gain access to your files, you can still protect your data by encrypting your files.

Locking up your laptop is an obvious security measure. If you lock your bag, thieves can’t take your laptop, accessories or documents – nor can they smuggle items in it. You can also use a laptop security cable. Security software, meanwhile, can report a missing laptop’s exact physical location when it connects to the Internet, and remotely disable your computer.

Labelling your laptop with your name and contact information, with a promise of a reward for its safe return, can also improve your chances of getting it back.

Finally, a customs tip for heading home: keep proper documentation on hand to prove you own the laptop, and didn’t buy it while travelling. And you didn’t steal it.


Author: Susanna Chu

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