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Laptop Security Tips

Aug - 27 - 2013

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Laptops are great for mobile workers but the security risk of the data it contains is much more at risk.  There is the obvious concern of theft but there is also the chance that someone could slip a USB drive into your laptop for just a second and steal important data.  Hackers are getting a lot more sophisticated these days so you need to be on top of your laptop security.

Obviously the most basic form of security is to use passwords.  Sounds simple and a non brainer, but many people don’t have passwords enabled on their laptops or if they do they chose words like ‘password’.  This is the most common password used so the first thing a thief would try.  Passwords should be at least 8 characters long, use a combination of numbers, upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces and symbols.

Thousands of laptops are lost in airports every single week never to be seen again.  One way around this problem is to have a proximity alarm attached to your laptop bag.  Proximity alarms are very inexpensive devices which will send an alert to your smart phone if it detect that the laptop has moved away from you.  They are also good for those that often lose their keys or smart phones.

Installing tracking software is a great way of retrieving a laptop if it has been stolen or misplaced.  They use a combination of the IP address and Wi-Fi positioning.  Some software even has the ability to turn on the laptop's webcam remotely.

Installing encryption software is a sure way to keep your laptop secure, or least the data within it.  There are many different types of encryption solutions available but the main two are file level encryption and  full disk encryption or whole disk encryption as its also known. File-level encryption is where individual files are encrypted by the file system itself, whereas full disk encryption encrypts the entire hard drive system including the operating systems, applications and data all gets encrypted. You will have to enter an encryption key to access your laptop, which will make it very difficult for a hacker or thief to access your data.

Backing up your data on a regular basis is one of the best ways to protect the information on your laptop.  There are cloud based backup solutions which upload your files to servers which once set up are automatic.  This is great for the mobile worker as you shouldn’t keep backups in the same place as the computer.  And you should have more than one backup ideally.

If you do all or at least some of the above your laptop should be secure.  We all need to make it hard for hackers and thieves.  By taking some precautions and using our common sense laptop theft should be on the decrease.

Looking for laptop disk encryption?  Gradian Systems Ltd are leading independent security consultants specialising in encryption, authentication, e-mail and enterprise compliance.

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