How To Protect Your Information On Your Laptop From Being Stolen

Pretty much everyone and their dog has a laptop, Macbook, Blackberry or some other kind of portable computing device (all hereafter referred to as "device"). Protecting your information on that device from cyber thieves (or just plain ordinary thieves) isn't easy. But it gets easier if you take security precautions.

A recent case of government actually doing something right when it comes to security highlights one security solution. The Canadian federal government recently confessed that a laptop with the private information on 32,000 farmers was stolen a little while back. (Winnipeg Free Press).

But there is a slim ray of hope that the information might not be compromised: the laptop was reportedly password-protected and secured with biometric fingerprinting, even if the data itself was not encrypted.

As identity management blogger Dave Jevans (Thieves Steal Canadian Laptop With 32,000 Farmer’s Personal Information) has noted, the biometrics security measure doesn’t stop the thieves from simply removing the disk in the computer and inserting it in another computer to get access to all of the information. But it’s better than nothing.

There are other steps one can take for better security -- some are just common sense, while others require a technology solution:

1. Never share your device with anyone. "But we were going out! I thought I could trust her!" -- doesn't cut it when high-resolution images of your hairy butt end up in all your relatives inboxes.
2. Don't turn your back on your device, particularly in a public place. Would you leave your wallet full of all your ID on a desk at the library, even eight steps away as you answered your cellphone? Thieves can snatch your stuff in an instant.
3. Use a remote data storage backup solution. This may not prevent thieves from looking at your information, but at least you won't have lost all of your data. You'll be able to access all your data even if your device is nowhere to be found.
4. Ensure your data is encrypted and password-protected. To the thieves, your device will be about as valuable as a lump of plastic and copper.
5. Use a laptop security tracking device. Not all portable computing devices may have this capability built in, but you can get it for laptops.The thieves are going to be awfully sad when the cops show up at their door fifteen minutes after they turn on your computer -- and you may just get it back before the goons have even had a chance to go on an on-line shopping spree with your credit card number.