Reducing the Pain of a Lost or Stolen Laptop
Imagine for a second that your laptop is stolen. What keeps you up at night? It's not the cost of the computer it's what people can do with your data.
But because encryption is a pain, a lot of people don't bother protecting their data. Windows user name and password is trivial to break. Here are easy steps to help you sleep better at night and also increase the chance of your laptop being returned.
Obvious but who reading this actually has put contact information on their laptop? Vote below. Yeah me too. I got to do this right after I finish this article.
A note about a reward will also help chances of return too.
For companies who put their company name on the laptop, if you are a large organization where confidentiality is important (ie banks or government) in my opinion, putting your name on the laptop pretty much guarantees a snoop. So if you do this make sure to counter measures setup.
If you're still figuring it out, instead provide a number for a generic department that does not answer the phone with your organization's name.
Native to modern hard drives is the ability to password protect the drive at the hardware level. Once the password is set, the hard drive will not initialize without the correct password.
- Even if you move it to another computer
- You cannot even format it... it just won’t initialize
If you "lock your hard drive" and "enable a boot password", and do not like the idea of having to enter two passwords, some BIOS like my IBM Lenovo X200 allow me to combine the boot password and hard drive protection password together under the same password. I enter only one password but someone else trying to dismantle my system will find both the hard drive and they motherboard useless.
With only the RAM usable the effort of reassembly for a new motherboard, there is a much higher chance of your system being returned provided you attached contact information to your laptop.
Obvious, but lots of people forget this step.
Change the Boot Sequence
No point in all that effort if somebody can use a boot disk and load a custom program bypass your BIOS. Change the boot order (to boot from your C: drive first). This makes it next to impossible to get a boot virus and again frustrating to do anything with the system including installing a new operating system.
Also native to most new hard drives, is the ability to encrypt your data. Personally I don't go this route because it makes recovery of your data very difficult and next to impossible if you forgot your passwords.
http://www.laptoptips.ca/security/hard-disk-password/ - talks about locking hard drives.
http://www.rockbox.org/lock.html - it is possible to unlock the drives...