Monday, March 31, 2008

LaptopLock and Other Laptop Anti-Theft Tools


Lock That Stolen Laptop (Various Ways)

There is an epidemic of stolen laptops across college campuses around the world. In fact, laptops are one of the most widespread stolen items in any city. This does not come as any surprise, of course. Especially when you consider what little precautions most people take to protect their cherished portable devices. Just imagine the amount of private and important data that each person has on his/her little notebook. College term papers, homework, class projects, Outlook E-mail, spreadsheets, not to mention a huge collection of MP3 music, software and photos, Internet favorites (bookmarks). Maybe even backups of full-length DVD movies. You get the point. A stolen laptop offers information that you would never share online.

With a little extra precaution, you can protect your files even after a theft. LaptopLock is a free program that can help. LaptopLock can encrypt or permanently delete files on your stolen laptop. It waits silently for your remote signal to seal or destroy the data. To use LaptopLock, first register an account on the LaptopLock Web site. Then, install the program on your computer. You can give it a list of steps to take if your laptop is ever stolen. You can specify exactly which files you want encrypted or deleted if this tragedy should ever strike. You can even leave a carefully-written message for the thief. If your laptop is stolen, log in to your LaptopLock account and report the theft. The next time your laptop is online, it will receive the signal to execute your list of steps. That's all there is to it.

According to Kim Komando, who has promoted this free product on her show, LaptopLock is still under development, so it may have a few bugs. The program can be set to require a password if it finds no Internet connection. LaptopLock works on Windows 2000, XP and Vista. Here is the Web site for you to download it:
http://www.thelaptoplock.com/

LaptopLock is free, but there are other options that offer more protection and security before the notebook is stolen, and for those you will need to pay a bit of money. For instance, Targus' DEFCON MDP is a combination lock that includes an alarm. Its motion detector sets off the alarm when the laptop is moved or if the lock is cut. It sells for $50. You could also try Kensington's MicroSaver Alarmed Lock. If the cable is cut, an alarm sounds. It sells for $55.

Tracking software sends a signal to the publisher's Web site when connected to the Internet. If the laptop is stolen, the company helps police locate it. The software is undetectable and cannot be disabled without authorization. Some programs even include encryption tools and support remote deletion of files. Computrace and CyberAngel are tracking programs that sell for $60 per year. XTool Laptop Tracker is $50 per year.

Last, and probably the most popular tracking "tool" to defend against laptop thievery is LoJack for Latpops. A one-year subscription costs $49.99 a year, or three years for $99.99. LoJack provides peace of mind. This is software that you install on your laptop, and then register with their site. It is the exact same service that has been helping thousands of people to recover their stolen vehicles for years. LoJack for Laptops is a theft protection service that tracks, locates and recovers stolen laptop and desktop computers. Software installed on your computer works behind the scenes to silently and securely contact the monitoring center, and if stolen, reports its location using any Internet connection. According to recent research (found on chris.pirillo.com), a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds from coffee shops, college campuses, hotel rooms and motor vehicles. According to the FBI, 97% of these are never recovered. The LoJack team has successfully recovered 3 out of 4 stolen laptops that were covered with their protection. That’s pretty good odds… much better than 97% never being recovered.

You thought you had no way of keeping an eye your laptop, or securing it? Now you have plenty.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Mark:

    Thank you for your excellent article on laptop antitheft measures.

    As a representative of STOP, the provider of a proven, patented anti-theft ID marking system, I hope you will include information on the STOP System in your next article on this subject.

    More info at www.stoptheft.com

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Best regards,
    Doug Belfiore
    Director of Customer Relations
    STOP - Security Tracking of Office Property
    Norwalk, CT USA

    ReplyDelete