How to Protect Your Laptop from Thieves While Traveling
If you're one of the brave ones that is considering bringing your laptop with you while you're traveling, you're no doubt concerned about it getting thieved.
I'm right there with yea. I'm traveling with an expensive MacBook Pro. She's a beaut. And I'm super-anal about who can touch her.
I'm asked all the time from people at hostels if they can use may computer. I have absolutely no problems saying, "No."
Here's a few tips to keep your laptop safe:
- Keep the laptop on you at all times. If you can't because you're trekking or something, keep it in a locker in a hidden area. Pay more to get more security if you have to.
- Don't flash it around the wrong areas or at the wrong times. Most people that have been mugged were mugged because they advertised that they were loaded.
- When walking publicly with your laptop, act like you own the place. If you're wandering around in aimless circles, looking at street signs and maps, you've got a big sign on your head that says, "Rob me!" Even if you're lost, walk briskly like you've got somewhere to go. Jump into a store and ask the guy behind the counter how to get where you're going.
- Don't leave the laptop alone on the table while you go take a pee. It won't be there when you get back.
- While sleeping in hostels, slide it under your bed and put your other stuff in front of it.
Ok, so you've followed all the rules, and your laptop still got jacked. No worries, as long as you did a little pre-theiving planning, you can fight back.
- Install anti-theft software like Undercover (for Mac) and LoJack (for PC). Once activated, Undercover will take a picture of whoever is using your computer every six minutes and send it to you. It also takes a screenshot of the desktop and sends that as well. The people at Undercover also work with the local police where it was stolen and you usually get your computer back.
- Log out! Most computers stay logged in once you shut the lid. So that means, if the computer gets jacked, the thief has accesses to all your stuff. If you log out and password protect your user account, the thief can't see your stuff.
- Create a gust user. Guest users have limited abilities on the computer and don't need a password to log in. Once a thief jacks your computer, he will only be able to access the gust account - not your stuff.
- Make Ctl+Alt+Del blow up the computer (Mac only). Most thieves are PC users, so they'll no doubt take your mac and try to "break in" with the crazy key combo. Boy will they be in for a surprise!
If you take simple precautions with your computer and do a little pre-theiving preparations, your mind will be more at ease as you travel with your precious baby.