Laptop theft - Don't become another statistic

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Mobile computing has become a lifeline for modern business people. But the laptop generation has had to cope with a concurrent increase in thefts, as opportunistic criminals target portable, high-value devices that also contain valuable information. Martin Allen of Pointsec explains how to minimise the risks.

When laptops were first available, they were treated with great care and attention. To be given a laptop by your company marked you out as someone special. Today, the laptop is commonplace. They are no longer the possession of high powered business executives or IT developers. Everyone from geeks to the occasional home user is moving away from desktop computers to the laptop.

There are many reasons for this. Price, processor power, increased battery life, footprint on the desk an...

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05th Aug 2005 13:37

Laptop theft prevention
Although it makes sense to use a non obvious laptop bag, a briefcase or ordinary sports bag doesn't usually have built in padding to protect your laptop from sudden shocks.

This could be a problem if you're insured for theft but not accidental damage.

If you do want to use a non standard bag, it's worth getting a big foam pad to wrap round your laptop. I'm told you can buy protective pads, but haven't seen any on sale.

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27th Jul 2005 21:47

Chris Owen - Answer
I have recently come across such a site. It is at I have not used them, so I have no idea what they are like.

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15th Jul 2005 10:17

Recover your stolen laptop
A few years ago, I heard of a specialist company who can install a small hidden program on your laptop.
If a thief tries to connect to the internet, the program recognises that a different phone number is being used, and surreptitiously sends that number to the company.
So the police visit the surprised thief and you get your laptop back.

This idea seemed so brilliant at the time that I assumed it would become widespread, but no one has mentioned it so far. Does anyone know of where to get this service ?

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14th Jul 2005 00:22

Theft from cars
Thieves are targetting cars in our local Sainsbury's supermarket that are driven by smart-suited men! An associate's car was broken in to on the assumption that, as he was smartly dressed, he probably had a laptop in his car. He didn't! Lots of inconvenience to get damage repaired.

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12th Jul 2005 18:24

cautionary tale re usb hard drive
Thanks Bhasker for reminding me...
On return from holiday last year, I plugged in my usb hard drive, using its adapter/transformer and then found too late that it was the wrong transformer - I had zapped it with too much power. No way to get it working without paying as much for repair as buying a new one. So, for essential data, also use another medium, such as DVD/CD.
Dick Price

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08th Jul 2005 11:07

Safe as houses - not!
Don't think you're safe from laptop thieves at home either. How many people leave their laptop in the hall, as I did (although tucked away out of sight) ready to pick up on the way to work? In the 30 seconds the thief had before our alarm was triggered and we all woke up and rushed downstairs, he had taken the laptop and also keys and credit cards from the kitchen.

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06th Jul 2005 22:25

camouflaged laptops
Good article, Martin!

Just like to share a related but lighthearted comment: I used to carry my laptop in an Adidas Sports Bag (although got bad RSI from carrying the damn thing) until some Chinese students I was lecturing to said: "But Mr Price, the retro-sports bag is back in fashion now, and your bag will be stolen for the bag!"

Thank goodness for memory sticks!

Dick Price, Beacon IT Ltd

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06th Jul 2005 14:58

Laptop in the boot
Even locking your laptop in the boot of your car is not safe!! At Christmas, my laptop was stolen from the boot by thieves who broke the rear door window glass, reached in, lowered the rear seat back & left with the laptop!! This was at a supermarket car park & I was gone for no more than 10 minutes. 3 other cars were done at the same time & the thieves managed a haul of 2 laptops on top of those they stole from the 5 cars they broke into at a hotel down the road prior to this!! The Police stated that they target company car type vehicles as there is a good chance of a laptop being in the boot.

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