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eversman

Keeping Your Laptop Safe.....

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Laptop Security....

Recently, a member of a different forum with the screen name of Dynamike had his laptop stolen. wanting to help others avoid the same fate, and trying to do a little bit of good, he posted some links to help people find the methods and tools to keep themselves, and their expensive technogoodies, safe.

http://www.absolute.com

This is a really great software solution. do i recommend it as a stand-alone answer to laptop theft? sadly, no. Absolute is the primary provider for the Computrace LoJack software. Its designed to let ET fone Home so to speak. When your laptop is stolen, you call computrace and they start tracking the laptop. using the ip address, they can give the info on who the service provider is and what ip the stolen laptop is using to connect to the internet. Computrace contacts local law enforcement who can then act to recover your stolen laptop.

it works by being installed not just in the hard drive, but permanently into the bios as well. if the thief reformats your drive, the bios agent rebuilds the files on the hard drive again.

http://www.pointsec.com

This website offers data security solutions for your laptop. Encryption means that bad guys who may be looking for sensitive financial, personal, or corporate data wont get it. instead, they get a bunch of unreadable files.

http://www.pgp.com

This website offers the very best in encryption software. we are talking about virtual drives, thumbdrive encryption, entire disk encryption, mail encryption, and instant messenger encryption, as well as self decrypting archives for sending sensitive data to people who do not have the program, but need the data, securely. i recommend this one, i am using it and have for years. PGP- they call it Pretty Good Privacy for a reason.

http://www.alertsec.com/

This website offers data security solutions for your laptop. Encryption means that bad guys who may be looking for sensitive financial, personal, or corporate data wont get it. instead, they get a bunch of unreadable files.

http://www.lojackforlaptops.com/lear...or-laptops.asp

See Absolute.com above for explanation.

http://labmice.techtarget.com/articl...opsecurity.htm

Very well put together and thought out guide to security practices regarding your laptop. its a really great how to that goes into a lot of detail to give you some ideas, and point you in the direction of helpful tools to keep your laptop secure.

http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1186

This is another security how to, but is less comprehensive and more concise. Its got a few points the previous how to guide omits.

http://www.computersecurity.com/laptop/

A link to a company offering several security devices for a corporate environment.

http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/stay...psecurity.mspx

A short and sweet 9 point guide to increasing the physical security of your laptop while on the road.

http://www.networkworld.com/newslett.../00477464.html

A great article/ review of Motion detecting laptop security devices. They are a great supplement to cable locks and other devices. article gives links to the devices and discusses them in detail.

http://www.secure-it.com/

A site offering several various security devices. Among them, a privacy filter for your LCD screen to keep unwanted eyes off your work in a public place, and several locking devices.

http://www.securitydocs.com/library/3399

Another very comprehensive security guide, but this one is more focused on Data security and Network security. It also discusses physical security of laptops as well.

http://www.targus.com/us/accessories_security.asp

Great maker of laptop locking mechanisms such as cable locks, and motion sensing alarms.

http://us.kensington.com/html/1434.html

My personal favorite lockmaker. I use the kensington MicroSavor Retractible. i like it because its small and easy to carry in a small carry bag, its retractable, and uses a key instead of a combo. i have real problems remembering what day of the week it is, let alone a combination to a lock. Because of that i like the one i chose. they offer many different locks, and also offer models with motion sensing alarms too.

A special thanks to Dynamike for posting the links, and good luck with the hunt to retrieve your stolen laptop. Hopefully we can all learn something valuable from what happened to him, and take his advice. Laptop theft has become the most prevalent technology crime in the past few years, and replacement cost for those of us who buy our own is a huge hit to take for simply not taking appropriate measures to protect our investment.

For corporate users, it can be even worse. sensitive client data, financial data, valuable proprietary data, or even in some cases national security data, can be lost and in even worse cases, fall into the wrong hands. that is in addition to the cost of the loss of the equipment itself.

hope this helps someone out.

ev

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that would work for data, but the prob with lojack is it installs into bios too. wipe the drive, and it simply regenerates teh files the next time you boot. and if you have a bios password......so no matter what the thing is still gonna fone home.

ev

If that really works like that I may tell my friend to install that on his laptop.  :laugh:

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It is not that great of a solution... It requires the laptop to go online.. People who are stealing laptops are not looking for a new laptop instead they are looking for the information on them.

It does look like the software does have a bios component..

LoJack for Laptops-Absolute licensed the Lojack name from the car theft recovery company-can survive the entire stripping and reformatting of the hard disk. And, to make it even more invulnerable, most of the big laptop makers-IBM/Lenovo, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway-have just begun embedding a recovery chip on their system boards, so that even if the thief replaces the hard drive, the computer will still be able to make that SOS call.

I would like to see if it will survive a DoD zero bit pass...

Here is a little out dated article.. http://www.infomaticsonline.co.uk/vnunet/news/2141350/does-lojack-laptops-work

Here is the product discription.. Looks like a BIOS flash will solve the problem..

http://www.absolute.com/products-core-technology.asp

Alright last update to this post... You can get rid of the BIOS component with a bios repacker.. Here is the Award Utility that can get the job done.. http://sourceforge.net/projects/awdbedit/

I guess the information is stored the BIOS CME area.. Which is not over written when you flash the bios..

One last thing.. Since the program requires an IP address to work..  The company is going to need to get the IP address from the ISP before the swat team can figure out who has your laptop.. Mean while your laptop is being parted and sold on ebay.

Here is the popular LoJack whitepaper on how to break it. http://www.infiltrated.net/docs/lojack.pdf

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Yeah, but just how many laptop theives are smart enough to do that? not the majority of em. plain and simple MOST of em are headed right to the pawn shop and MOST of the laptops bought from there are by people who DONT look for that, which is why lojack is a good idea. and thats an AWFUL lot more trouble than your average theif is gonna go to, swimmer.

And with all that said, i think these are still the best solutions for protecting your investment. if you guys and gals dont like em much, you dont have to use em. They are imperfect solutions to a nearly impossible problem, but they are the best you have, take em or leave em. up to you.

ev

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Right.. they are imperfect.. That is what I am trying to show.. Just because you buy into a product that is going to provide a serivce to recover you laptop does not mean that you are any safer then when you started. 

I also agree that most people would not be messing with their BIOS.  But it is important again that if someone really wants the computer they can have it and all of the data no problem.  Or just don't plug it into the internet and then you will never see your laptop again.  The best solution.. Dont loose your laptop.

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in a perfect world not losing the laptop would be ideal. thats imperfect for people who travel with it. so, you pull out every card you have to TRY to keep it safe. its better than nothing, and its that simple. because, frankly, you might get lucky. and if theres a slim chance it CAN be recovered, HOWEVER slight it might be, dont you think its worth playing that card? or would you rather just decide to replace it and not even try?

ev

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