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Mon, Oct 23, 2017 02:58 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Keep your laptop safe


02/06/2008 - Laptop users in the world number 100 million. In 2005, laptop sales surpassed desktop models for the first time in the U.S. thanks to a number of factors. Laptops have now become as powerful as desktop counterparts; prices have decreased on laptops; and built-in wireless connections make laptops more portable than ever.

In January of 2005, Intel vice president Mooly Eden was quoted as saying, "Between 2001 and 2004, we more than doubled the amount of notebooks in the market. Between 2004 and 2008, we believe the market will double again."

More Laptops, Greater Theft Risk

With the rise in the number of laptops being used by consumers, the opportunities for theft also grow. A laptop computer represents the ultimate in mobility and convenience. It allows you to engage in entertainment or get work done from relatively any place at any time. This is why laptops are frequent companions — and thieves know it.

According to FBI estimates, the second most common crime, just after identity theft, is laptop theft. Each year, 2 million notebook computers are reported stolen, which doesn't take into account the laptops left at airports, coffee shops, and bus terminals.

Many people take the steps to safeguard the information stored on laptops, using firewalls, passwords and other security systems. But far fewer put the same attention to safeguarding the laptop itself. All it takes is a few minutes of distraction for a laptop to be stolen. And when a laptop is stolen, you're not only losing an expensive piece of equipment, you're also losing any personal information stored on it.

Safeguarding Laptops

Here are ways to keep your laptop safe.

Out of sight, out of mind: Would you keep a wad of cash in plain sight ripe for the taking? Probably not if you're wise. But many laptop owners leave their computers in the back seat of cars or in other visible places, enticing thieves. Treat your laptop like cash — keeping it in sight at all times — and you'll be less likely to lose it.

Lock it up: Use a laptop security cable to make your laptop less portable when keeping it in a hotel room or other place. There are also other alarms, bells and whistles that can alert you if your laptop is moved.

Keep it in view: Don't put your laptop on the floor or in another place where your eyes aren't constantly on it. If you're dining out or at a business lunch with a laptop, keep the bag between your feet if you must store it below the table.

Provide camouflage: Toting a laptop in a laptop bag is just advertising what you have inside. Consider using a backpack or a laptop bag that looks like a purse or a briefcase instead.

Cars are a target: Keep in mind that parked cars are a favorite target for laptop thieves. Whenever possible, do not store your laptop there. If you must, keep it out of sight.

Attention in airports. The confusion and shuffle of security checkpoints can be fertile ground for theft. Keep your eye on your laptop as you go through security. Hold onto it until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector and remain watchful when it emerges on the other side of the screener.

Note: Other electronics, including portable DVD players, MP3 players, cell phones, etc., are also prime targets for theft. Use similar safeguarding measures for all of your electronic devices.

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