Laptop Protection

Laptop Protection

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Laptop Protection Overview

Due to our highly technological and mobile lifestyle, laptops have become one of modern society's most valuable tools for business and communication. Imagine your laptop disappearing or a glass of wine spilling on it and losing countless hours of work and irreplaceable content. This is why it's so important to practice good laptop protection.

This article covers general laptop protection information, how to password protect not only access to a laptop, but how to password protect FILES, laptop theft prevention, how to report a stolen or lost laptop online and information about the Lost Laptop Database and Stolen Laptop Database on Stolen Lost Found Online.

Firewall Laptop Protection

A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that blocks hackers from entering and using a laptop. Hackers search the Internet the way some telemarketers automatically dial random phone numbers. A laptop hacker will send out pings (calls) to thousands of laptops and wait for responses. Firewalls prevent your laptop from responding to these random calls and blocks a laptop to and from sources not permitted. This is especially important if you have a high-speed Internet connection, such as DSL or cable.

Some operating systems have built-in firewalls that may be shipped in the “off” mode. Be sure to turn your firewall on. To be effective, your firewall must be set up properly and updated regularly. Check your online “Help” feature for specific instructions.

Anit-virus Laptop Protection

Anti-virus software protects your laptop from viruses that can destroy your data, slow down or crash your laptop, or allow spammers to send e-mail through your account. Anti-virus protection scans your laptop and your incoming e-mail for viruses, and then deletes them. You must keep your anti-virus software updated to cope with the latest “bugs” circulating the Internet. Most anti-virus software includes a feature to download updates automatically when you are online. In addition, make sure that the software is continually running and checking your system for viruses, especially if you are downloading files from the Web or checking your e-mail. Set your anti-virus software to check for viruses when you first turn on your laptop. You should also give your system a thorough scan at least twice a month.

Anti-Spyware Laptop Protection

Spyware is software installed without your knowledge or consent that can monitor your online activities and collect personal information while you surf the Web. Some kinds of spyware, called keyloggers, record everything you key in – including your passwords and financial information. Signs that your laptop may be infected with spyware include a sudden flurry of pop-up ads, being taken to Web sites you don’t want to go to, and generally slowed performance. Spyware protection is included in some anti-virus software programs. Check your anti- virus software documentation for instructions on how to activate the spyware protection features. You can buy separate anti-spyware software programs. Keep your anti- spyware software updated and run it regularly. To avoid spyware in the first place, download software only from sites you know and trust. Piggybacking spyware can be an unseen cost of many “free” programs. Don’t click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.

Laptop Protection With Browser And System Management

Hackers are constantly trying to find flaws or holes in operating systems and browsers. To protect your laptop and the information on it, put the security settings in your system and browser at medium or higher. Check the Tools or Options menus for how to do this. Update your system and browser regularly, taking advantage of automatic updating when it’s available. Windows Update is a service offered by Microsoft. It will download and install software updates to the Microsoft Windows Operating System, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and will also deliver security updates to you. Patching can also be run automatically for other systems, such as Macintosh Operating System.

Securing A Wireless Network For Laptop Protection

If you use a wireless network in your home, be sure to take precautions to secure it against hackers. Encrypting wireless communications is the first step. Choose a wireless router with an encryption feature and turn it on. WPA encryption is considered stronger than WEP. Your laptop, router, and other equipment must use the same encryption. If your router enables identifier broadcasting, disable it. Note the SSID name so you can connect your laptop to the network manually. Hackers know the pre-set passwords of this kind of equipment. Be sure to change the default identifier on your router and the pre-set administrative password. Turn off your wireless network when you’re not using it.

Remember that public “hot spots” may not be secure. It’s safest to avoid accessing or sending sensitive personal information over a public wireless network.

Laptop Protection By Encrypting All Files

One of the most common mis-conceptions about personal laptop computers is that the files are safe if there is a password required to access laptop. The reality is, unfortunately, it that the files on any hard drive can be accessed without any difficulty within minutes. The password required is to function the operating system, but if the hard drive is accessed from another laptop or computer, the files can easily be dragged off the disc and opened.

The most secure way to store files is within a secure disc image which requires a password to access it's contents. A disc image can be thought of as a file firewall around all sensitive material. All encryption and security measures are man-made, and can therefore be decoded. However, even the lowest level of security; a 128-bit AES encryption disc image is extremely hard to decode and would take decoders of FBI level up to several weeks to crack into. A common laptop their does not have this level of expertise, also, by the time the information is accessed account numbers and other such information will have been changed and will be of not worth all the work. Even hidden files and hidden folders appear, these and password protected folders can be accessed easily when looking through a disc from another laptop. Many laptop thieves can access a hard drives contents within a minute to gain personal information such as date of birth, financial records or social security numbers. Once it is realized disc content is inaccessible, a disc will be wiped, have a fresh operating system written on it and reinstalled if it was removed from the laptop, ready for sale on the black market or an unsuspecting buyer.

How To Encrypt FIles Laptop Protection

How to create a secure disk image on a Mac OS X:

  1. Open a new Finder window by either pressing the keys "command" then "N" or in the upper left corner of the screen, click "File" then click "New Finder Window" in the drop down menu. (All shortcuts in every mac app is listed to the right of the drop-down menu words)
  2. Select the "Applications" folder, then the "Utilities" folder, then double click "Disk Utility"
  3. In the menu along the top of the Disk Utility application, select "New Image"
  4. Name the new disc image and specify the size and security measures, 128-bit is ample, however if extra security is desired, 256-bit can be used.
  5. Click "Create"
  6. Type in a password, the use of numbers and punctuation greatly increases security. Do not select "Remember password in my keychain," this will prevent people from accessing it without a password on your computer.
  7. Write the password on paper and store it in a secure location, without the password the files will be accessed

There is free software for Windows available. However, as Mac users, Stolen Lost Found Online has not used any and can therefore no be able to review any. This information could be Googled here

Additional Laptop Protection Information

California Office of Privacy Protection (www.privacy.ca.gov)
The California Office of Privacy Protection provides information for consumers on protecting your computer, identity theft, and other privacy topics. The tips above are taken from “CIS 12: Protect Your Computer from Viruses, Hackers, and Spies.”

OnGuardOnline (www.onguardonline.gov)
OnGuardOnline provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you defend yourself against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org)
The independent nonprofit Consumers Union provides product reviews and strategies in a September 2006 article in ConsumerReports.org, “Stay Safe Online: Best Software Tools and Strategies,” available for free online. Product ratings are available to subscribers.

PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com)
The magazine provides product reviews in December 2006 articles, ”Suitest Security Software,” available for free online at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2076246,00.asp.

How To File A Stolen Laptop Police Report

The first step in any occurrence of theft is to report the incident to the police immediately. This helps you recover the stolen item if it gets confiscated and helps with an insurance claim process on the account an official police report is required to file a claim.

Here are the general steps to file a police report:

  1. Call the non-emergency phone number for the local police station or law enforcement agency where the item was stolen.
  2. Obtain the physical address and go to the police station or law enforcement agency.
  3. Once there, go to the stolen property department if applicable.
  4. While creating a stolen property police report it's important to provide the theft detective or clerk with as many details as possible, especially the item's serial number, any identifying marks or stickers. Also include when, where and how the item was stolen.
  5. Once you have completed the report, be sure to obtain a copy and retain it for follow-up and recovery.

It's important to file a police report for theft, no matter how big, small or valuable the stolen item is, because it helps the police know a thief's (or thieves) M.O. and to control theft by using crime data to increase patrol in areas with a high or rising crime rate. Sometimes an area's theft rate can skyrocket because people don't report theft incidents because the stolen item isn't of high monetary value. This is called petty theft and is how a petty thief can continue stealing because the police are not made aware of their activity.

How To Report A Stolen Laptop Online

Get the world on your case! Here are the steps to create an online Stolen Laptop report for free:

  1. If not yet registered, click the "Register" link at the top right-hand side of the page or click the "Report" button at page top.
  2. Enter your information and click the "Register" button.
  3. Open the email account used for registration, open the verification email and click the link in the email body or copy and paste it in your browser address bar and press the "Enter" or "Return" key.
  4. Log in to the Stolen Lost Found Online website
  5. Click the "Report" link in the main navigation bar or the "Report" button at page top.
  6. Select the appropriate category.
  7. Select the appropriate sub-category.
  8. Select to post as Stolen.
  9. Enter as much information about the Stolen Laptop as possible - the make, model and serial number are especially important. Also helpful are any identifying marks and photos if available.
  10. Click the "Submit" button.

That's it. Once the Stolen Laptop report is submitted it will post on Stolen Lost Found Online immediately and will appear on the search engines within a day. By reporting online you literally make a world of difference for recovering your Stolen Laptop, long into the future.

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