Do you use a laptop at home or in your business? If you do, chances are you store a lot of important data in it, from financial information to sensitive documents, that you need to protect if your laptop is lost or stolen.
Here are some basic steps that you can do to protect the data stored in your laptop from unauthorized access.
Password protect you laptop
A good password is one that is hard to guess but is easy to remember. Here is how you can create a good password:
- Combine letters, numbers, and special characters such as %$* when creating your passwords. You can substitute a number for a letter, like 3 for E or 5 for S. Examples of good passwords are br34kf45T!, t0u3h&go$, and 2hotPi22a$.
- Keep your password’s length at least eight characters long — usually longer.
- Some experts even suggest the use of passphrases instead of passwords. Longer and complicated passwords will make it hard for unauthorized persons to guess them. Example: UnitedWeStand can become Un1t3dW3St4nd.
- Do not use your name, birthdate, zip code, or address as your password.
- Memorize your password, never write it down anywhere.
Encrypt Your Files
Your password can only protect your data against people who are trying to get through it by using your laptop’s programs but not when your hard drive can be accessed directly. This is particularly true in cases of lost or stolen laptops. To solve this problem, you can encrypt your files and folders to protect them. Encryption makes files and folders unreadable to other people who lack the proper credentials such as your username and password.
Follow these steps to encrypt folders and even drives in your computer.
- Right click the drive or folder that you want to encrypt, click "Properties", and click the "Advance" button.
- Tick the box in line with "Encrypt contents to secure data".
- Click "OK" and you’re done.
Use a tracking software
Another way to protect your data, as well as your laptop, is to install software that can track the location of your laptop. The software connects to a central server and send such details as the laptop’s IP address and the name of the Internet Service Provider it is connected to. You can use these data to locate the laptop or to connect and erase the its content.
Examples of tracking software are LoJack, Laptop Cop, Undercover, FrontDoor Software Security, and Prey. Prey is free to use while all the others are commercial software with cost ranging from $30 to $50.