In light of recent events, including the theft of three laptops from Olin on Tuesday, I’ve begun toiling over the idea of being suddenly separated from my baby. And by baby I mean my Macbook. I mean, how would I write my essays or gather sources for my research paper if somebody swiped my laptop? Do you know how many sentimental photos and unreleased hip-hop singles I’ve got on there? Too many to count. That’s why we should seriously consider beefing up the security on our prized (and pricey!) possessions. While some of these serious tips might be more expensive than others, a $30 lock or app is a lot cheaper than the cost of replacing a $1000 laptop. So let’s get down and dirty with 5 ways to make your laptop virtually theft-proof.
1. Physical Computer Lock – Much like a bike lock deters thieves who stupidly forgot their bolt-cutters at home, laptop locks are a great way to foil the casual laptop swiper. This Kensington Combination Lock, for example, can be attached to your laptop’s built-in security slot (aka the inconspicuous hole next to your DVD drive) and tethered to a nearby table leg.
2. Put A Burglar Alarm On It – There’s just something about walking away from your Jetta, pressing the lock button on your keys, and hearing the comforting *chirp chirp* sound that tells you that your alarm is armed. Wouldn’t it be cool if your computer could do that? With the free Lockdown app for Mac, you can! After customizing your settings, just set the alarm and your Mac will start blaring a siren as soon as its moved, unplugged or picked-up. The alarm can be deactivated with either a super-secret password or the simple click of your Apple Remote (although honestly– who actually has one of those?). Just make sure not to set the sensitivity too high, ohterwise you might come back from your potty break to find your precious MacBook smashed to pieces by a frustrated third-floor Olinite who accidentally bumped the table.
3. Disguise It – Try channeling your inner-artist (and drug smuggler) by dressing-up your laptop to look like a boring old everyday object that nobody would ever consider stealing. Like a comic book! Or a riveting autobiography! If you’re feeling lazy, why not invest in one of these cases that can disguise your laptop as a leather book or manilla envelope? Sneaky, sneaky!
4. Install A Theft-Recovery App – In the event that your laptop does get stolen, you’re pretty much shit out of luck. But if you happened to install an app that tracks missing laptops beforehand, your chance of recovery increases by as much as 75%! Prey, a free piece of software for both Macs and PCs, is able to track your stolen laptop using GPS coordinates and a whole bunch of other goodies. If you want to step your security up to secret-agent status, LoJack for Laptops (Mac/PC, $30 a year) and Undercover (Mac, $39.99) not only track your laptop, but also log keystrokes, snap discreet screenshots, and even webcam photos of the perpetrator that allow to to gather ample evidence for the police to take advantage of.
5. Common Sense – It’s always worth reiterating that the easiest and safest way to protect your laptop is to keep it with you at all times. If you have to leave it unattended, ask a buddy to keep an eye on it while you’re away. Sticking it in a backpack is way smarter than leaving on the table. Oh my god I totally sound like your mom right now.\