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Apple offers a “Find My Mac” service to track a lost or stolen stolen Mac computer. However, Microsoft doesn’t provide an equivalent service for Windows PCs — not even for tablets running Windows 8.
If you’re using Windows and want the ability to track your laptop should it ever become lost or stolen, you’ll need to install some third-party software. There are many paid services that offer this feature, but there are also good free options.
All such tracking services work similarly. You install a piece of software on your device and set up an account with the service. If you ever lose your device, you go to the service’s website, log into your account, and you can view the device’s location and control it remotely.
Be aware that it will likely be more difficult to track a laptop than a smartphone. A smartphone will probably be connected to a data network and be in standby mode, so it can communicate its location back to you. However, if a laptop is powered off or just not connected to Wi-Fi, it won’t be able to report back to you. A tracking service can offer some additional protection should you ever lose your laptop, but it will be harder to locate a lost laptop than it is to locate a lost smartphone.
Prey offers tracking software for Windows, Mac, and even Linux PCs. Prey also offers tracking apps for Android and iOS, so you could use this one service to track all of your devices.
This service has paid pro plans, but the basic tracking service is completely free. The free service allows you to have three devices linked to your account and store up to ten location reports per device.
After installing Prey, you’ll be prompted to create a new user account or enter your current user account details.
Once you’ve logged in, Prey will immediately be up and running. Prey runs as a Windows service by default. If you want to configure it, you can open the Configure Prey shortcut in the Prey folder in your Start menu’s programs group.
To have Prey check in more frequently so you’ll receive reports more quickly if you ever lose your laptop, select Options for Execution, and modify the Frequency of reports and actions setting.
Tracking Your Lost Laptop
You can now visit the Prey project’s website and log in with the same account details you entered on your computer. You’ll see your computer and any other linked devices.
If you lose your laptop, you’ll need to click its name on your Prey control panel and set the slider from “OK” to “Missing.” Prey only tracks your device when it’s missing, so it isn’t constantly tracking your laptop’s location. Be sure to also enable the Geo feature, which uses your laptop’s internal GPS hardware or the names of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots to report its location.
You can also have Prey perform specific actions, such as setting off an alarm — this is useful if you misplace the laptop nearby. Of course, it’s not as reliable as sending an alarm to a phone, because the laptop must be powered on and connected to the Internet to receive this message and begin the alarm.
Be sure to save your changes afterwards.
Once you’ve set your laptop to missing, its status will become “Tracked, waiting for report.” When the Prey software on your laptop checks in with the Prey server, it will receive a message that it has been marked as lost and generate a report. You’ll only receive an alert if the laptop is powered on, connected to the Internet, and the Prey software is still installed.
There’s an “on-demand” mode where you can request a report immediately, but this feature is unavailable in the free version. If you can wait a few minutes for your report, the free version will work just as well.
Once a report arrives, you’ll see it on the Reports tab. The report includes the information you selected, such as the laptop’s geographic location, its network status and IP address, and a screenshot of the computer’s desktop and webcam capture of its user. This information may help you get the laptop back, or may be helpful evidence when you report the laptop as stolen.
If you don’t want to use Prey for some reason, you may want to try LockItTight, which is also free.
While Absolute Software’s LoJack for Laptops is a paid service, it’s worth a mention because it has the advantage of being integrated into many laptop’s BIOSes, which makes it more powerful and difficult to remove.
Apple offers a “Find My Mac” service to track a lost or stolen Mac computer. However, Microsoft does not provide an equivalent service for Windows PCs, not even for tablets running Windows 8.
If you are a Windows user and want to be able to track your laptop if it is lost or stolen, you will need to install third-party software. There are many paid services that offer this feature, but there are also some good free options.
All of these tracking services work the same. You install software on your device and create an account with the service. If you ever lose your device, you go to the service’s website, log into your account, and you can view the location of the device and control it remotely.
Be aware that it will likely be more difficult to track a laptop than a smartphone. A smartphone will likely be connected to a data network and be in standby mode, so that it can communicate its location to you. However, if a laptop is turned off or just isn’t connected to Wi-Fi, it won’t be able to notify you. A tracking service can provide additional protection if your laptop is lost, but it will be more difficult to locate a lost laptop than it will be to locate a lost smartphone.
Prey offers tracking software for Windows PCs, Macs and even Linux. Prey also offers tracking apps for Android and iOS, so you can use this one-stop service to track all of your devices.
This service offers paid pro plans, but the basic tracking service is completely free. The free service allows you to have three devices linked to your account and store up to ten location reports per device.
After installing Prey, you will be prompted to create a new user account or enter your current user account details.
Once connected, Prey will be immediately operational. Prey runs as a Windows service by default. If you want to configure it, you can open the Configure Prey shortcut in the Prey folder of the program group on your Start menu.
To have Prey check in more frequently so that you can receive reports faster if you ever lose your laptop, select Run options and change the Frequency of reports and actions setting.
Track your lost laptop
You can now visit the Prey Project website and sign in with the same account information you entered on your computer. You will see your computer and all other linked devices.
If you lose your laptop, you will need to click on its name on your Prey control panel and set the slider from “OK” to “Missing”. Prey only tracks your device when it’s missing, so it doesn’t constantly track your laptop’s location. Also, be sure to turn on the Geo feature, which uses your laptop’s internal GPS hardware or the names of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots to report its location.
You can also ask Prey to take specific actions, such as sounding an alarm, which is useful if you misplace the laptop nearby. Of course, this is not as reliable as sending an alarm to a phone, as the laptop has to be on and connected to the internet to receive this message and trigger the alarm.
Make sure to save your changes afterwards.
Once you set your laptop as missing, its status will change to “Tracking, Awaiting Report”. When the Prey software on your laptop registers with the Prey server, it will receive a message that it has been marked as lost and generate a report. You will only receive an alert if the laptop is on, connected to the internet, and the Prey software is still installed.
There is an “on demand” mode where you can request a report immediately, but this feature is not available in the free version. If you can wait a few minutes for your report, the free version will work just as well.
Once a report arrives, you will see it in the Reports tab. The report includes the information you selected, such as the geographic location of the laptop, its network status, and its IP address, as well as a screenshot of the computer desktop and a screenshot. webcam of its user. This information may help you recover the laptop or may be useful evidence when you report the theft of the laptop.
If you don’t want to use Prey for some reason you can try LockTight, which is also free.
While Absolute Software LoJack for laptops is a paid service, it is worth mentioning because it has the advantage of being integrated in many laptop BIOS, which makes it more powerful and difficult to remove.
Losing your laptop or being a victim of theft can have disastrous consequences. There are steps you can take to protect your laptop and prevent a security breach if you were to lose this device.
Besides protecting your device with a password, we recommend using one of the built-in tracking tools offered by Windows and Apple. Enabling these features is quick and easy, and they provide you with a reliable way of tracking a lost or stolen laptop.
Finding a Windows laptop
With Windows 10, Microsoft includes a Find My Device ability for devices using the operating system. Enable this feature to help track your laptop when it goes missing.
Step 1: Go to Update & Security in Settings
Head to your Start menu and type in Settings, then select the Settings option that appears. Once there, look for the section that says Update & Security, and select this.
Step 2: Click Find My Device
Look to the sidebar menu and find the option that says Find My Device and select it. In the window that appears, look for the header that says Find My Device: ___ and see if it says on or off. If it says off, then select the Change button below to turn it on.
Step 3: Sign with Microsoft account.
Whenever you want to locate your laptop, head to the Microsoft account page and sign in with your account information. When you’re logged in to your Microsoft account, select the section labeled Devices. On the Devices page, select the device you want to locate. On your laptop’s page, select Find my device. You’ll then be taken to a page in which Microsoft will give you a map location for your device of where it was last detected, and when it was last detected. On the left side of the screen, if you click on the name of your device, a menu will pop up that may show more information about the laptop’s last known location as well as two options you can select: Find and Lock. Find will let you search for your laptop’s current location, not simply its last known location.
Finding a Mac laptop
On Macs, the tracking feature is called Find My Mac, and it enables you to pinpoint the location of your laptop on a map for retrieval or reporting. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Go to iCloud settings
On your Mac, head to your menu and select System Preferences. Here, go to the iCloud icon: This may require you to log in with your Apple account information if you haven’t already done so.
Step 2: Click on Find My Mac
Review your iCloud features and look for the option to Find My Mac. Make sure the checkbox is selected to enable this feature. If not, check it, and then select Allow when iCloud asks you if you are sure.
Step 3: Go to iCloud.com
Now that the feature is turned on, you can locate your laptop by logging into iCloud.com with your Apple account. Once logged in (you may have to verify that you trust the device you are working on), select Find my iPhone to get started.
Step 4: Find it on the map
You should now be able to find a menu of all the devices associated with your account. Select your MacBook from this list, and iCloud will bring up a map showing you where it is. You can choose to have your Mac play a sound if you want to find it, or display a custom message on the screen, or you can even remotely lock your Mac with a password to prevent access.
Extra tracking and protection apps
The native functions for both Windows and MacOS are fine if you want a quick way to track your laptop. However, they don’t offer a lot of extra security features. If you want enhanced protection, additional software downloads are crucial. You’ll also need to set up a complete tracking program. More thorough defenses are incredibly helpful in case of theft, but possibly overkill in terms of at-home devices. Regardless, we can recommend a couple of options you can use to get started.
PreyProject’s Prey : Prey is a super helpful application where you can add several devices approved for tracking. If you lose one of them, the app will track it for you as well as lock the device. It can also retrieve data, and it can set off an alarm to help you find it. Should it become necessary, you can use Prey to completely clear any and all data from your device—ultimately saving your privacy in case someone else gets their hands on it.
The app can also help track criminals by creating evidence reports that include information on the device’s location. A report can even feature images taken from the device’s camera, which the police can use to help recover your belongings. Prey offers multiple service tiers, but you can track up to three devices for free with the basic package.
Hidden: MacBook users might want to check out Hidden, another impressive tracking app exclusive to MacOS and iOS devices. Its features include location tracking, taking images, logging keystrokes, recording spoken messages, and enabling remote access, to name a few. Hidden lets you remotely manage all information on your devices, including deleting sensitive data. Hidden’s Personal package covers up to three Apple devices at a monthly price of $2.99, or you can protect a single device for only $1.67 a month.
Many of its native functions, apps, and other downloads can help you track any laptop you own. This list features some of the best device tracking services on the market that will protect your computer against your own carelessness or someone else’s maliciousness.
For many of us, our laptops carry important documents, sensitive data and incredibly valuable personal data. One of the worst nightmares to befall us would be to have our laptops stolen. While these days, we keep a backup of our important data in cloud storage and online backup tools, it still sucks to lose hardware we had invested in. Worst still, who knows what these thieves will do to the data that is still inside that stolen laptop.
It helps to take precaution early on, to ensure that if ever your laptop falls into the wrong hands, there is a way to locate it. Below we present 5 of the best apps to help you find your stolen laptop. Do note you have to install these apps before your laptop gets stolen, not after.
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and more.
Price: Free for 3 devices. Paid plans start at $5/month
Prey gives you the tools needed to help you find your devices easily via a web control panel. From there, Prey gives you a timestamp report on the current location of your laptop. You can lock and prevent access to your laptop and also take a candid picture of the thief and what his current session is on the screen.
It also lets you remote wipe your stored pass450-550ords so that the thief can’t abuse your online accounts or banking credentials. Prey is a multiplatform tracking tool that contains many useful features and is available for free for the first 3 devices. For more features, you can consider the paid personal version, available for $5 a month. Prey also offers protection for up to 500 devices in a variety of protection plans.
2. Find My Mac
Available on: Mac OS X, iOS
Find My Mac offers a few more services that Prey doesn’t. If you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, you might want to take a look into the free app, Find My Mac. In order to enable this feature, go to System Preference > iCloud and ensure that the checkbox for Find My Mac is ticked. This is a free service that allows you track your missing devices using iCloud.
Along with tracking your Mac’s location, the app lets you remotely lock your Mac hardware to make sure no one will be able to use it unless they know a passcode which you set. In very extreme cases, you can remotely wipe your Mac, ensuring the safety of your data. Unlike the other apps on this list, you can use this on as many Apple devices as you want.
Available on: Windows
Price: Free for 5 devices. Paid plans at $1.99/mth to $9.99/mth.
The advantage of LockItTight is that it provides tools for you to spy on your would-be thief. With it, you can find their location, screen capture all of their activities (all’s fair when your laptop is stolen), take a picture using the webcam and see his browsing history.
Whatever the thief is doing on your laptop, you will know it. And the more information you get from his activities, the higher chances they will be caught and you can get your laptop back. The app also provides a way to retrieve and/or delete files from your stolen computer, in case you need to get hold of important files that you didn’t create a backup of.
4. Lojack For Laptop
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X
Price: Plans start at USD 14.99/year [30-Day Free Trial]
If your laptop is C-level important, you might want to consider Lojack’s form of laptop retrieval. Lojack is a service that helps you track and retrieve stolen cars; now it has extended its services to laptops, smartphones and tablets as well. Once you have it installed, the software will be locked in the BIOS itself (in compatible laptops) and will not be removed even if the hard drive is wiped out.
In addition to locking and locating your laptop, the company will send out a team of investigators to retrieve your laptop. If they can’t do so in the next 60 days, they will pay reimburse you of up to $1000. How much does this sort of security cost? Plans range from $14.99/year to $39.99/year for two protection options (device or just data), and depending on the type of device you want protected.
Price: Starts at $49.00
Undercover is a Mac-only tracking software, similar to Find My Mac, but with extra features added for extra security. Unlike the other paid options here, this one is not a subscription. You only need to pay once for the license, set it up and your device is protected. It includes the standard features from a paid tracking software such as photo shots and keyloggers. You can also see what the thief is doing on your laptop in real-time.
The software also includes a “Plan B” if all else fails in tracking your Mac. “Plan B” is where Undercover will simulate a hardware failure, rendering it useless and forcing the thief to either take it to repairs or sell it off, increasing the chances that you can track down your laptop. The app starts at $49.00 for a single user license.
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It’s your worst nightmare. Your computing device is lost or stolen – with all of your confidential data. Suddenly, all you can think about is how to get it back. With HP Tracking and Recovery Services, you can.
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When you subscribe to our Tracking and Recovery Services, HP will help you:
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It’s an affordable service. And when you need it most, it’s absolutely priceless – especially if you are subject to regulations regarding the encryption and protection of data.
HP Tracking and Recovery Services are great in combination with:
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Computrace agent is shipped turned off, and is activated with customer purchase of a subscription. Service may be limited. Check with Absolute for availability outside the U.S. The optional subscription service of Absolute Recovery Guarantee is a limited warranty. Certain conditions apply. For full details visit:
www.absolute.com/company/legal/agreements/computrace-agreement. If Data Delete is utilized, the Recovery Guarantee payment is null and void. In order to use the Data Delete service, customers must first sign a Pre-Authorization Agreement and either create a PIN or purchase one or more RSA SecurID tokens from Absolute Software.
Service levels and response times for HP Care Packs may vary depending on your geographic location. Service starts on date of hardware purchase. Restrictions and limitations apply. For details, visit www.hp.com/go/cpc. HP services are governed by the applicable HP terms and conditions of service provided or indicated to Customer at the time of purchase. Customer may have additional statutory rights according to applicable local laws, and such rights are not in any way affected by the HP terms and conditions of service or the HP Limited Warranty provided with your HP Product.
HP services are governed by the applicable HP terms and conditions of service provided or indicated to Customer at the time of purchase. Customer may have additional statutory rights according to applicable local laws, and such rights are not in any way affected by the HP terms and conditions of service or the HP Limited Warranty provided with your HP Product.
Losing your valuable thing such as your laptop can induce stress. You not only lose your laptop, you lose your data, which is more frustrating. Well, locating your devices has become easy with an extensive feature of Windows 10 and of course location services. You can also get hold of your things by using third party software.
In case, you want to keep your laptop safe or want to track your laptop anytime you want, you can read this to know how to make it happen.
To locate your laptop, you need to enable a Windows 10 service to make it possible to locate your device if stolen.
In this post, we have listed how to use Windows’ feature ‘Find My Device’ to locate your stolen or lost laptop along with some of the best tracking software for PC.
In order to turn on location services, follow these steps:
Go to Start Menu and click on it to get to Settings.
Note: Before turning it on, you will be prompted to sign in to your Microsoft account.
To locate your stolen or lost laptop, you need to visit account.microsoft.com/devices. A list of devices which uses Microsoft account will be displayed. If you have the feature turned on any device, you get to know its whereabouts. Click Find My device and you will get the location of your device.
DOES THIS ALWAYS WORK?
The feature does not necessarily work in following conditions:
- The feature will not work if you have logged in to your computer which has domain login.
- If you are not an administrator.
- If your computer is not connected to WiFi.
You can also use third-party laptop tracking software to get in touch with your device. Some of them are:
One of the best laptop tracking software, Prey keeps an eye on your device to ensure safety. It is useful to track your phone, tablet, and laptop. This free tracking software makes it possible to get all the information on the device stolen or misplaced to help you locate it.
Let’s take a look at the features of the device:
- It gathers all the information such as pictures of the person using the stolen device, location, IP address and more.
- You can wipe your data to keep the thief from stealing data.
- You can remotely lock your device to make sure that your files remain untouched.
- If your device is online, you can recover your sensitive data.
Lo Jack is a laptop tracking software which can recover your laptop, phone, and tablet with ease. It is a software that helps you to erase all your data from your computer and protect your BIOS as well. Let’s take a look at the features of the tool:
- Lock access, protect your information on your stolen device.
- Delete your sensitive files and prevent identity theft permanently.
- Locate your device using a combination of WiFi, GPS, and IP geolocation.
LaptopSentry is a computer tracking software which is a combination of a tool with which you can protect your data, prevent identity theft and recover your laptop. Let’s take a look at the features:
- Back up your files online with provided 10 GB encrypted online backup.
- Remotely locks your laptop, encrypt or delete files
- Comes with multiple layers of protection.
- Sounds an alarm when your locked laptop is unplugged from its power source.
Laptop Superhero is one of the best tracking software for PC which helps you locate your stolen or misplaced laptop. Let’s take a look at the features:
- Shows Geolocation of your device.
- Online vault with which you monitor and control n number of installations of the tool.
- Configure Laptop Superhero to shred documents, temporary files, Recycle Bin folders with a lock command.
- Captures a webcam image whenever the device starts up.
Last but not the least, GadgeTrak is a computer tracking software which helps you get a location on your stolen Windows computer. Let’s take a look at the features:
- Uses Wi-fi positioning technology, and pinpoint your laptop’s location.
- Clicks photos of the intruder to know who took your laptop.
- Sends location, images, network information to your computer system.
- Comes with high secured tier 4 facility, which includes on-site armed security around the clock.
So, in this way you can setup Windows laptop tracking in case your laptop is stolen or misplaced manually or with third-party software.
A laptop is a place where we store all the important information both personal and company-related sensitive documents. If god forbid, a laptop goes missing or is stolen anytime; we cannot afford to leak out sensitive information. During such mishaps, if you think that a lock ID or the device passcode can safeguard your valuable data, then you may be wrong as anyone can detach your hard drive and use it in on another system to check your data.
In cases like these, you may want to track the device remotely and remove the important data on the device. While such accidents can happen at any time, it is necessary to plan ahead to take necessary precautions to keep data protected from the prying eyes before such mishaps happen.
To avoid losing your data, you need to enable the feature ahead of time so that you can remotely wipe your hard disk that will make your system pretty much useless for anyone out there. You can track your devices, lock them and remotely wipe the data from the device using Find my device feature from Windows. But unfortunately, this integrated feature is not available for all the Windows versions and works only with Windows 11/10 Pro. However, there are many other third-party software that you can install and configure ahead of time in order to upgrade the security of your private data.
How to remote wipe Windows 11/10 laptop
If your device is lost, you can sign into the software’s website to track your device and wipe your personal data on Windows PC remotely. In this article, we round up some of the best software to remotely wipe your data on a Windows device in case you ever lose it.
1] Turn On Find My device feature in Windows 11/10
Find my device feature is the only available feature currently in Windows 11/10 that allows you to locate the lost or stolen device, lock it and also erase the data remotely. The feature uses your laptop’s GPS coordinates to find the location of your device. Follow the below steps to turn on Find my device feature.
On your Windows laptop, Sign in to your device with a Microsoft account.
In Windows 10, go to Start Menu and click on Settings. Navigate to Update & Security and click Find my device option.
Now change button to turn on the Find my device feature and toggle the switch On to save device’s location periodically.
If you have lost your device, follow the below steps to find your device.
Go to Microsoft’s official site here and sign-in with the same Microsoft account which you used to sign-in to the lost or stolen laptop.
Select your device from the list and click Find my device. You will now see a map with your device location. Select the Bitlocker option from the list of the device.
Turn on the BitLocker to encrypt your entire disk with AES-128 encryption. Your data is now secured, and it will be viewed with only a recovery key.
In Windows 11, you will see these settings here – Open Settings > Privacy & security > Find my device. Remember that you need to be signed in with your Microsoft account.
TIP: Using the Group Policy and Registry values of your Windows 11/10 computer, you can disable this feature permanently so that no user can toggle the Find my Device option in the Settings.
2] Use Microsoft Intune to erase data remotely
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service used for mobile and PC management to secure access to data resources. When your device is lost or stolen, it allows you to selectively remove the data from the Intune managed apps. You can either wipe your laptop selectively or fully by creating a wipe request and then retire your laptop from the Intune managed apps. It is worth mentioning that after creating the wipe request, the data will erase completely once your stolen laptop is turned on and the data is not recoverable. To use Windows Intune to find and remotely wipe your device, you need to first add the device to Intune ahead of time.
Enroll your Windows device in Intune here.
Next, sign in to the Azure portal here. Choose All Services and filter Intune.
Choose Microsoft Intune and select Devices.
Now select the name of your device which you want to wipe remotely.
Click Wipe and hit the Yes button to confirm the wipe request.
Your device will be wiped out within 15 minutes as soon as the stolen or missing device is turned on
3] Use Prey software
Prey is a freemium third-party anti-theft Laptop Recovery software and management platform used for antitheft, data protection and device tracking. It can be used to remotely erase a laptop when the device is stolen or found missing.
To use Prey, you need to configure your device with prey ahead of time. Once you install and configure your device, you can track your device if it’s stolen and remove all the data including documents, cookies, emails, and other local files on the device remotely.
Once you download and install the Prey app, you need to set up your Prey account. On the dashboard, choose the plan that best suits your work. The plan includes both free and paid. The basic plan is free and provides essential protection to track up to 3 devices, and other paid plans are the personal plan, home plan, and enterprise custom plan.
Sign up with your new user account. The prey app is active and continuously tracks your location.
If your device is missing or stolen, log in to Prey’s online panel to track the device. You can choose to either remotely lock or wipe your laptop’s data.
This document is intended as a guide for the University of Florida IT workers who manage laptops and faculty, staff, and students who store sensitive or restricted data on laptops. This guide will describe methods you can use and product solutions you can deploy to protect user’s laptops against physical and data theft. Others are welcome to use this document as a reference, but some particular comments may be specific to within the University of Florida.
What are the Dangers?
Laptops offer great convenience due to their portability. This portability, however, makes them a prime target for thieves. These thieves not only target portable computers for the value of the device itself, but also for the restricted data they might contain. Users who have a documented need to store restricted data on a portable computer need to take extra measures to safeguard that data from unnecessary exposure due to theft or loss. For details on classifying what is and what is not considered “restricted” data, see the UF Data Security Standard
- Ensure that the most up-to-date virus and malware protection products are installed
- Always use a strong password to protect your computer
- Setup a preboot BIOS level or hard drive level password
- Use a password-protected screen-saver
- Avoid leaving your laptop unattended and unsecured
- If leaving your laptop in a hotel room, use the room safe or lock it securely to an immovable object
- When connecting via wireless, use the UF VPN to encrypt your session
- Install laptop tracking software to track your computer if lost or stolen
- If your laptop is lost or stolen, contact the UF Police Department for assistance
Paying attention to the physical protection of your laptop can go a long way to securing both your portable computer and the data you store on it. Consider the following products.
|Kensington||MicroSaver Alarmed Lock||Hardware Lock Alarm||kensington.com|
|Targus||DEFCON 1 Ultra||Hardware Lock Alarm||www.targus.com|
|syfer.nl||Laptop Alarm||PC Software Alarm||www.syfer.nl|
|SlappingTurtle||iAlertU||Mac Software Alarm||slappingturtle.com|
Most computer tracking products install a software agent on the laptop’s hard drive which runs in the background to monitor the computer’s location based on current network settings. Some tracking products simply send e-mail reports to a user-specified e-mail address while others use the Internet to communicate periodically with a central monitoring service, usually hosted by the product vendor. The most advanced of these tracking systems can also make use of cell phone networks, GPS satellite data, or triangulated WIFI signals to communicate a laptop’s location.
Many computer tracking products also include a remote data destruction feature that allows you, in the event of loss or theft, to send a signal back to your laptop to initiate the secure deletion of your restricted data.
One thing to keep in mind, computer tracking software can help in the recovery of lost or stolen laptops, but by the time the computer is recovered, any restricted data stored on the computer may have already been compromised. This solution is good for getting the laptop back but is usually too late to ensure that data has not been exposed.
Individuals can get more information about laptop tracking and purchase software from these and other companies:
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Your laptop computer’s security is your responsibility, whether it is a personally-owned or university-assigned laptop. Due to its unique vulnerabilities, it is imperative you take special precautions when using restricted data with your laptop. To the fullest extent possible, laptop users should be diligent about safeguarding restricted data from unnecessary exposure due to theft or loss.
Data Protection Recommendations
- Limit risk! If you don’t need access to restricted data then don’t store it
- If you must store restricted data on your laptop, use encryption
- When transmitting restricted data over the network, use the UF VPN to encrypt the session
- Install remote data destruction software to ensure secure deletion of restricted data in the event your laptop becomes lost or stolen
Remote Data Destruction
In the unfortunate event that your laptop is ever lost or stolen, a remote data destruction product can help secure restricted data by allowing you to remotely and securely delete all data stored on the machine. Most remote data destruction vendors provide customers with access to a website where authorized users can send a signal, over the Internet, to the software agent installed on the missing laptop which will prompt the agent to initiate a secure deletion procedure and then return the results.
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Encryption offers the best level of data protection. Even if someone gains physical access to your laptop, they won’t be able to decrypt the files to see or gain access to the restricted data stored there. Encryption offers protection by scrambling data using a key, only the owner of the key can decrypt and read the data.
Most products in this category offer encryption at either the file and folder level or, allow you to create encrypted “partitions” which basically mount as virtual drives or, provide whole disk encryption where your entire hard drive is encrypted automatically and access requires preboot authentication.
IT workers who need to deploy an encryption solution across multiple portable devices in their unit should give special consideration to the centralized key management features offered by the product vendor.
There’s no doubt that Surface devices are both light and portable. That’s part of what makes them such great computers for people on the go. Unfortunately, that portability also makes it easy for you to misplace your Surface or for someone else to snatch it while you’re not looking.
So, what can you do about it?
- Be vigilant with your Surface. Don’t flash it in areas that could make you a target for theft and make sure you always put it back in the same spot when it’s not in use.
- You can install some anti-theft tracking software onto your Surface. That way, hopefully, you can find it if it gets lost or stolen.
Find Your Surface: Anti-Theft Software Overview
Anti-theft tracking software is software that runs quietly in the background and send updates to a server regarding your Surface’s location. This allows you to log into the server and see where your Surface has last reported in. A lot of tracking software also give you additional options, such as locking the screen or deleting your files remotely.
Unfortunately, none of these programs are perfect and just because you have one installed, it’s not a guarantee you’ll be able to find your Surface in the event it gets lost or stolen. In addition, the software can only function when the device is turned on AND it has a network connection.
Finally, you should be aware that a clever or knowledgeable thief can probably disable the software, so the device can’t be tracked.
I can hear what’s going on in your head. You’re wondering “But if it’s not a guarantee, why should I bother”, right? The answer is simple: because it’s better than nothing.
You should treat it as a second chance at finding your lost or stolen Surface, nothing more. It’s not always going to work out for you but, it might get you out of a unhappy situation.
OK, now that you know about what anti-theft software is, I’m going to help you sort through the dozens of options by recommending three software for you to consider. The first (Prey) has a free version, so your “second chance” won’t cost you any money.
The second (LoJack) will cost you at least $39.95 USD a year but it’s a good and reputable program that’s been around since 2000. In addition (if you’re in the US, Canada, or Australia) they will (partially) reimburse you if your Surface can’t be recovered – that’s a nice bonus.
While the first two options will work with Windows 8.1 (if you’ve been holding out on upgrading to Windows 10), the third option only works with Windows 10. It’s part of the Threshold 2 update Microsoft just released and brings the same “Find My Phone” functionality that Windows phones have enjoyed for some time.
OK, let’s get started…
Find Your Surface: Prey
The Prey Project (or just Prey) is an open-source and cross-platform solution that offers a free option. It has a lot of great features (some that you would only expect to find in pay-for software), such as the ability to lock the screen remotely.
Are you wondering: “Should I turn off my computer every day?”
To shut down or leave your computer running has been up for debate for as long as the personal computer has been around. Many people leave their computers on for days or even weeks at a time, but is that really a smart choice? There are many benefits to shutting down your computer every day, let’s take a look at a few.
#1 – Extended Lifespan
Even if you use your computer throughout the day and every day, you can help extend the lifespan of your device by shutting down at the end of the night. While it’s true that every computer (both laptops and desktops) will eventually wear out and need to be repaired or replaced, certain parts are more sensitive to being left on for extended periods of time. For example, a laptop’s battery life will significantly shorten after about 300 charge cycles and an LCD panel only has around 15,000 hours (2 years) of use. Also, when a computer is on, it generates heat. Even as the fan runs, this heat is wearing down parts and shortening the life of the computer. For this reason, shutting down your computer after a day’s work could extend your device’s life by months or even years.
#2 – Improved Computer Performance
Have you ever left your computer on for days and noticed that it’s slowing down? It could be for many reasons including random programs hogging resources and fragmented files that are taking up extra processing power. A fresh reboot can help free up resources by shutting down unnecessary programs running in the background and discarding file fragments. Here are some other computer performance problems you may fix or avoid by shutting down every day:
- Driver crashes. Graphics card drivers, printer drivers, monitor drivers and just about any other driver you can think of can crash or malfunction. When you shut off your computer every day, it gives your system a chance to fix those crashes and reboot the driver properly.
- Memory hogs. Sometimes programs get greedy and they begin hogging your memory. When they do this, this can slow down or even freeze your system. When you shut down, your computer system will stop the memory hog from causing problems and give you a smoother and faster experience.
- Wi-Fi malfunction. Wi-Fi is great, but sometimes it just doesn’t work no matter how many times you run the diagnostic tool. When that’s the case, shutting down your computer can help reload the Wi-Fi tool properly.
#3 – Protection From Power Surges
When you leave your computer on 24/7, there’s always a chance that it can get damaged during a storm. Power surges can destroy your computer, cost you financially, and cause you to lose unsaved data or data that wasn’t backed up in the cloud. It’s important to note that while surge protectors will protect your computer from small spikes in electricity, they won’t protect you from large surges such as lightning strikes. And if there is a storm in the middle of the night, any computer left on is vulnerable.
#4 – Save Money
Running your computer non-stop is costing you money. If you’re running the average laptop non-stop, every day, it can cost you as much as $54 a year. If you’re running a law firm and you have four or five of laptops running non-stop this can quickly add up to some serious money. And if you’re running a desktop or laptops that consume more electricity, your costs can increase significantly.
But the cost of electricity isn’t the only concern you should have regarding computers that are left on non-stop. As we mentioned earlier, the cost for repairing or replacing equipment can quickly add up. And since it’s often more convenient to repair computers than replace them, you could end up not getting the longest possible lifespan from your devices.
#5 – Fewer Disruptions
If you’re like most people, your computer is set up to receive notifications. This can become a serious disruption if you’re not working on your computer and need to focus on something else. The noise from the computer can be a distraction when you’re trying think about an important matter, take a phone call, or even conduct a meeting in your office. By shutting down your computer when you know that you’re done with it for the day or at least for a few hours, you can help minimize the number of disruptions you have to endure during your workday.
#6 – Confidentiality
So far, we’ve discussed the technical benefits of shutting down your computer every day; but what about other benefits? As an attorney, it’s important to protect the confidentiality of your client records and when you leave your computer running overnight or when you’re leaving for the day, there’s always a risk that someone can access those files. Confidentiality breaches are especially possible if you walk away from the computer without at least locking your screen with a strong password.
#7 – Schedule Your Shutdown
If you’re a busy attorney, it’s easy to forget to shut down your computer. If you want to avoid putting the health of your system at risk even when you’re too busy to remember to shut down, you can schedule a shutdown. Below are instructions for scheduling a computer shutdown for those people using Windows 10:
- Go to the Windows search bar. You should see a rectangular bar that says “Type here to search.”
- Type “Task scheduler.” Click on the app.
- Clicking Task scheduler will open a window where you schedule tasks for the computer to do.
- Look in the right pane and click “Create Task…”
- Click on the “General” tab and enter the name of your task in the “Name” field.
- Under “Security options” you should select “Run whether user is logged in or not.”
- Now go to the “Triggers” tab and select “New…”
- This will take you to the “New Trigger” window where you can tell the computer when you want to begin doing this new task and how often. You can also tell it when you want it to expire.
- Press Ok.
- Go to the “Actions” tab and click “New…”
- This will take you to the New Action window where you can tell the program what you want it to do. In the “Action” field, select “start a program” from the dropdown menu. In the “Program/script” field, write “shutdown.” Then press OK.
- Go to the “Conditions” tab and specify under what conditions the computer should run the action. Press OK.
- Go to the “Settings” tab and select the following:
- “Allow task to run on demand.”
- “If task fails, restart every.” You will need to set a time limit.
- “Stop the task if it takes longer than:” You will need to give this a time limit.
- “If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop.”
- Press OK.
Once your computer shutdowns are scheduled, it should be easier to extend the life of your device by shutting it down every day.
Nothing puts a damper on a vacation like losing your wallet, laptop, or luggage. This technology will help you keep track of what’s most important.
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We all have that friend who is notorious for constantly misplacing everything they own—wallet, phone, keys, camera. Or maybe that friend is you. While losing something important in everyday life is a hassle, doing so while traveling is especially complicated. A lost or stolen passport can leave you stranded, or a missing suitcase can ruin an entire trip. Luckily, there are a growing number of tracking products to protect your important possessions from thieves, careless airlines, and your own absentmindedness.
Most tracking technology relies on Bluetooth, and Tile is the biggest name in the business. The company launched in 2012, with a series of small devices that attach to items, like keys or a wallet, and connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Tile claims to find six million things every day across 195 countries. Simply push a button in the app and, if your item is nearby, the Tile device attached to the missing object will ring to help you locate it. The most useful aspect of Tile for travel, though, is its large network of users. If you’re out of its Bluetooth range, activating “lost mode” taps into any other phone running the app to crowdsource the location of your item by notifying you of its location when another Tile user passes close by.
Tile’s latest suite of products includes the updated Mate ($25), a small square intended to fit on a key chain that now has a range of 200 feet (up from 150 feet); the Pro ($35), which is similar in size to the Mate but has an extended range of 400 feet and a louder ring; and the brand-new Slim ($30) and Sticker ($40 for two), which are particularly suited to adventure travel. The Slim, a credit-card-size tracker with a range of 200 feet, is meant to lay flat in a wallet, passport holder, luggage tag, or laptop. The Sticker is the smallest of the series and has the shortest range, at 150 feet, but the fact that it’s the size of a coin allows you to attach it to virtually anything you might misplace, like headphones or an electronics charger. Both the Slim and the Sticker are waterproof.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Slim and Sticker come with built-in batteries that aren’t rechargeable. They’re supposed to last for three years, but if you plan to use them frequently, you might be better off with a Mate or Pro, which have replaceable battery units.
GPS and Cell Trackers
If you want better accuracy and range than Bluetooth, consider a GPS tracker. PingGPS makes a waterproof device ($80) that’s around the size of a Tile Mate, but it has built-in GPS and comes with an AT&T cellular data plan. If you misplace something beyond its 90-foot Bluetooth range, the GPS technology will transmit your item’s location via AT&T’s global network. You get 30 days of free use when you buy the unit, after which a data plan costs $6 a month.
Like PingGPS, LugLoc ($50) and Gego ($100) also require a $6 monthly plan, but instead of GPS, they use GSM/GPRS, the global network that cell phones rely on. GSM/GPRS claims to be more reliable than GPS, since items like luggage are often indoors, and GPS needs a direct line of sight to a satellite to work well. Gego is the newer of the two and has a faster 3G connection, but you do need decent cell reception for it to work. To meet FAA and TSA approval, both are designed to shut off while on an airplane. Once your item is off the plane and has been stationary for 12 minutes, you can see its location on a map anywhere in the world. Gego and LugLoc have virtually limitless range and are better for long-distance tracking.
Items with Built-In Tracking
Consider a multi-use product with built-in tracking capabilities. Woolet has a smart wallet with a sewn-in Blueooth locator. Some models will send you a notification if your wallet moves too far away from your phone, say, in the case of someone swiping it from your pocket. Some suitcase manufacturers apply the same technology to bags. Samsonite’s Geotrakr line comes with a built-in LugLoc. And if you’re traveling with your pup, you can even get him his own Fi-Lite tracking collar ($150).
A Low-Tech Tag
For something more affordable than Bluetooth and GPS trackers, Okoban ($10) offers a simple solution. It’s basically a label that attaches to luggage, passports, phones, or anything else you might lose, with a unique ID code that you register with the company. The ID code connects to a system that all major airlines use for lost luggage, called WorldTracer. If your item is found, the code is entered into Okoban’s website, which sends you a notification with the location. Some suitcase manufacturers, like CabinZero, now sell bags with Okoban tags built in (from $60).
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By Whitson Gordon
- March 13, 2018
When your laptop is lost or stolen, you aren’t just out $800 (or more). Your personal information is also accessible to whoever takes it, even if you have a password.
“Unfortunately, a typical password-protected user account does nothing to protect your data,” says Dennis Stewart, a security engineer at CipherTechs. “While the password will prevent someone else from logging into your computer, an attacker can still use other methods to copy files off.” If thieves remove the hard drive and put it into another computer, they have access to any files you have stored on it. In some cases, they can even reset the password on your PC and gain access to your email, passwords and other personal information.
Thankfully, you can protect your data against both of these types of attacks with encryption. “Encryption is a mathematical process used to jumble up data. If important files or whole devices are encrypted, there is no way to make sense of them without the key,” Mr. Stewart said. That means if thieves try to access your information, they’ll find only a jumbled mess unless they have your password, and they won’t be able to simply reset that password if the device is encrypted.
Encrypting your hard drive isn’t some super-technical process that only security experts can perform, either — anyone can do it on his or her computer at home, and it should take only a few minutes to get up and running.
How to Encrypt Your Hard Drive
If you have a Windows laptop, you have a few options. Some Windows 10 devices come with encryption turned on by default, and you can check this by going to Settings > System > About and scrolling down to “Device Encryption.” You’ll need to log into Windows with a Microsoft account in order for this feature to work, but if your laptop offers it, it’s an easy and free way to protect your data.
If your laptop doesn’t support Device Encryption, you can use Windows’ other built-in encryption tool: BitLocker. BitLocker is available only on Professional versions of Windows and above (a $99 upgrade for Home edition users), but it’s incredibly easy to set up. Just head to Windows’ Control Panel > System and Security > Manage BitLocker. Select your operating system drive and click the “Turn On BitLocker” button, following the prompts to create a password that will function as your encryption key. Be sure to store your BitLocker key in a safe place — somewhere not on that computer — in case something goes wrong!
If neither of those is an option, a free program called VeraCrypt can encrypt your entire hard drive, requiring your password when you boot your computer. It’s not quite as simple, straightforward and built-in as Windows’ Device Encryption and BitLocker, but if it’s your only option, it’s worth looking into.
Mac laptops are much more straightforward: All modern Macs (since about 2003) have a feature called FileVault that encrypts your entire system drive. Just open your Mac’s System Preferences, head to Security & Privacy and select the FileVault tab. Click the “Turn On FileVault” button to create a password and begin the encryption process. Store your key in a safe place (not on that computer) in case you ever get locked out.
Thankfully, modern iPhones and Android phones will automatically encrypt your data as long as you use a PIN or password, so you need to worry about enabling the feature only on your desktop and laptop computers. If you have an Android phone with an SD card, however, you can enable encryption for the SD card manually from the Lock Screen and Security settings.
Don’t Forget Your Password
There is one catch to encryption: Your password is much, much more important to remember. Data may be protected from intruders, but it’s also impossible for you to access should you forget your password or recovery key. “If a user forgets or loses their key, they’re out of luck,” says Mr. Stewart. “If a bad actor can’t get at your data without the key, you can’t, either.” Some businesses may grant IT departments a master key, but not all do, and this can’t be done retroactively.
So if you’re the type of person who forgets passwords often, it’s incredibly important you write it down — along with the recovery key you were given when you performed the above steps — and keep it in a safe place. Don’t keep it on the computer you encrypted and don’t keep it out in plain sight — put it in a physical safe that only you can access. And no matter what, always keep a good backup of your data, either on another hard drive (which you should also encrypt) or with a cloud service like Backblaze that keeps your data secure.
When your employees rely on laptops to get their work done, that means that you have to rely on the employee to protect the laptop (and any data stored on it) as they go about their daily lives. And while most employees will be as responsible as possible with your equipment, you may occasionally face losses when laptops are stolen or mislaid. Take a look at the steps that you need to take a soon as an employee laptop goes missing.
Take a Second Look
Have your employee double check any recent locations where they’ve had the laptop.
The first thing that you need to do is ask the employee to retrace their steps and see if the laptop turns up in an unexpected, but safe place. This should be the first step you take in most cases, even if the employee is pretty sure that they’ve looked everywhere. Of course, it’s true that laptops are sometimes permanently lost or intentionally stolen, but it’s also surprisingly common for a person to put their device down in an unusual place, then panic when they can’t find it in its usual place.
If your employee has been on public transit or in a public place with the laptop, it’s also worth having them check with any lost and found departments where the laptop may have been turned in. It’s always possible that some kind person has turned the lost laptop in. If your employee can find the lost laptop by retracing their steps, it can save everyone some hassle.
Alert the Appropriate Departments
Alerting your IT and HR departments quickly can ensure that steps are taken to lock down critical data right away.
Because lost equipment will happen from time to time, it’s important to have a system in place for dealing with it. Your employee should report the loss or theft to their manager. The manager should then involve both the IT department and the human resources department.
It may seem obvious to involve the IT department, as they may be able to track the laptop or disable access to the laptop remotely, but why human resources? Depending on the type of data stored on the laptop, the software your company uses, and other factors, your company may need to disable the employee’s network access temporarily or permanently or provide a new login and password for your employee. These are the kinds of things that an HR department handles when dealing with hirings and terminations, so it makes sense to have them handle it in the event of a loss as well.
If the laptop isn’t recovered, you should also report it as stolen to your local police department. They may be able to recover the device or link the theft to other thefts in the area.
If the laptop is a company laptop, it may be insured by the company, which means that it could be replaced or your company could be reimbursed by the insurance company. But in order for that to happen, you’ll need to locate the appropriate documentation for the laptop, like a purchase order or receipt with serial and model numbers. You may also need a police report if the laptop was stolen.
Laptop data recovery software can help you remotely recover important company data, as well as help you track down the laptop itself. To find out how laptop data recovery software can help protect your company’s sensitive information and expensive devices, Sign Up for Free Trial .
You’re leaving the house—do you know where your gadgets are?
By David Nield | Published Aug 20, 2019 5:30 PM
We all do it. The tap-tap-panic thing. You’re walking down the street on your way home after a long week, thinking how great it is you won’t have to come back until Monday, and suddenly, it hits you. You tap your front pockets, you tap your back pockets, and you panic—you left your phone back at the office.
Whether it’s that or the fact you forgot to pack your digital camera for your latest vacation (something your partner surely won’t let you forget), know that we’ve all been victims of our fast-paced lives. But this is exactly where technology can help.
Today, phones and laptops come with built-in tracking options, so you can use your Google, Apple, or Microsoft account to quickly locate a device before leaving home. And for gadgets with no integrated GPS, such as your digital camera or Nintendo Switch, Bluetooth tags can alert you before you walk out the door without them.
Track your smartphone
With our phones multitasking as jukeboxes, navigators, organizers, cameras, and more, you might think it’d be impossible to not know where your stuff is at all times—but it does happen.
For such occasions—and to help you deal with the cardiac arrest that follows—use your phone’s built-in tracking system. You can find this on Android by opening up Settings, tapping Security, and then Find My Device. This option will allow you to turn tracking on or off and locate other devices linked to your Google account.
To actually see where your phone is, you have three options: You can go to Find My Device on the web, open the Find My Device app on a different Android device—like a tablet—or type “find my device” in the Google Chrome navigation bar while logged into your Google account. The platform will show you a map with your device’s location, but if you need a more specific reference, you can always make it ring, even if it’s in silent mode. You can find Android tablets and Wear OS watches this way as well.
There are other options available depending on the manufacturer and model of your Android phone. Samsung, for example, offers its own Find My Mobile service alongside Google’s Find My Device app. To activate it, go to Settings, tap on Biometrics and security, and then hit Find My Mobile.
Over on iOS, there’s a similar feature called Find My iPhone. From Settings, tap your name at the top, then iCloud, and Find My iPhone to turn location tracking on.
To see where your iPhone is at any time, and make it ring (even if it’s muted) when you’re about to head out, use the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device or go to Find My iPhone in a web browser. These tips work for iPads and Apple Watches as well.
Track your laptop
Sure, laptops are a little harder to lose than smartphones, but it is definitely not unheard of. If you left your MacBook somewhere but are not really sure where, Find My iPhone can help locate it.
Despite its name, this service covers any Apple computer, and with the launch of macOS Catalina and iOS13 in September 2019, the platform will be renamed “Find My” to reflect this. If you go to Find My iPhone on the web, you’ll see all the Apple devices registered under your account—including MacBooks and Macs—and you’ll be able to get them to play a sound to locate them.
To make sure the feature is enabled on macOS, open the Apple menu, then System Preferences, and choose iCloud. There, make sure the Find My Mac box is checked so you can locate your Mac and sound an alert if it’s gotten lost under a pile of clothes or went down the back of the sofa.
In macOS Catalina and iOS13, the process will be similar, but you’ll have Find My apps on both iOS and macOS for enabling tracking and finding out where your devices are. You’ll still be able to access the service via iCloud, too.
Microsoft offers something similar with a service called Find My Device. From the Windows 10 Settings pane, go to Update & Security, and then to Find my device. Make sure the tracking option is turned on if you want to be able to hunt down your Windows laptop in the future.
To locate a device, go to your Microsoft account page on the web, click on a device, then on Find my device, and it’ll show up on a map. Unfortunately, you can’t get your device to make sounds to help you find it, but you can at least check whether it’s at home or some place else so you won’t waste hours searching for it.
Track any device
The options built into Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS can prove useful for working out exactly where a device is, and for getting it to ring when you need to pack it up. But if your device is off or out of juice, these methods won’t work. Needless to say, they’re also not options for gadgets with no built-in GPS.
In cases like these, you can still keep tabs on where your belongings are by attaching Bluetooth trackers to your gadgets. These work for phones, laptops, cameras, and anything else you can stick them to.
These trackers pair with your phone and stay in constant communication with it, so as soon as your phone goes out of a certain range (like when you step out the front door), an alarm will sound. If you don’t want to leave home or the office without your iPad, for example, these trackers are ideal.
Tile tags (starting at $26 on Amazon) are one example. Each model offers different sizes, weights, and detection ranges up to 300 feet (90 meters), so you can pick the right one for each gadget you want to track.
You can also get the Tile app to ping if you leave home without a particular gadget, though this is a Tile Premium ($3 a month) feature.
TrackR Pixels ($34.49 on Amazon for a pack of five) are similar. They only have a range of 100 feet (30 meters), but they’re smaller and cheaper than their Tile competitors. Also, you don’t need to pay a subscription fee to get alerts if you leave the house without a particular gadget in tow.
SpotyPal ($27 on Amazon), is another alternative, and it works the same way as Tile and TrackR tags. It offers a range of 230 feet (70 meters), but is a little chunkier than the TrackR or Tile options.
David Nield is a tech journalist from the UK who has been writing about gadgets and apps since way before the iPhone and Twitter were invented. When he’s not busy doing that, he usually takes breaks from all things tech with long walks in the countryside.
Losing your phoneвЂ”or worse, having it stolenвЂ”is stressful. But it’sВ a real risk and canВ happen to anyone. In fact, according to Asurion data, 7.6 millionВ phones were lost or stolen in 2020вЂ”that’sВ nearly 21,000 phones a day.
If your mobile phone suddenly disappears, use these tipsВ to help protect your data and hopefully recover your device quickly.
7 steps to follow if your phone is lost or stolen
Step 1: Call your phone or use your carrier’s mobile app to send an alert
Start simple: use another device to call your mobile phone. This step is trickier if you had your phone on silent, but sometimes it’s on a hard surface and you can hear it vibrate, soВ it’sВ worth a try. You can also use your carrier’s mobile app to override your ringer settings and sound an alert.
StepВ 2: Text your cell phone
If you have text messages set to display on the lock or home screen, this easy trick can help a good Samaritan get your phone back to you quickly. Text your mobile phone to provide instructions on how to reach you, just in case someone finds it.
StepВ 3: UseВ your phone’s built-inВ find my phoneВ feature
Your phoneВ hasВ built-in security measuresВ that allowВ you toВ track, ring, lock, or erase it remotely, if you have the feature enabled. On a Samsung device,В the featureВ isВ called Find My Mobile; on Google Pixel,В В Find My Device; and on an iPhone, you’ll use the Find My app. To check to see if the feature is enabled on your device and to learn how to use it, read more in our guides toВ how to find your lost Android phoneВ andВ how to find your lost or stolen iPhone.
Step 4: Remotely erase the data from your phone
If you’re fairly certain your smartphone was stolen, you should remotely delete the data from yourВ deviceВ to keep your information safe, and you should do it as soon asВ possible.В Sophisticated thieves may remove SIM cards or use special boxes that shield mobile phones from cellular networks, making it impossible for you to wipe the device if you delay.В
On an Android device:В GoВ toВ android.com/findВ and sign into your Google account for the option to remotely erase your device.В
On an iPhone:В Go toВ icloud.com/find В and use theВ Find My iPhone feature toВ erase the data onВ your phone.
Step 5: Lock yourВ phone & change passwords
If your cell phone can’t be located quickly, use your phone’s find my phone feature toВ remotely lock your phone from any location. Also, be sure to take this opportunity to change the passwords on any accounts youВ regularly accessed or had an app for on yourвЂ”especially financial accounts, email, and social media, just in case.
Step 6: Contact your mobile carrier
If you’ve had no luck locating your device, after erasing and locking it remotely, reach out to the carrier for your consumer cellular plan. They canВ disableВ service to your phone, and can typically mark the phone itself as unusable even with a new SIM card or new carrier. This not only helps protect you, but someone who may unknowingly purchase a used phone that’s been stolen.
Step 7: Alert the police
You may or may not get your phone back, but youВ could potentiallyВ need a police report if you have to protest fraudulent charges made with your device.В
Will insurance cover my lost or stolen phone?
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In case your laptop has been stolen or misplaced due to some reasons, there is not much you can do about it. But still, you don’t have to lose your hope as there are few solutions and here we will discuss How To Track A Stolen Laptop With A Serial Number.
You can track a stolen laptop if you remember its serial number. While it is reasonable that a portion of the events in the present condition happen so quickly that they may not be controlled, but with the right help, you can follow procedures to get back your stolen gadget.
This article centres around how to follow a stolen laptop or track it down using its serial number. There are few solutions to try.
Track Stolen Laptop Using with serial number or Mac Address
The MAC address of your Best Laptop Thermal Paste is comprised of six sets of two figures that are held together by hyphens. This is also called as a serial number, and you must remember this just in case any incident happens. To see where it is, go to utilities and start the terminal app.
You can also make use of “Command + Shift + U”. It displays all the network interfaces along with their MAC address. A decent chance of recovery of your laptop is by contacting your network administrator. But in case you haven’t registered your device on a central network, it’s useless.
But if you did register the device, getting in touch with the network administrator is necessary so that your laptop can be marked to be traced or for monitoring.
- Informing the network administrator about your stolen laptop gives them a heads up that the device is no longer in your hand, and they can trace it when a change in IP address is observed. They would be able to see where the connection is coming from.
Finding A Windows Laptop
To search and find a Windows laptop, it’s easy as Microsoft has the Find My Device tool embedded in the latest Windows. This feature uses the operating system of your laptop and starts tracing its location from the day it gets missing.
How Can You Track The Laptop?
To track your laptop, you have to log in to the device with a Microsoft account from which your Find my device feature will start working. Here is how you can do it.
- Go to Start and select Accounts.
- Click your account and go to ‘update and security in the settings tab.
- If your information is displayed, then you’re on. If not, you need to log in.
- When the update and security option loads, search and click on ‘Find my Device’ on the sidebar menu.
- Turn it On to be sure that you need a Windows 10 operating system to gain access to a Microsoft account.
- Use your existing Microsoft account to log in and go to the Devices tab.
- Select the stolen or missing device option, and click on find my device.
- In case your device is not powered on, it will be hard to track; otherwise, you need an active internet connection to get its accurate location from GPS.
- Through this, you can start tracking your stolen laptop in case if it’s on and being used somewhere.
This was a discussion about how to track stolen laptop with a serial number. The discussion included an easy guide for you that you can look upon losing your laptop. For more details or questions, there is a box given below for comments.
Q#1: Can You Track A Stolen Laptop With Serial Number?
Ans: Undoubtedly, your serial number can’t find your gadget’s exact location, but you can call your supplier or provider to tell them regarding the robbery so that they can track it down. They can, without much of a stretch, connect to the location of the gadget immediately in case if it’s powered on. Some client care services from the providers collect a serial number of a laptop when you sign in with a complaint grumbling about your stolen laptop.
Q#2: Is it possible to track a stolen laptop?
Ans: Yes, it is possible to track down a laptop in case if it’s linked to Microsoft account or if you remember its serial number. The network provider can trace it for you using its serial number, or you can use Microsoft’s find my device tool to track your laptop with your account.
Whether your laptop has been stolen or you have simply misplaced it, it can be a scary circumstance to find yourself in. After all, laptops carry many of our personal lives in them. They hold valuable information such as our bank numbers and financial information. They also have more sentimental things saved in them: pictures of loved ones we will never retrieve or the novels we will never be able to finish. Luckily, there are several ways to track your lost or stolen laptop.
Each method is varied, and there is almost certainly a way to track it, regardless of your circumstance. But keep in mind, both these methods are such that you need to implement from before such a mishap happens.
Let’s take a look at the two simple ways that I have been talking about in the headline…
Do note, if you did not have a software installed or/and don’t know how to track/trace IPs then its best to file a police report and follow-up with authorities.
Method One: Use a Good Tracking Software
The most effective and sometimes expensive way to help you track your lost or stolen laptop is to install a good tracking software on the device before you actually misplace it.
I am not going to talk about iCloud or even Android Device Manager, because they are too specific and don’t cater to the mass laptops running Windows.
Also, the below mentioned softwares are something that you need to have on your laptop BEFORE an accident happens, not after!
Absolute Home and Office
Absolute will allow users to remotely locate your laptop via WiFi geolocation. WiFi geolocation uses the WiFi Positioning System (which is essentially a massive database of Wi-Fi access points) to discover the last place(s) your laptop was connected to the internet. Software that uses this technology is extremely handy when hoping to hunt down your laptop. The Basic version will help you locate, lock and delete sensitive information on your device. The Standard version will help you locate, lock, delete and recover your device and if you upgrade to Absolute Premium you are guaranteed laptop compensation if they are unable to retrieve your lost/stolen laptop.
There is also Prey which allows free and paid installation for Windows, iOS, Mac, Android and Ubuntu. They have different plans for Education, Enterprise and Individuals. Their Personal Plan for individuals covers tracking 3 devices, and providing device security and data protection while their free plan only covers tracking down the devices.
HiddenApp helps individuals, families, businesses, and organisations keep their mobile devices, tablets and even laptops and the data they contain secure and recoverable in the event of loss and theft. With HiddenApp you can protect Apple Macs, iPads, and iPhones, as well as Windows PCs with our simple and easy to install solution.
There is also Front Door Software which offers different plans for personal use, universities / schools and Business / Enterprise.
For a business solution, we also recommend EXO5 –
There are a few more solutions out there that should be listed here but we will cover those more extensively at a later stage. Let’s take a look at method number two to track a laptop.
Method Two – Gmail IP, Dropbox Sync and Social Media
Many people do not know this, but it is possible to track the IP address of your device through many popular apps and services like Gmail and Dropbox. For those of you who don’t understand tech lingo, an IP address is sort of like your address on the internet. It is a unique indicator to your internet device that can be tracked and located.
When you want to track your lost or stolen laptop, hunting down the various IP addresses it may access is the most straightforward way to do it. To track these sessions, simply go into the settings of your favourite, most frequently used sites from another laptop or device, and check the latest login sessions.
If the robber has opened your laptop then the chances are your Dropbox has made an automatic sync (if there is internet) and your Gmail has refreshed to download new emails.
These sessions usually have IP addresses associated with them, which will help you find your lost or stolen laptop. Dropbox is great for this because it syncs your information in the background, so it is technically constantly logging in.
Gmail is great if you are tracking a thief because they will often times scroll through your mail to find private information. Facebook has a specific tab for login locations, which should make tracking your laptop that much easier from there.
If you have a Macbook, you can also use iCloud to track it down. The function is similar to the Find My iPhone app that also works through iCloud.
As you can see, losing your laptop isn’t the end of the world because there are simple ways to help you locate and retrieve it. Tracking software is by far the easiest, but for those who want to proactively seek out their laptops, or just can’t afford the software, tracking the IP is an equally effective alternative.
Password autofill capability saves millions of users’ time and effort by helping them avoid the trouble of re-entering their passwords each time. However, this also means that anyone with access to your computer may be able to sign into your accounts using your stored passwords. To address this concern, we have device password authentication before autofill(a.k.a Primary password), a feature that can ensure that not everyone can use your saved passwords to log into your websites.
Now instead of your device password, you may choose to authenticate yourself with a custom password that you have created. This will mean that even in case of a shared device, only you – the creator of the custom password – will be able to use autofill to log into your accounts.
To create a custom password,
Go to edge://settings/passwords.
Under Sign in, select with custom primary password. You’ll be asked to authenticate using your device credentials.
After authentication, you’ll see the below dialog.
Enter and re-enter your custom password as instructed. This has to be minimum 4 characters long and can contain any combination of alphabets and numbers. Make sure you choose a combination you will remember, as this will not be saved in your computer.
From the dropdown, select the frequency you want:
Once every session
Some important information
This custom primary password is local to a specific computer only. It will not sync to your other devices, which means you will need to set up a custom password on each of your devices separately.
There is no way to recover your custom password if you lose one; hence it is strongly recommended that you Turn on Sync, at least for your data that you don’t want to risk losing access to.
In case you forget your custom password, you’ll need to delete your profile, clear all app data on your computer and again Sign-in and turn on Sync for your browser.
Caution: This capability does not offer protection against motivated attackers, any malware of keyloggers installed on your device will still be able to read your passwords. Also, please turn on sync for your data so that you have a backup available in case you ever lose or forget your custom password.
Custom password recovery steps
Go to Settings > Profiles
For your profile. Choose the . and select Delete to clear your data.
Select Remove Profile
Sign-in using your Microsoft account again and turn on Sync. Data from your Microsoft account will be synced back to this device momentarily.
You can also at any point choose to Change or Remove your custom primary password.
Click on the blue text that says Change primary password.
You will see the following dialog
Enter all the details as instructed and choose Change. You’ll get a confirmation message saying your primary password has been changed.
Remove custom password
To remove your custom primary password, select either of the two other options under Sign in (i.e., either Automatically or Using device password). After you select either of the options, you’ll see:
Confirm using your primary password, and upon successful authentication, your setting will change to the chosen option. Also, note that your custom primary password has now been removed from your profile. So, if you want to use that option again, you will need to set it once more.
Tip: Using a relatively short custom password (anything beyond the minimum 4-character length will help you complete the authentication step faster and will be a time saver, especially if you need to do this several times a day.
If you ever discover that your Android smartphone or iPhone has gone missing, don’t panic! Today’s smartphones come with built-in technology that will help you locate them if they’re misplaced, and even secure them if they’re truly lost.
For Android users, the Find My Device feature is available as an app, or can be used from a web page. You’ll need to have set up a Google account, and be signed into it, to use the service. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to use the app or web page to see a map with your registered devices automatically displayed.
If your device is nearby, you can tap Play Sound to ping the phone—just follow the sound to see if it leads you to your device. Even if the device is not in your immediate area, the ping may alert a good Samaritan who can pick it up and keep it safe for you. If your device isn’t nearby, you can tap Secure Device to lock it so no one can access it, and even add a message and phone number for anyone who does find it so that person can contact you.
Those with Samsung phones have an additional option. You can also track down a lost device via a special feature called Find My Mobile. To set this up on your Samsung device, go to Settings. Tap the setting for Security or Biometrics and Security, then select the setting for Find My Mobile. Then, if your device is misplaced, you can use the website to display its location or secure it.
iPhone users who’ve updated their operating system to iOS 13 or higher can use Apple’s Find My iPhone feature, which lets you use any iOS device to track down a missing phone and protect its data. To enable it, go to Settings, then tap your name, tap Find My, and finally tap Find My iPhone. Slide the toggle switch to the right to turn the feature on.
You can use Find My Phone on any other iOS device (like an iPad) to spot your missing phone on a map, and if it’s nearby, play a sound to identify where it is. You also have the option of activating Family Sharing so you can use another family member’s Apple device to find your own. If you can’t find your phone, simply tap Activate in the section for Mark as Lost. This mode lets you lock your phone so no one else can access it, and displays your contact information in case someone finds it.
Whether your smartphone gets left under a couch cushion, in a friend’s car, or at restaurant across town, you have the tools you need to find it and keep it secure.
Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives these days, and with the arrival of the novel coronavirus pandemic over a year ago, we’ve become more attached to our devices than ever before. This is why it is perfectly normal to feel a sense of dread or panic when you cannot find your smartphone after checking all your usual places. Just the thought of replacing your expensive smartphone can be daunting, just imagine the disappointment of losing the data and memories that are there. But before you give up on your lost smartphone, here are a few tips to try if you have an Android smartphone or an iPhone.
Track your smartphone using the IMEI number
Every smartphone comes with a (International Mobile Equipment Identity) IMEI number which is a unique 15-digit number that identifies each phone. If you have lost your smartphone, the first thing to do it notify the authorities, in order to get a document to show you have lost the device. This is important in case your device is misused after you have lost it. Users can then visit the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) website, a service developed by the Government of India in association with the Delhi Police, the Department of Telecom (DoT), and the Center for Development Telematics (CDOT). Users can block a stolen or lost smartphone using this portal, then unblock it when the device is found. Blocking a lost or stolen smartphone means it will be blacklisted and unable to connect to any network until it is unblocked. The service is currently available for residents of Maharastra and Delhi, according to the CEIR website.
Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.
How to use Google Find My Device to track your smartphone
The first thing to try if you have an Android smartphone is to visit Google Find My Device by visiting android.com/find and log in using your Google Account. Remember, this must be the primary Google account on your phone, the one that was linked to your phone. If you have an Android tablet, or another smartphone, you can also download the Find My Device app from the Google Play Store. You can then locate your phone (if it is still on) and then send an alert to the phone with a message informing the finder about the owner. You can also ring your phone remotely, in case you lost the device at home. If you believe the finder does not intend to return the phone, you can also choose to erase the device completely using the Find My Device service.
How to track your iPhone using Apple’s Find My service
Just like the Android service, Apple offers a Find My service to look for devices that are misplaced. You will need to sign into iCloud after visiting icloud.com/find and then click on the device you want to track. If you had previously enabled Find My on your device, it will be shown here, and you can ‘Mark as Lost’ to lock it with a passcode and disable Apple Pay on the device, while showing a custom message with your contact details. You can also remotely erase the device, but once you do so, you will no longer be able to search for the device. These features are also available on any Apple device that has the same iCloud account logged in.
Tracking a lost Samsung smartphone using the built-in service
With Samsung’s built-in device tracking feature, users are able to lock their phone remotely and then show a message on the lock screen. Like Apple, Samsung also lets you disable your cards remotely, and you can also prevent the phone from being shut off which is very handy. Then, you can use it to track the location and send you updates every 15 minutes on a map. However, there is no app and users will have to visit findmymobile.samsung.com in order to track their devices. Once you get your device back, you can log right in and continue using the device as if it was never lost, although it might be a good idea to factory reset the device once, just to be on the safe side.
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There’s nothing worse than losing a laptop or having it stolen. But if you enable this feature right now, you can easily track down your laptop in the future.
There’s nothing worse than discovering you’ve lost your laptop or had it stolen. Fortunately it has become easier to locate misplaced devices thanks to location services, and Windows 10 comes with some great security features including the ability to locate a missing laptop.
But you have to turn it on before your laptop is stolen!
- Go to Settings >Update & Security >Find My Device.
- If you already have location services turned on, go to step 3. If you don’t, you’ll see a link: Turn on location settings to use this feature. Click the link. This will take you to the page for location settings. Under Location for this device is off click Change, and toggle the feature on. (You can reach this page by going to Settings >Privacy >Location.) Go back to the Find My Device tab.
- Under Find My Deviceis off click Change and toggle the feature on. You may be asked to log in to your Outlook account if you haven’t already.
To check the location of your device, go to account.microsoft.com/devices. You’ll see a list of devices that use that Microsoft account. Any device with the feature turned on will include information on when and where the device was last seen. Click Find my device and you can see its location on a map.
To see this process in action, check out the video below:
Some caveats to remember:
- This feature does not appear to work with laptops that require a domain login. So if you’re using a work or school laptop, this feature is not available to you.
- You have to be logged in as an administrator to turn this feature on.
- The feature also only works when your computer is connected to WiFi. The location is updated periodically as long as the machine is online.
What do you do to protect your devices from potential theft? Let us know in the comments.
Considering using a VPN but unsure about subscribing? Here are five big name VPNs all with free trial guarantees and offers.
Nancy is a writer and editor living in Washington DC. She was previously the Middle East editor at The Next Web and currently works at a DC-based think tank on communications and social media outreach.
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- How to Delete Data from a Stolen Laptop
How to Delete Data from a Stolen Laptop
With laptop thefts on the rise, businesses need to know how to keep their data safe and secure. Data breaches are a reality these days, and businesses of all sizes stand to suffer in equal measure.
There is nothing much that you can do if one of your employees loses his or her laptop. Apart from cautioning them to be more careful in the future, you also need to do something that ensures your company’s information does not fall into the wrong hands. It is vital to know how to delete data from a stolen laptop if you want to keep your company information safe.
How secure is your company laptop?
If you are in business, then using laptops and other mobile devices is inevitable. Also, with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend increasing by the day among companies, laptop and other mobile device security should be of paramount importance to businesses of all sizes.
Companies have to share information with their partners, suppliers, and customers, both within and outside of their offices. It is, therefore, important that businesses understand the importance of document management so that they can keep their proprietary content safe and secure from prying eyes.
Another measure that you should be using is encrypted security solutions . Encryption is one of the best ways that can ensure the security of your laptop. If your laptop uses data encryption, there are chances that your data will remain safe even if it is stolen. Also, laptop encryption tools these days are mature and readily available.
One of the most important aspects in data protection is to provide adequate training to employees on how to safely use their mobiles and laptops. Our blog post – “ What You Need to Know Before Your Company Adopts BYOD ” – covers the main security issues that should be addressed in establishing company policy regarding the business use of employees’ own devices.
If the worst occurs, and an employee’s laptop is stolen, performing a remote wipe before the thief can access data can help prevent a security breach.
What is a remote wipe?
Essentially, a remote wipe is a software solution or system capability to remotely delete and wipe out data on a system or device. Features like remote wipe are part of comprehensive data security management systems, which solve data breach problems that can occur due to not following BYOD policies or other security gaps in distributed company computing networks.
Data wipe is the method whereby stored data on a device gets deleted and destroyed using mobile access in the framework of mobile device management. But to protect your laptop and other mobile devices, you need to ensure that you set up remote wipe before the device is stolen so as to protect your personal and company information. Once a device is lost, it is not possible to wipe devices or deploy endpoint management easily.
Personal information data deletion is triggered once a remote erase command is executed from a remote system endpoint. The remote delete command can erase all the data on a device, or it can specifically target company-specific data.
Data and device wipe are useful techniques because when unauthorized access occurs in a device or system, it allows device administrators to initiate a factory reset easily and restores factory settings remotely.
When it comes to remote wiping, you have the option to either lock the device or erase the data. When dealing with lost devices, many businesses prefer to remote lock the device where the screen gets locked, preventing access to the device. Here the information remains on the device, but access to unauthorized users is denied. The other option is to remote wipe the stolen device. Between the two, it is always more prudent to remote wipe a stolen device rather than just locking it down.
If your laptop is stolen, you can use ‘Retire’ or ‘Wipe’ action to delete your company data and send the device back to factory reset mode. Microsoft provides a complete set of instructions on performing these actions – and others.
When you send a Wipe command, it restores a device to its factory settings. You have the option to keep the user data on the device if you select the Retain enrollment state and user account checkbox. If this checkbox is not selected, the Wipe command can erase all the apps and data on the device.
But you need to remember the Retain enrollment state, and user account option is not available on all the Windows laptops. It is available for Windows 10 version 1709 or later. When the device connects to Intune after the Wipe command, MDM policies will be reapplied. The Wipe feature can only function if the device is on and connected.
When you give a Retire command, it removes managed app data (where applicable), settings, and email profiles which were assigned by using Intune. The device gets removed from the Intune management, and this happens when the device next time checks in and receives the remote Retire command. A Retire command does not remove the personal data of the user. The Retire feature can only function if the device is on and connected.
You need power and a network connection to remote wipe – As Wipe is a command that is given to a device, the device needs to be turned on and connected to a network so that it can receive the command. You need to know that if the device is switched off, you cannot remote wipe the device.
Remote wipe has many options – There are many options available for a remote wipe. You can remote wipe the device and send it back to the factory reset mode. Also, there is an enterprise wipe option where only the company data and application get deleted from the device, and personal data is not touched. Another option is KeepAlive, where complete device reset happens automatically if the device goes missing for too long.
It is not possible for you to opt-out of it – If your laptop or mobile device is company-owned, or even in case of BYOD, your company will have some level of erasure capability to wipe your device.
Fortunately, overcoming the challenges of BYOD does not need to overwhelm your organization. DocuServe has the industry experience and solutions to protect company data in the BYOD work environment, keeping employees productive without risking data loss. Our eServe encryption solution provides content security in the cloud, mobile access, security at rest and in motion, encrypted data security, remote wipe and much more.
Contact us to learn how DocuServe can be the ideal solution for your company’s move to the brave new BYOD world.
Here are ten quick and easy steps that you can take to increase the security of your laptop.
To make things easy, I’ve summarized these steps in an infographic! I also broke this post down into the following three sections so you can focus on what matters to you most:
- Essentials steps: This section groups together the four steps everyone should perform to ensure that their laptop is keeping their data safe.
- Protect your privacy: This section lists the steps you can take to enhance your laptop privacy protection.
- Increase your security: Three additional steps to further protect your laptop from theft and other physical events.
Require a password when logging in
The most important step for securing your laptop and preventing other people from accessing your files without permission is to require a login password. Make sure to create a password that is difficult to guess, so don’t use your birthday, your cat’s name, or the name of a loved one. Here is how to automatically disable the login on start on macOS.
Use a password-protected screensaver
To ensure that people can’t swoop in and snoop if you’ve left your laptop unattended for a few minutes, make sure that the screensaver starts automatically and requires a password to exit. Here is how to do this on a macOS and a Windows PC.
Encrypt your hard drive
Protecting your laptop with a password is not enough to prevent an attacker from accessing your files. If your laptop is stolen or the attacker has a lot of time, he can remove the hard drive and read the files directly. To prevent this and to protect your data from physical attacks, encrypt your laptop’s hard drive. Here is how to do this on a macOS and a Windows PC.
If you want to go even further, consider adding a second factor to your disk encryption. It’s not something I personally do, but a few friends have had success with it on Linux.
Backup your data
From ransomware attacks to stolen laptops, backing up your data is essential to ensuring you will not lose what you hold dear. You can go with either a local backup or a cloud backup.
On macOS, Apple offers the Time Machine feature that can be used for local backups (don’t forget to encrypt your backup!). On Windows, you can use the backup utility Microsoft provides or a more user-friendly application, such as the popular EaseUS Todo Backup.
For remote backups, every major cloud service (Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive , Backblaze) provides its own tool. If you want backup software that encrypts the backup before sending it to your favorite cloud service so that it can’t read it, then I recommend the one I use: Arq.
Keep your system and software up to date
The best way to keep your laptop malware-free is to not download random things (e.g., a weird Flash update) and to keep your software up to date. Modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have auto-update enabled by default, but you still need to restart them from time to time. Make sure to turn on auto-update for your operating system and apps to benefits from the latest security patches (here is how to do it for macOS, Windows 10 by default do it.
Protect your privacy
Add a privacy screen
Shoulder surfing attacks are more common that you would think. Humans are curious by nature and will naturally glance at your screen whether you’re at a coffee shop, the library, or on a plane. To prevent shoulder surfing attacks and increase your privacy, add a privacy screen that limits the viewing angles.
Over the years, I have tested quite a few models, and overall I think the 3M Gold Privacy Filter is the one that is best at restricting viewing angles while retaining the luminosity needed for looking at the screen.
Add a webcam cover
There is probably nothing worse for privacy than a RAT (Remote Administration Tool), like the infamous DarkComet, which turns on your camera to spy on you. While in theory the LED next to your camera should always be on when the camera is on, in practice hackers have found a way to disable it both on Windows and MacOS.
The only bulletproof option to keeping voyeurs at bay is to add a physical cover on top of the camera that you can remove as necessary. I’ve tested many covers over the years, and the one that I like best, due to its quality and compactness, is the Spyslide one that was funded on Indiegogo. It fits perfectly on my MacBook—I am considering putting one on my iPad and phone as well.
Use a virtual private network
Further increase your security
Fasten your laptop with a Kensington cable
If you share an office or leave your laptop unattended in (semi-)public places, you can greatly reduce the chance of your laptop being stolen by tying it to the table using a Kensington table. If you use your laptop only in trusted places or never let it out of your sight, then these cables aren’t necessary.
Set up location finding
Enabling a location-finding service can be a great help if you ever lose your laptop, either because you are distracted or it is stolen.
Remotely finding your laptop poses a (slight) privacy risk, as these services can track you. Therefore, it is a personal decision that is a trade-off between how much you value your laptop and how comfortable you are sharing your location. I personally don’t use it, but quite a few people have had success with this kind of software.
Prevent damage by adding a cover
Last, but not least, you can add a cover to reduce the risk of your laptop being damaged if it falls or is bumped. I personally use a DecalGirl cover, shown in the photo above, to prevent scratches and to customize the look of my laptop. After testing, I find that this brand is better than the GelaSkins one I used previously.
Note: I don’t use a hard case, as I always carry my laptop in a backpack that has a built-in pouch. If this is not your situation, then a hard case might be more suited for you.
As we saw, taking a few simple steps can go a long way toward protecting your privacy and making your laptop more secure To make things even easier, I’ve created an infographic that summarizes them.
If you find this advice useful, don’t forget to share this post or the infographic on your favorite social networks so your friends and colleagues can also better protect their laptops.
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