Carrying your laptop is like carrying your office with you. Indeed, it helps to lock it away when you are not using it. These days, most notebooks come with a locking port that connects to cable locks to secure your machine.
And if your laptop doesn’t have a locking port, but has a VGA connector, you can secure it with the Defcon Video Port Key Lock ($30; approx. Rs1,100) from Targus (www.targus.com). The device attaches a locking cable to any VGA port.
Essentially a galvanized steel cable with high-quality key lock, the device is designed to fit video ports. The VGA port key lock is suitable for most laptop computers with standard D type VGA ports.
Buy your security
A number of companies in the market, such as Kensington, PC Guardian and Targus, offer products for physically securing your PC to a desk, wall or other fixtures. The PC Guardian Ezolution Resettable Combo Lock (www.pcguardian.com/products/2220), between $29.95 and $42.95, is for those who prefer the convenience of keyless security.
You can also have your own combinations. However, if you worry about keys and lost combinations, you should go for the PC Guardian Master Coded Combo Lock ($51.95). It is a push-button head that offers keyless locking for press-and-go convenience.
Similarly, PC Guardian’s USB Port Security System (between $12.95 and $71.95) can lock unused USB ports, and allows continued use of authorized USB devices like keyboards and mice. For overnight protection, you can consider Kryptonite’s Vault Lock (www.kryptonitelock.com).
The $79.99 lock has three heavy-duty hinged arms that enclose your laptop tightly; the vault lock then clamps it to a post attached to your desk or to a modified tether.
Physical locks that bolt down your laptop tend to be heavy. If you think these are not for you, try security softwares from companies such as CyberAngel that can track a stolen laptop if it is connected to the Internet. A new entrant in the laptop security market aims to deliver the best of both worlds. Caveo Technology’s Caveo anti-theft device (www.caveo.com) consists of a tiny motion sensor installed either on a PC card or on the motherboard. The device’s software disables the computer in case the laptop is stolen.
• PCSafe’s anti-theft MetroSafe 300 (www.pcsafe.com), for $99.95, is a shoulder bag or backpack with a fully padded compartment designed to protect your 13” laptop computer. It has lockable zippers and a built-in combination lock that secures the bag to a fixed object.
• Motion detector alarms protect laptops when there’s nothing to tether them to. Targus’ DefCon MDP PC Card ($99.99) even uses a series of motions as its password (a PIN is optional). If the laptop is moved too far, the system sounds an alarm, secures data and shuts down. You can then restart only with a DefCon card and a password.
• The Kensington SonicLock (www.kensington.com), for $39.99, locks into the security slot and shrieks at 100 dB if the unit is moved.
• SecureIT Inc.’s IT-Woofa (www.secure-it.com), for $89.95, is a slim dome that adheres to the laptop, with its LEDs blinking menacingly. However, configuring it, via a pocket-sized remote, is like setting a digital watch (tedious and error-prone).
• In case your laptop is stolen, Stop (Security Tracking of Office Property), priced at $25, can help recover it. A stick-on bar-coded ID plate identifies your laptop in an international registry, and a gel on the underside of the plate permanently etches “stolen property” and a toll-free number on the laptop’s surface. Check it out at www.stoptheft.com.
And if you don’t want to spend any money, Windows lets you disable almost any piece of hardware via Device Manager: Right-click on My Computer, select Manage, Device Manager, double-click the drive or port you want to disable, and under ‘Device usage’ select ‘Do not use this device (disable)’. However, be aware that this technique would merely slow down a data thief, who could reverse the changes using any administrator account on the system.