Whether you'd like to read Living IT in printed form or via our Email digests, subscriptions are free. Sign up now, and we can send you regular copies of Living IT magazine by post or electronically.
News Desk
How To
In Depth
Case Studies
Expert Opinion

Mobile Computing

Advertisers Info

How to Stop someone stealing your PC/laptop

Out of sight is safer

Desktop PCs canít really be moved from the office every time you leave for the night but you can keep them out of sight. Make sure that you draw blinds and do what you can to obscure any view a potential thief might get from the outside. A cluster of new PCs could look very appealing. Laptops should be placed in lockable cupboards or safes and well out of sight. You can even buy special laptop safes. Alternatively, take them out of the building Ė especially if there is no overnight or weekend security. But donít leave them in view on the back of the car seat overnight!

Be paranoid on the road

Laptop theft while people are on the move is growing. Always leave your laptop in the boot of your car and make sure it is locked. But also be aware of where you are Ė eager thieves have been known to watch business travelled shut their laptop safely in the boot at the railway station car park and then break into the boot when you are safely on your way. It is much better to take the machine with you Ė thatís what itís for after all.

Donít leave your laptop exposed on the seat of your car Ė even when you are on the move. It is easy to forget it is there for starters and thieves have been known to simply snatch machines through open side windows while the car is at a standstill.

Use the security features

Many PCs and laptops have built-in security features such as passwords, encrypted access or even biometrics. Find out what features your systems have and make use of them Ė and donít write down passwords or share them around the office.

Lock down your PCs

You can buy special steel cables, racks, plates and tab systems that make it almost impossible for thieves to remove desktop PCs from your office. These are not that expensive and if you feel your machines are under threat are well worth the investment.

Use the security slot

Most notebooks today have a security slot that can deter theft from continuing. Usually found on the back left, or back right side of the notebook, the security slot allows a notebook security device to attach and lock onto the computer case. You can get simple lockable steel cables and more advanced ones with four-digit combination locks that enable you to attach your laptop to immovable objects and make it difficult for anyone to just come along and walk away with your pride and joy.

Give your machines a tatoo

Special plates can be used to leave a permanent tattoo on your PC and provide unmistakable proof that equipment is police traceable or stolen. Resale of marked items is much harder as equipment can be registered on an international tracking database and recovery system. Barcode systems and asset tags can also be used.

Install motion-sensitive IP-based surveillance

You can now buy IP cameras that are motion-sensitive for around £100 so with a little help from your systems supplier you should be able to set up a simple IP-base surveillance system Ė just make sure that the video is stored on a machines that canít be stolen.