Secure Notebook

Unfortunately, the number of stolen laptops is increasing at an alarming rate. Most users as not aware of how big a threat this could be. People that have their laptops stolen are exposed to identity theft but they don’t take security measures. Some of them leave their laptop exposed on the back seat of the car and this is like a magnet for attracting thieves.

But since technology evolves really fast, there are now different ways to secure your notebook. A secured notebook reduces the risk of any thief to steal important data or files that are stored on your hard disk. It is however recommended that you don’t save your bank account or your social security number on your notebook. If you are really unlucky and your thief is a hacker, he can break passwords and get access to hidden files on your notebook. This is the variety of security measured is different. Both regular users and companies can store important information on their hard disks and the risks are enormous if that information falls into the wrong hands.

One security measure is to encrypt the data in your disk. In the past, data encryption was basically rocket science as you had to use math formulas to turn your files into codes so no one could make any sense out of them but you.  True Crypt is a program that helps you get this process done without any severe headaches. The interface of this program is very user friendly and you should be able to figure out how to use it without wasting too much time in the process. You don’t have to encrypt all your files. Just take care of those that contain important data, not music or movies.

Another threat to your notebook security is represented by spam and viruses. Accessing untrusting websites and downloading and installing unknown programs can grant some hackers easy access to your computer.  When you open some executable files, you allow another person to see whatever you are doing with your computer, including the passwords you type in and the files you use. If you even notice your mouse moving around the screen without you even touching it that may be a sign that someone is messing with your notebook. Firewall programs are also a valuable security measure. Also try and use uncommon passwords. Most hackers try to guess your passwords by using randomly selected words or if the person knows any information about you, don’t use your dog’s name or your birthday as a password because it’s a piece of general information that hackers can use. Some viruses are sent to you though your e-mail, using attachments and links to different websites.

One very common type of internet fraud is called “phishing”. What hackers do is they create a new website, identical to a bank’s website. Then, they send you e-mails in the name of the bank, telling you that your bank is updating the customer data base and you are given a link to their fake website (which, I repeat, looks very real) and you are asked to retype you personal information like bank account number and password. All this information becomes visible to the hacked and from this point you can imagine what the consequences are. Remember that a bank will never ask for any personal information by sending you an e-mail so do not trust just mail.

A secure notebook has lots of passwords but one thing that people don’t usually see as a threat is the wireless connection. Whenever you set up a wireless connection at home, remember to assign a password. Notebooks that share a wireless connection have information that becomes visible to all the notebooks in that network. This means that if a stranger manages to gain access to the internet by using your wireless connection, he may gain access to files on your notebook. You should also be careful when you connect to any public wireless hot spots for the same reasons: files may become visible to others.

Try to make constant back-up of your files. If you should ever lose a file because of a virus or any other threats, you will need the original one eventually. One category of users that is frequently exposed to notebook theft are the students. A very easy way for them to prevent this is by locking their notebook. Yes, that’s right; there are special notebook locks available for when you have to walk away from your notebook. You can buy a lock for about $15 so it’s not exactly a giant hole in your budget. Always make sure you have good and original antivirus software installed on your notebook. Don’t fool around and buy one that has a license because they have all the options you need to keep your notebook protected from viruses. Make sure that every time you are connected to the internet, the antivirus software updates the database and that way it can trace even the latest virus. Don’t ever disable you antivirus because threats don’t only come from the internet, they can also come from a CD that your friends has loaned you or from a memory stick. Who knows where they have been?

Remember to put a password on your operating system and if you use your notebook in public places a lot, a BIOS password would also be recommended. From your notebook’s BIOS you can set up a password for both the BIOS and for your hard drive as well. It’s takes only 5 minutes to do so and remember not to choose a common password (a combination of letters and number is always the best choice).

Most of the time, the information that is stored on someone’s notebook can be more valuable than the notebook itself so this is why it’s important to take all the security measures that you possibly can, even if it means you have to spend a couple of more second or minutes to type all the passwords you have set up.

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