A minor distraction is all it takes for a laptop or other valuable items to vanish. Keep these tips in mind when you’re out and about with your laptop or other electronic devices to protect them and your data.
Has your device been stolen?
- If your laptop or other device is stolen, report it immediately to the Public Safety, 901 Bushkill St (610) 330-5330. If you think your information might be misused by an identity thief, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft webpage for more information. If you believe your Lafayette credentials have been compromised or stolen, contact the ITS Help Desk immediately.
Password protect your device
Ensure your device is password, PIN, or fingerprint protected. Ensure your laptop is configured so that you need to enter a password whenever it boots up or awakes from sleep mode. You can also set it so that it will auto-lock after a certain period of time.
This will help better protect your data in the event your device is stolen. For help on password protecting your device(s), contact the Help Desk.
Treat your device like cash
If you had a stack of money would you leave it sitting out in a public place and then turn your back on it? Would you put it in your checked luggage? Leave out in your car? Of course not.
Keep your device as safe as you do your cash.
Be on guard in airports and hotels
- Keep your eye on your device(s) as you go through airport security. Hold onto it until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector — and keep an eye out when it emerges on the other side. The confusion and shuffle of security checkpoints can be fertile ground for theft.
- If you stay in hotels, a security cable may not be enough. Store your device(s) in the safe in your room.
- If you leave your laptop attached to a security cable in your hotel room, consider hanging the “do not disturb” sign on your door.
Consider carrying your laptop in something else less obvious than a laptop case
When you take your laptop on the road, carrying it in a computer case may advertise what’s inside. Consider using a suitcase, a padded briefcase, or a backpack instead.
Additional security options
Security Cable – In your dorm, office, or some other public place, use a laptop security cable. Attach it to something immovable or to a heavy piece of furniture — say, a table or a desk.
Movement/Location Alarm – Depending on your security needs, an alarm on your laptop can be a useful tool. Some laptop alarms sound when there’s unexpected motion, or when the computer moves outside a specified range.
A program that reports the location of your stolen laptop once it’s connected to the internet also can be useful.
Don't leave it — even for just a minute
Your classmates or colleagues may seem trustworthy, so you’re comfortable leaving your device while you take a bathroom break or grab a cup of coffee. Not a good idea. Don’t leave your laptop unguarded — even for a minute. Take it with you if you can, or at least use a cable to secure it to something heavy.
Don't leave your laptop in a car
Parked cars are a favorite target of laptop thieves. If you have no choice and you must leave it in your car, keep it locked up and out of sight.
Don’t put your laptop on the floor
No matter where you are in public — in the library, a coffee shop, the airport— don’t put your laptop on the floor. If you must put it down, place it between your feet or up against your leg so you remember that it’s there.
Don’t keep passwords with your laptop or in its case
Remembering strong passwords or access numbers can be a challenge. However, leaving them in your laptop carrying case or on your laptop is like leaving your keys in your car.
Don’t make it easy for a thief to get to your personal information.