If You Do Not Want Your Passwords Stolen, Keep Your Laptop Close

There are certain things we cannot do without, and a portable laptop is definitely one of them. Of course, smartphones have replaced many of the functions that laptops and stationary computers once offered exclusively, but we still rely on them for school, work, and even leisure-time affairs. Unfortunately, we are not always cautious when it comes to laptops.

Let’s turn on our imagination for a second… You are working hard in your local coffee shop and you decide to get a quick restroom break or take an incoming call outside. You do not want to give up that sweet spot in from of the window, and you certainly do not want to waste time packing up your laptop and taking it with you. That’d be crazy, right? So you leave your laptop behind. If there’s anyone with malicious intentions around, it doesn’t take much to just grab the device, tuck it into their bag and disappear. Unfortunately, stolen laptops are used for data breaches all the time. The good news is that there are always things you can do to ensure laptop security, and, in turn, the security of your own virtual identity.

Stolen laptops used for data breaches

We do not want to bore you with statistics, but here are a few numbers that might interest and shock you. According to the research conducted by the University of Pittsburg, there’s 1-in-10 chance of getting your laptop stolen, and nearly half of the theft occurs in offices and classrooms. The saddest part is that 98% of all laptops are never recovered. Of course, this research was bound within the walls of the university, but the data transcends the classroom. According to the statistics offered by Kensington, one laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, 52% of laptops and other portable devices are stolen from offices, and 80% of the cost attributed to theft represents the cost of data breaches and identity theft. These statistics suggests that the price of data breaches is much costlier than the theft of the physical devices themselves.

If a stolen laptop is used for data breach, it might be later discarded or sold to people who either do not care about theft or who do not know about it at all. This is why it is important that you only purchase tech items from reliable and reputable vendors. Even if you can save a few hundred dollars by purchasing laptops from resellers, this will not buy you a peace of mind. Overall, we hope that your laptop has not been stolen yet, and you still have time to take appropriate laptop security measures to ensure that you are ready for it all.

Take laptop security seriously

You know the saying “better safe than sorry,” and we want you to remember it when thinking about laptop security. Once the device is stolen, there isn’t much you can do, unless you can track it. But would you go confront the thieves yourself? That is too dangerous, and police might not have time to go on a hunt for your laptop if they have much more serious crimes to deal with. Overall, you want to take things into your own hands. Here, we list the top tips that should help you guarantee laptop security.

  • Set up a strong laptop password: If your laptop is not password-protected, accessing your personal files and, quite possibly, connecting to your personal accounts (if passwords are automatically saved on the browsers) is a piece of cake. Your first line of defense is the laptop password, and you have to make sure it is not one of those that are easy to guess. Strong passwords, of course, are not easy to remember, and you do not want to be locked out of your laptop. If you use a password manager, choose cloud storage, so you could access your passwords from any device in case you forget your laptop password. If you do not want to rely on that, and you want your password to be memorable, make sure it is as long as possible, and do not forget to include at least a few special symbols.
  • Set up strong passwords for all of your online accounts: This is the perfect situation for when to use a password manager. The Cyclonis Password Manager can generate extremely complicated passwords and keep them safe for you when you need to log into your accounts. Of course, there are things you want to think about when using a password manager. For example, the master password must be strong, so that thieves could not guess it. Also, you want to adjust the settings in a way that you would be logged out of the password manager when you lock your laptop. Here are more tips on how to keep your password manager safe and, in turn, ensure better laptop security.
  • Save your passwords in a smart way: It is very convenient to automatically save your usernames and passwords on your browser because that ensures that you do not need to type login credentials every time. That IS convenient, but not just for you. If your laptop is stolen, and the thief gains access to the device, they can hijack your accounts and create a huge mess. Your social media profiles could be cloned, purchases and transactions could be made, and your entire virtual identity could be jeopardized. Luckily, if you use a reliable password manager, you do not need browsers to remember your passwords, and you do not need to sacrifice convenience for it either.
  • Don’t leave your laptop unattended: This should be self-explanatory. If you are in a public place alone, do NOT leave your laptop resting in plain sight. This is the #1 laptop security tip, given that most laptops are stolen when no one is keeping an eye on them. Even if you are amongst friends, family members, or colleagues, lock your laptop. This alone will make it a less desirable target for thieves and those rascals who might want to play a prank on you.
  • Do not write down your passwords on a sticky note: If it is your personal preference to write down your passwords, do yourself a favor and lock the sheet with the passwords in a safe. The worst thing you can do is leave a sticky note with your laptop’s passwords stuck on… your laptop.
  • Prepare for theft: Even if you take all laptop security measures, it could be stolen anyway, and you want to make sure you are prepared for the day. First and foremost, write down the serial number of your laptop. This is what the police will want to know if you ever need to contact them. Another thing to think about is tracking software. iTechtics offers this list of, allegedly, best laptop tracking services, but you always want to do your own research to install software that is best for YOU.

Needless to say, laptop security is a very serious thing because if you do not take care of it, and your laptop gets stolen, thieves could potentially perform a data breach leading to identity theft, money theft, medical data theft, private data theft and so on. Hopefully, you secure your laptop and remember to be cautious while out in the public. Even if your laptop gets stolen, the laptop security measures you take could save you from a lot of trouble, and the only loss you experience is that of a physical device, which, of course, can be replaced, unlike the integrity of your virtual identity.

March 20, 2019

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