Posts Tagged ‘Laptop’

Simple Tips to Securing Your Laptop

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Back in 2005 the FBI reported that the losses due to laptop theft were estimated around $3.5 million. They also identified that the average cost associated with a lost company laptop was around $32,000. Since 2005 the number of laptop users has dramatically increased and it has been assessed that one in ten laptops have or will be stolen. Laptop protection has become a major concern for many laptop users. The threat that laptop thieves pose is more than just concern for our expensive devices, it triggers our fear that someone could have access to our stolen and vital personal information.

Kensington Laptop Cable Lock
From , Oct 2011

Laptop theft is a significant and serious threat. Thieves will often target laptops because they are small, easy to grab, easy to conceal, there is a market for them, and they are a quick way to get cash. Most of these criminals target laptops because they know that a property theft charge is a better alternative to a personal robbery charge. Once stolen, a laptop can then be sold to a used computer store or pawn shops for as much as half the original retail costs.

What can you do to secure your laptop? There are two components to laptop security, the physical side and the virtual. Physical protection refers to instinctual protection like keeping your laptop with you, keeping it out of sight as well as purchasing protection devices such as cable locks, laptop safes, and motion detector alarms. Virtual security on the other hand implies defenses such as software protection programs, passwords, and tracking safeguards.

The following guide is intended to identify security techniques and tools to protect you from being a victim of a laptop theft. The tips will cover practical security methods, virtual defense techniques, and physical protection devices. For the best protection it is recommended that you use a combination of each.

Practical Security Tips:

  • Never leave your laptop unattended or in plain sight.
  • Keep your laptop in a secure, or hidden place
  • Lock your doors and windows when you’re not in your room.
  • Never leave your laptop in an unlocked vehicle.
  • If you leave it in your vehicle make sure that it the car is locked and the laptop is out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk or covered in the back seat.
  • Write down your laptop’s serial number.
  • Don’t store sensitive content on your laptop.
  • Don’t share your passwords and make sure that they are sufficient.
  • Don’t store your passwords. A lot of programs now have the option to remember passwords. It may make it easier for you to access your information but if stolen it will also make it that much easier for criminals to gain access to your accounts.
  • Personalize the look of your laptop with clear identifiable marks.
  • Carry your laptop in a nondescript carrying case, briefcase, or bag. Placing it in a case designed for computers is an immediate alert to thieves that you have a laptop.
  • Lock the laptop in your office during off-hours.
  • Back up your information on disks and store the disks at home or the office.
  • Pay attention to where you use your laptop. Be aware that someone behind or next to you can see your computer screen.
  • At airport checkpoints, be observant. Don’t place the laptop on a conveyor belt until you are ready to walk through the checkpoint.

Physical Protection Tips:

  • Sometimes just having some type of security device attached to your laptop is a good enough deterrent for thieves.
  • When you have to leave your laptop unattended you can store it in a Laptop Locker. These safes secure your device whether it’s in your office, car, or home.
  • When out in public or in a shared office you can use a laptop Cable Lock. Using a laptop security cable is one of the easiest methods of laptop security and protects against theft. Click on the link to see some cable lock options.
  • Another option for securing your laptop is to have a secured bracket or a docking station. A security bracket or dock bolts your laptop in a stationary location either in its open or closed position.
  • If there isn’t a structure to attach your cable lock then you could always use a Motion Sensor Alarm.
  • A STOP Security Plate will also prevent criminals from stealing your device. These stickers have a unique barcode for each laptop and user. If the sticker is removed it reveals a permanent “Stolen Property” mark and provides a number to report the theft.
  • Check out devices with Biometrics like finger print or retina scanners.
  • You can also use a Privacy screen to ensure you are the only viewer able to see your information. Privacy screens limit the angle at which the computer screen is visible.

Virtual Defense Tips:

  • Although user passwords are not nearly as effective as they once were, it doesn’t hurt to still use them.
  • Encrypt your sensitive documents.
  • Use Full or Whole Disk encryption. This is software that encrypts the data on the entire disk including the Bootable Operating System partitions. Disk encryption software does not encrypt the Master boot Record. However certain Disk encryption hardware will encrypt everything including the MBR.
  • Purchase Remote Laptop Security software so that you can deny access rights to someone trying to access your stolen device.
  • See if your device is eligible for laptop insurance from
  • Use a Theft Recovery Software.
  • Set up a BIOS password. The BIOS software is built into the PC, and it is the first code that a computer runs when powered on. Establishing a password in the BIOS will ensure that a laptop thief will be unable to load the Operating System unless they acquire the correct credentials. This Pre-Boot Authentication guarantees a secure environment that is external to the operating system. Pre-Boot Authentication is confirmed with something you know (username or password), something you have (smart card or other token), or something you are (biometric data).

How to establish a password in BIOS:

1. Start or restart your computer. When the BIOS screen comes on, press the Delete key to enter BIOS setup. (Some computers used “F12? or “F2”, or other keys)

2. Use the arrow keys to choose “Security” and press Enter. You will then see “Supervisor Password” and “User Password” on your screen.

3. Use the arrow keys to move down and highlight “Set User Password”, Press Enter. Enter the password in the password field and enter the password again in the confirm password field when it appears. Press Enter to set the password.

4. Use the arrow key to move down and highlight “Set Password Check”, press Enter. The options to invoke the password during “Setup” or “Always” will then appear. Choosing “Setup” requires a password to enter the BIOS. Choosing “Always” requires a password every time you start your computer. Highlight your choice and press Enter.

5. Press Esc one time, use the arrow key to select “Exit”, press Enter. Save your changes and exit. Your computer will then exit the BIOS screen and reboot.

When a laptop is stolen the actual loss can be huge. The replacement cost of a stolen laptop includes the cost of the new laptop, any stolen peripheral devices (network cards, modems), replacement software, time to configure the new device, and time to install new software. Not to mention any work material, photos, purchased media, memories, and personal information are now history. Any stored information on your computer is vulnerable and even if laptop thieves can’t benefit from the sale of your computer they could potentially gain access to personal information or your online accounts. If you aren’t already utilizing some of these suggestions or devices we strongly urge you to do so immediately, overlooking the importance of laptop security could be huge mistake.

Check out companies like Kensington, Targus, and Lenovo for the latest in laptop security.

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland

Using Multiple Monitors to Expand Your Busy Desktop

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Add a second monitor to your pcHey, everyone. It’s Josh from Computer Fitness yet again. We are a Tech Support Company for Small and Medium businesses located in Reisterstown, MD.

It’s 2010 and one monitor just won’t cut it anymore. That’s the reality for a lot of computer users these days. Graphic designers and a plethora of other people need more than just one monitor to prevent data overload and clutter. It’s the same thing as having too many files on your desk. You buy a return with some drawers to the side to add a little space and keep things more organized. Others use a second monitor for entertainment, such as hooking up your laptop to a TV. This is useful when streaming TV shows from, let’s say, Hulu. Configuring your system to work with this is pretty simple, and the rewards can be pretty cool. Here’s a walkthrough for getting a secondary display attached to your PC or Mac.


  • Check to make sure your graphics card has two outputs
  • Laptops just use the VGA out port
  • Desktops will require a special card if no second output is present
  • Power down
  • Connect second monitor
  • Power on the machine
  • If it doesn’t auto detect, right click on desktop
  • Select Properties
  • Go to change your resolution
  • You should see a second monitor in a little window there, and it may be grayed out
  • Click on it
  • Then check the “Extend My Windows Desktop onto this Display” box directly beneath the monitor diagram
  • Click OK

Mac OS

  • Plug in the secondary monitor
  • Should auto-detect
  • Click “System Preferences”
  • Open “Displays”
  • It will display this window on both monitors
  • Will either automatically mirror your existing desktop or extend it
  • In this setting panel, choose how you want it to look
  • Optional: Enable “Show Displays in Menu Bar”
  • Great option if you are frequently hooking up your computer to a TV or any other external display


Computer Fitness

Business Travel: Some Devices to Aid Your Work

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

business travelHello and welcome to Computer Fitness’ Blog! My name is Josh. Computer Fitness is a tech support firm for small and medium businesses in Reisterstown, MD. Our areas of expertise run the gamut from workstation repair to server maintenance.

You’re a businessperson on the go. You travel from place to place to place and therefore live on your laptop and wireless device. You’ve got yourself a laptop and that is a great start. As someone who’s lived through mobile devices for a while, I have some suggestions on travel/laptop accessories for all you travelers.

Bluetooth Mouse

Let’s be honest, most trackpads aren’t up to the challenge of letting you get work done. While there are a few that can make life a little easier, your best bet is to get a Bluetooth mouse to meet your pointer needs. While you could opt for a standard 2.4GHz wireless mouse, the downside there is usually the massive USB dongle you have to plug into your laptop. That makes space a bigger issue. Also, you lose a USB port. However, most modern laptops have Bluetooth built-in. If, for some reason, you don’t have Bluetooth in your laptop, the adapters are so small you barely notice them. Bluetooth devices are a win here.

Lap Desk

This might seem like something you don’t really need, but have you ever really let a laptop sit on your lap for an extended period of time? They tend to get pretty hot, especially if you are doing a lot of processor intensive computing. A lap desk will keep you from burning your legs with your laptop. Plus, you can use the extra space to use your wireless mouse. These are incredibly handy if you’re traveling on a train, etc. for a long amount of time.

Headset with Microphone

While most business can be done on your mobile phone, there are a lot of really cool and free online voice communication programs. Skype comes to mind as the most popular. This program allows you to use your computer as a phone, and call others with the same program or even call real phone numbers for a fraction of the cost. This program is great for international calls and also supports video chat.

That’s all for this week. Come back next week for more computer fitness tips!

Computer Fitness
Onsite and Remote Tech Support