According to the Ponemon Institute, 900 laptops are stolen every week from Heathrow Airport alone. Absolute Software, which has launched its Computrace LoJack system to track and recover stolen laptops, has five tips to help travellers keep their technology safe this summer.
1. While travelling, back up your data as frequently as possible. Use an encrypted thumb drive, and keep it separate from your laptop. Remember that the information stored on the computer is often more valuable than the computer itself – would you worry more about a lost laptop, or the thousands of photos stored on it?
2. Keep your technical gear with you. Checking-in your laptop with your luggage is a big gamble. Baggage handlers don’t know what is in your bag, and you run the risk of having your gear broken or stolen in transit.
3. Carry your laptop in a nondescript carrying case, such as a backpack or tote bag, instead of a tell-tale laptop bag. If you have to keep your laptop in your car, put it in the boot before you arrive at your destination so people don’t see you putting it in there and walking away.
4. Clearly label your laptop to distinguish it from others at security checkpoints. Labelling the laptop itself will help you find it among other laptops once through the metal detectors. Make sure to put your name, contact information and address on the label, as most airport lost-and-founds won’t power up the computer to find out who it belongs to.
5. Ask to put your laptop and technical gear in the hotel safe when you’re not using it. Most hotels have a safe that guests can use in their room or at the front desk. When making a reservation, ask whether the hotel offers this service. If they do not, stow your laptop in a secure cabinet in the room.
Computrace LoJack for Laptops is a theft recovery and data protection service that uses software to track, locate and recover stolen laptop and desktop computers. A one-year licence costs £45.99.