secure your laptop

Laptops are very important in our lives. You may have a lot of data on it that is very important to you and when you lose your laptop, that’s it!  Aside locking up your device in a safe bag, you need to protect the data on it. That is why I have sampled these five best methods to secure your laptop.

1. Use a password

Ensure that you protect your laptop with a password. It should be done in such a way that the password has to be entered every time you turn the machine on or when it comes out of hibernation, sleep or screensaver mode.

This is an effective way of keeping your laptop secure especially when you avoid using the ones that are commonly used like “1234…” among others.

2. Disable booting from CD or USB

It’s easy to change or remove an account password using a free resetting program such as pogostick, or to guess a short one using a “bruteforce guessing” program such as Ophcrack. But in order to do this, it involves booting the PC from a CD or USB drive.

That is why it is necessary to disable booting from a CD or USB. This can be done by altering the settings in your laptop’s basic input/output system (BIOS) – the built-in software with generic code to control the machine – which can usually be accessed by pressing F1, F4, F10 or Del just after you switch it on.

To ensure that no-one can override these settings, password-protect the BIOS so that no more changes can be made to it without entering the password. This can also be configured in the BIOS settings.

3. Secure your back-up drive

If you use your USB disk for backups, you need to ensure that that secure it. How do you do that? It’s very simple. This can be done by using TrueCrypt or a version of Microsoft’s BitLocker called BitLocker To Go (which is included in some versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.) Once encrypted, the memory stick can only be accessed after supplying a password.

4. Encrypt your internal hard drive

Your laptop could get stolen and your hard drive can be taken out and used in a different laptop to get the files. So in this case, using step 1 will be futile. But don’t worry, there’s still a way out. You can encrypt your hard drive.

You can do this by using BitLocker, an encryption utility included with some versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. A free, open source alternative is TrueCrypt, which also works with Windows XP, Linux and OS X. It’s just like the step 3.

5. Use Secure Email

Using email services like Gmail and cloud services like Microsoft’s Office 365 are very sure ways of being secure. They are configured to use a secure sockets layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS) which ensure that both your username and password, and the contents of your emails, are encrypted as they travel across the internet. So no one can use your email as a means of getting your personal information.

So you see, protecting your data is not rocket science.

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