Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Cubicle Security For Laptops, Electronics? 532

kamikasee writes "I recently found out that I'm going to be moved from an office to a cubicle. The cubicle area is not very secure, and I'm worried about things wandering off. My boss has offered to buy some equipment to help me secure things, but so far I haven't found anything that fits my requirements. Google and Amazon searches are overwhelmed by lockable key cabinets and larger pieces of furniture. Here are some of the requirements: The main issue with traditional solutions (e.g. locking things in a drawer) is convenience. I use a laptop with a second LCD monitor. There's also an external keyboard and mouse and a USB hard drive. I leave my laptop on at night so I can remote-desktop into it, so I'm not really happy about putting it in a drawer (no ventilation), plus I don't like the idea of having to 'unharness' everything every time I want to put it away. I don't trust cable locks. Besides, cable locks won't help me secure my the USB drive and other electronics that might wander off. The solution I imagine is a lockable, ventilated metal box that would sit under the monitor and house most of the electronics. If it was big enough, I could stick my laptop into it at night (while leaving it running) and feel confident that it would still be there in the morning. I'd be open to other types of solutions. Surely someone else must have dealt with this problem."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cubicle Security For Laptops, Electronics?

Comments Filter:
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:44PM (#22853164)
    I've never personally dealt with that sort of problem. It's probably because I work with professionals.

    • No kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:51PM (#22853224) Homepage
      I have not locked the door to my office in years. People leave their child's fund raising goodies out on tables and you just put the money you're supposed to in the envelope if you take something.

      Where do you work that people are stealing stuff all the time?

      Or are you just mega-paranoid?
      • Re:No kidding! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:21AM (#22853496) Journal
        No kidding indeed. I often leave my wallet on my desk all day (open environment, no cubes) and I'm not even concerned that someone might look at it funny. My guess is that the submitter works in a high school or a prison.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sleigher ( 961421 )
          Well I have worked in offices for years. One time after an office move we came back and a co-workers purse was gone. The whole thing. We were on the 8th floor. Seems someone came in off the street, up the back stairs and got in. Not sure how because the door was locked. Point being that it isn't always co workers who are dishonest. The company got better security on the floor after that.....
        • Re:No kidding! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by __aagbwg300 ( 1143477 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @07:07AM (#22855200)

          I work at a very large medical school in the Bronx with real professionals and trust everyone who gets a badge. Thus it was strange when a rash of laptop thefts hit the complex that I work in. Each disappearance happened in broad daylight, oftentimes when a researcher had just stepped out to smoke a cigarette, go to the bathroom etc.

          You would be amazed at how quickly a person's progressive attitude is changed when their laptop is stolen. The European researchers blamed the Chinese, the Chinese blamed the South Americans and the Americans (myself included) .... blamed other Americans. In either case, morale in the entire place was shot. People were seen bringing their laptops into the bathroom (for non-masturbatory purposes!). No one trusted anyone else.

          After almost a hundred thefts security stopped a guy in a Fed-Ex uniform with a bag full of laptops. He got past the checkpoint by claiming that his packages had to be signed in person by the noted party (warning bells? We have a loading dock and people to do that.). When the cops came, he confessed only to stealing the laptops in his bag and claimed that it was his first time. The laptop thefts stopped for a few weeks.... and then started back up!

          In the end it turned out to be one of the security guards. No one would have caught him if he hadn't been storing hot laptops IN HIS LOCKER. So the moral of the story is that if someone wants to steal your unattended laptop, they will.

      • by NoGuffCheck ( 746638 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @02:03AM (#22854126)
        1) biometric finger print reader
        2) cable lock for laptop and external monitor(they really are quite good)
        3) pre boot authentication (integrated with finger pricnt reader)
        4) full disk encryption - Utimaco Safeguard Easy (integrated with finger pricnt reader)
        5) data dot dna (tiny dots with serial numbers that can be stuck/hidden on your equipment)
        6) Computrace (software that cannot easily be removed and so when your stolen machine connects to the internet it will send its location to the computrace who will work with the ISP local law enforment to retrieve the stolen machine)
        7) SafeEnd End point security, individually controls/records usb, i/o, ethernet ports
        8) insurance

        i got all this with my thinkpad, not because my co-workers are theives but because my companies insurance premiums are high and i have sensitive customer data on my machine which is required by law to be encrypted.
        • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @02:28AM (#22854218) Journal
          Or, if you have a MacBook, you could look into MultiAlarm [], which makes use of MacBook's highly sensitive motion sensors.
          It can lock the screen, play a sound file (I picked the extremely annoying high-pitched beep) when it is jiggled ever so slightly (adjustable sensitivity), take a pic of who/whatever's in front of it and ftp it to a server of your choosing and a few other options.

          If you turn off the warning sound and set the sensitivity real high, anyone foolish enough to detach anything from your laptop will jiggle it enough to have his picture taken.

          • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @03:00AM (#22854328)

            It can lock the screen, play a sound file (I picked the extremely annoying high-pitched beep) when it is jiggled ever so slightly (adjustable sensitivity), take a pic of who/whatever's in front of it and ftp it to a server of your choosing and a few other options.
            But can it explode like a Dell?

    • Somebody who left the company left a beer in the fridge.

      6 years ago.

      It's still there.

      Either that, or someone who does not normally drink has stashed the beer there in the event they do have to leave the company...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikael ( 484 )
        That's happened at two of the places I have worked ... The first was a company that had a "There shall be no fighting in the main reception during office hours" clause in the employment contract and the other was in a university research lab. In both cases the can of beer had been hidden in the very back of a filing cabinet, below the racks of papers, over three years old, slightly rusted but still airtight. Other items included similarly aged boxes of sugar cubes, blobs of blue tack and pizza discount vouc
      • how are the prices going for vintage beer? I really hope at least is not one of those shitty Budweisers you americans dare to drink.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nospam007 ( 722110 )
        Somebody who left the company left a beer in the fridge.

        6 years ago.

        It's still there.

        Unfortunately he also left a ground beef sandwich.
    • by LinuxInDallas ( 73952 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:03AM (#22853370)
      And that is what we though where I work as well. Here's the deal, how professional are the janitors? How about maintenance workers that are on-site tmie to time. Can you really trust them? We also had issue with someone that was able to sneak into the building over lunch one day and wander off with people's belongings. Forget the people you actually work with, they probably are completely trustworthy. it's everyone else that can gain access to your building that you should worry about.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sandbags ( 964742 )
        Wether we're talking about employee theft or the night janitor, there's a simple, and relatively inexpensive option, and it's called video survaillence.

        Place a few cameras around (even a few fake ones!), connect them to a video hub/DVR. To make employees happy and help them feel reassured that no one is contstantly watching the footage to see who is and who is not working efficiently or whatever, you place the kit inside a closet and place 2 or 3 differnt locks on it and give 1 of those keys to the HR rep
      • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @10:05AM (#22856624)

        We also had issue with someone that was able to sneak into the building over lunch one day and wander off with people's belongings.
        I've heard a much worse story. At my boyfriend's place, somebody managed to sneak into the building and rape one of the employees.... They did catch the perp, but boy what a scary thought that something like this can happen...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Usually I find the LAST people to suspect are the cleaning folks. They know they're going to be the first ones scrutinized if something comes missing! However, often the security guards are contracted out and the company they work for doesn't always screen them. I've seen a lot of cases where these guards have criminal backgrounds.

        The only problem I had with thieves was a company I contracted for (wine and alcohol distrib). I left a 6-pack of Diet coke in the fridge the first day and it was gone the next. M
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elronxenu ( 117773 )
      That may be so, but there are different risks involved.

      The first, that "nobody will steal anything because they're all professional" is a true statement until somebody breaches the trust that other employees obviously have. You could ignore the risk until something goes missing, but do you want to be the first one affected by theft? Think of it as a trade-off. You're trading off the benefit of leaving your wallet out in the open versus the risk of somebody taking it. If your wallet is taken you are likely

    • by vonFinkelstien ( 687265 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @04:26AM (#22854604)
      Here is Sweden it is very common for drug addicts or organized crime gangs to break into schools and businesses at night to steal computers. LCD monitors and laptops are prime targets. The private school I teach at has had the teachers' room broken into 4 times in the past 2 years. Now, I put my monitor on the floor every night so thieves can't just look in the window and see easy pickings.
    • One suggestion they often make at my office for laptop users who work in cubicles is to take the laptop home with them.

      Of course, this depends on your security at home - you have to ask yourself if your home is more secure than your cubicle, and could the laptop possibly get lost in transit?

      Another possibility - you could bury landmines near your cubicle to thwart any potential thieves. (You want the sort of landmine that you can deactivate during the day, though - I think you can purchase them on eBay.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogess ( 893127 )
      I dunno, but if my boss was willing to pop for something to secure my stuff and I was paranoid about it disappearing, I would opt for a soloution from an older, gentler period of time. Have him pop for a Roll top desk, for instance. Following the nature of your request, one with a lock (most had them). Then you would have everything you described with the added benefit of a classy looking piece of furniture.
    • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @06:57AM (#22855160) Homepage
      "My boss wants me to move out of my nice office into a cubicle, give me some nice EXPENSIVE technical bullshit reason I can give him to dissuade him."
  • by temojen ( 678985 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:47PM (#22853186) Journal
    Why do you have a laptop if you don't take it with you? What do other people in the cube farm do? Why do you have your own equipment at work?
    • by nickj6282 ( 896871 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:59PM (#22853326)
      I was kind of wondering this myself. If your boss is moving you from a locked office to an open cube then it sounds like his problem if his employees steal his equipment from your desk.

      If you are bringing personal items (USB drive, iPod, cellphone, etc.) to work with you there are a few options:
      1. Leave this stuff at home
      2. Don't let it out of your sight and take it with you when you leave for lunch (this is what I do with my iPod/cellphone/etc. when working, although I can leave it out on my desk in plain sight and it will still be there later because my coworkers are not douchebags)
      3. Keep these items in a plain unassuming backpack under your desk
      4. Lock these items in a desk drawer when you are in the office and don't leave them at work
      Also, why do you have a laptop if you're just going to leave it in the office when you go home? I've worked at places where that was grounds for dismissal. Don't they have a VPN where you work?
      • by pavon ( 30274 )
        My main machine is a laptop, and I have never once brought it home - if I need to work I'll be at the office, billing time. The reason I have a laptop is because I am on several projects, and spend time in 5 labs spread across two buildings, depending on what equipment I need and who I am working with. I also get sent on business trips once or twice a year, and I'll bring my laptop with me then. Even if you only work out of the office once a month, the hassle saved by not having to keep files in sync betwee
      • by The Fanta Menace ( 607612 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @05:26AM (#22854810) Homepage
        If your boss is moving you from a locked office to an open cube then it sounds like his problem...

        If my boss was moving me from an office into a cubicle, I'd be looking for another job. That's just insulting.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dekortage ( 697532 )

          If my boss was moving me from an office into a cubicle, I'd be looking for another job. That's just insulting.

          It depends. Awhile back, a company I worked for moved locations, and everyone was given a cubicle except senior VPs and the president. It was called an "open office environment". I suppose it was still insulting, but it was not personal...

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @08:39AM (#22855720)
          Posting anon in case the coworker reads this...

          At my office we've just moved into a cube farm. Some of us came from cubes, so it's not a big deal. One coworker had her own office; she's been fun to watch.

          She's been bitching up a storm about how her cube, the door of which is visible from the pathway between cubes so people walking by can see what she's doing, isn't appropriate.

          So far, she tried the following "remedies":
          • Screaming at our manager that she doesn't have the room she needs to work
          • Moving empty file cabinets to block the entrance to her cube
          • Hanging a blanket across the entrance to her cube with a handmade "keep out" sign attached
          • extending her lunch break from her traditional two hours to three, saying it takes her longer to get to the gym now

        • by EriDay ( 679359 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @08:44AM (#22855768)
          At Steelcase [] largest maker of those cubicle systems, even the CEO is in a cubicle.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I worked for a big company for a while (Fortune 100, 60,000+ employees). They found out one of the guys I worked with didn't have a pay grade high enough for him to have an office. So they moved him into a cubicle and turned his office into a storage room. Now THAT's insulting.
    • Why do you have a laptop if you don't take it with you?
      Quite. Easy solution : don't use a laptop, find a DEC PDP 10 on eBay. Nobody will steal that. And if somebody somehow does, you'll notice immediately when it's disconnected by the way the whole city block's lights suddenly brighten.

    • At my work, we had a group that would regularly purchase 2 laptops for every developer: one for them to use at home, and one for them to Remote-desktop into. I think the idea was that developers could take their laptops to meetings, but would be able to Remote into it from home so they wouldn't have to replicate tools, etc. When we started purchasing centrally, we stopped that practice. If you have a laptop, it's because you need to be highly mobile, and you should take the laptop with you.

      Laptops tend t

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:48PM (#22853200) Homepage Journal
    Simple solution: Don't bring your personal computer or electronic devices to work. If your company's security is such that company property disappears, then that is the company's problem. In real life, this is not a big problem. With the exception of lunches in the refrigerator, coworkers are not going to steal your stuff in a healthy work culture. But to be save, don't leave your personal devices laying around. If it is your own personal computer, however, then get the company to provide you with a company computer.
    • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:07AM (#22853386)
      Simple solution: Don't bring your personal computer or electronic devices to work. If your company's security is such that company property disappears, then that is the company's problem.

      Quoted for great justice.

      Company gear, company premises, company's obligation to secure it. if I came in to work tomorrow morning and my desktop computer and monitor were gone, I'd inform our IT manager and tell him to call me when they have been found or replaced.

      Seriously, if you're not working for yourself, why on earth would you take your OWN laptop into a place of business? That's retarded.
      • You try working on Windows all day. I'd far rather bring my own Mac to work.
    • by Eadwacer ( 722852 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:22AM (#22853498)
      I understand some companies already make boxes with motherboards and hard drives in them and everything, and they sit on your desk like a big tower, and they're not portable so hardly anyone ever steals them. You could see if your notebook maker has a section that sells specialty items like that...
  • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:48PM (#22853202) Homepage Journal
    If you lock the stuff in a box, people could just steal the box and cut it open at their leisure. I think your real problem is that you don't trust your workmates. If your workmates are, in fact, untrustworthy you probably need a new job. Another strong possibility is that you're unduly suspicious of the people around you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kamokazi ( 1080091 )
      Exactly...most security is a theft DETERRENT, not a theft stopper. They are there to keep honest people honest, not stop determined thieves. There are ways around every security system, and most of them are pretty easy if you know what you are doing, especially anything affordable for an individual.

      If you're really that paranoid, just use the stinking cable lock, and hide the hard drive somewhere (it shouldn't need much ventilation). If someone really wants to steal your stuff, they're going to steal it u
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dfm3 ( 830843 )

      I think your real problem is that you don't trust your workmates. If your workmates are, in fact, untrustworthy you probably need a new job.

      The submitter doesn't explicitly say that it's his fellow employees that he's worried about. There are plenty of workplace settings that are easily accessible to anyone who just wanders in off of the street.

      For example, I work for a university. Typically, graduate students don't have their own offices, but get a cubicle in a large room shared by a dozen or more f

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bombula ( 670389 )
        it's not uncommon for computers, textbooks, backpacks, projectors, or anything that is not locked up or chained down to disappear.

        This is where you want eyes in the sky. Seriously, I WANT cameras in the ceiling to discourage theft. It's ludicrous to have to be afraid that some asswipe is going to steal anything "that is not locked up or chained down." Get cameras, and then people just won't be able to get away with it. Then if some moronic grad student is stupid enough to throw away tens of thousands

    • Use a cable-lock to deter a "theft of convenience," but also set up a motion-sensing, tracking webcam and stream the video to a network share. In addition to monitoring the efficiency of the janitorial staff, you'll also learn who keeps stealing all the good chocolates from your candy dish.

      Oh, and in the off-hand chance someone takes your laptop, just pull up the video/stills from the network and you'll have all the evidence you need to get the thief fired. Just print out the images, and take a nice little
  • 2 words (Score:5, Funny)

    by Plazmid ( 1132467 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:49PM (#22853204)
    2 words: Mini fridge. Provides ample cooling and looks like something you would have in a typical office. People don't tend to look in a mini fridge for a laptop or data. As long as no one knows that you keep your stuff in it your safe. Maybe put a couple of drinks in there, to hide your laptop or even a secret compartment.
  • webcam (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Riquez ( 917372 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:49PM (#22853208) Homepage
    Get a webcam that records & uploads what's happening inside your cubicle.
    Then you can catch the thieves & get your stuff back.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CyberKnet ( 184349 )
      Aha! I see the thieves were here... and the webcam is still in place!

      Stupid thieves.

      Now I'll just boot up my trusty laptop to view the video...

  • Easy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rindeee ( 530084 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:50PM (#22853216)
    I recommend Nessman-esque masking tape walls and door. Simply enforce pretend knocking and 'lock' it at night. Problem solved.
    • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Funny)

      by gooman ( 709147 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:39AM (#22853680) Journal
      A co-worker and I built a "Les Nessman office wall and door" to our work area which was a big open room.
      We got a lot laughs and comments from visitors. Most would knock on our pretend door.

      Our Korean boss did not understand the humor at all.
      Since he refused to use our indicated door, one day we bought a pre-hung door and set it up.
      Mind you there were no walls, just this door-frame and door to our office in the middle of the big room.

      He didn't say a word, but the following Monday the door and the tape on the floor was gone.
      There was also a memo about no more personal items of any kind to be brought into work.

      Spoil sport

      • Re:Easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by myth_of_sisyphus ( 818378 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @02:42AM (#22854268)
        When I worked at Apple, there was a guy who built an igloo with styrofoam over his cubicle. Didn't have a door but it was a nice cubicle-igloo. One night I went to check it out, seeing as how it was 1 am and there was nobody in the building. His office was lined with monitors displaying a trippy acid pattern that had me mesmerized for about 15 minutes. Just the quiet of the office building and the dim lights with the monitors going all loopy and the igloo above created a very serene environment.

        Then I heard "Can I help you?" And I jumped. I turned around and there was a bearded guy in a sleeping bag. I said ".....uhhhhhh......sorry" and leaped out of there.

        I never did find out who it was or why he did that. I wasn't really supposed to be in that area of the building at that time so asking around was a no-go.

        If anybody knows, I'd like to hear it. This was about 1990 in DeAnza 3 or 4.
  • ... Laser based thief destruction system. If there is anything you learn from being an American, and I am proudly one, it is that you can't overspend on defense. You gotta make all those thieving morons out there realize that they are dealing with death here.

    Also, to back up the laser grid, I'd go with some more conventional systems, eg an automated machine gun turret and an anti-personnel mine field.
    • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @08:58AM (#22855858) Homepage Journal

      My daughter got one of these toy safes with a "laser" security system. You have to teach it a passcode, and it won't open without it. But if you disrupt the little beams across its door, it starts an annoying klaxon and light-show that lasts a long 30 seconds. I cringed at her must-be-secure attitude, locking up her little valuables, especially since she's an ONLY CHILD. I tripped it "accidentally" a couple times just so she would feel like it was doing its job.

      However, I'm quite happy with how it backfired. Very valuable security lessons! It has taught her that security is inversely proportional to convenience, that the more complicated a mechanism is the more likely it will fail, that honestly accidental infractions can't be prosecuted like infractions with intent, and when a security system fails she can't access her own stuff. It eats batteries like crazy. It acts stupid when the batteries are low, so she has to recode it every week or two. Also, it blinks red at weird intervals all night to remind her that either she can't trust people around her, or she is being unnecessarily paranoid. I think the safe is now without batteries and empty.

  • by mooingyak ( 720677 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:53PM (#22853252)
    Every desk that I've had, whether it's been in an office, a cubicle, or just a table in the middle of a large room has been accessible to virtually everyone who works there. And yet, shockingly, nothing has disappeared on me.

    The most I've done security-wise is to avoid leaving some of the more likely theft targets out in the open, but I've never worried about actually locking them away.

    In the companies that I have worked for, if things disappear off of desks, someone (co-workers, cleaning staff, whatever) is going to be fired for it.
  • by lelitsch ( 31136 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:58PM (#22853318)
    Maybe you should consider switching jobs to a company that isn't populated by thieves or situated in a crack alley?
  • by gatekeep ( 122108 ) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:58PM (#22853324)
    So let me get this right... you're leaving your laptop on your desk powered on every night. Why do you have a laptop?

    If you just use a regular tower you can user a large internal drive, or a few larger internal drives, removing the need for the extra drive. Then your problem becomes securing a tower. There are many desks and enclosers for securing towers.

    As for a keyboard and mouse, if you're worried about your keyboard and mouse being stolen I'd recommend you find another job.
  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:03AM (#22853368)
    To the OP: How bad is the thievery rate? Is it a place where anybody can enter to possibly steal, or is it a place where you need locks to keep honest people honest?

    You can get some decent cable locks that are Bic Pen resistant. I use these: []
    on all my equipment, be it desktop or laptop. Of course, they can be cut, but it would be a dedicated effort to do so.

    First, the locking cabinet is an idea, but of course if someone is desperate enough to cut cable locks, they likely will try for the cabinet if its not bolted down. You could go with a motion detecting alarm, or a locking cable that has an alarm that will sound if cut, but co-workers will get really annoyed if the system makes false alarms often.

    Kensington's alarmed lock: []

    Second, have you considered a dock for your laptop, if one is available? Almost all docks have some way of locking the laptop to the dock either via a lever and a padlock or something using a Kensington lock slot. Then, you can hook all your monitors and items to the dock and just do a simple eject to hit the road with your laptop.

    Third, have you considered logical security? If you are worried about data theft as opposed to physical, consider something like TrueCrypt that can encrypt your Windows boot/system drive, and also encrypt data on external drives. If you use keyfiles, after you type in your preboot passphrase, the external drives can automount while still providing security from thieves. For further protection, you can use TrueCrypt on external drives, and use PGP's whole disk encryption with a cryptographic hardware token. Then, you can use cable locks for your devices and if someone does steal one, it will be "merely" a hardware theft rather than hardware and sensitive data.

    Last, if you can't find a metal box, have you considered hitting a metal shop with the dimensions of what you want for a cage, and having them weld you up one? I have had this done (and the cage bolted down solidly) when I wanted to make sure some file servers, switch, and a router would not be stolen. Even though I did not know who other than myself had the key to the room the equipment was in, only I had the key to that cage, so I knew that the equipment might be powered off or perhaps vandalized, it wouldn't be stolen without some major effort. A welder can use pinless hinges and tabs so someone attempting to break into the cage by a crowbar wouldn't be successful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NexusTw1n ( 580394 )

      Of course, they can be cut, but it would be a dedicated effort to do so.

      Kensington Locks stop passers by stealing your laptop.

      They do not stop thieves. I've seen a demonstration where the t-bar is prised out of the laptop in under 5 seconds with a screwdriver. Yes, the plastic case of the laptop around the lockhole will be damaged, but other than that, the laptop will be fine.

      All the advertising blurb about the strength of the cable is nonsense, the weak point on all laptop security cables is the an

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:13AM (#22853426)
    Get crappier stuff nobody will steal, problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jamesh ( 87723 )

      Get crappier stuff nobody will steal, problem solved.

      Or an extension to your solution - get crappier stuff, take the logos off it, and stick it on your stuff. Once your HP branded laptop has 'Apple' written all over it nobody will touch it.


      Ouch ouch the flames are burning me!!!
  • by MoneyCityManiac ( 651455 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:13AM (#22853432)
    Honestly, this sounds like someone who's just bitter about losing their office to a cubicle and causing a stink.

    Your laptop and associated paraphernalia are the property of your company. If they happen to find legs then that's an issue for your company to deal with, not you. Hopefully you back up your data, so if your laptop does grow legs it's just a day or two to get up and running with a new lappy.

    Besides, your co-workers are in the same position, so if they're not reporting thefts then you probably won't be either. And if there is a problem of theft in your office then perhaps you should be pushing your manager to make your workplace more secure, rather just just your workspace.
  • by ( 142825 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:14AM (#22853438) Homepage
    Get an old 24 inch CRT monitor and wire the flyback into an anti-static mat and chair in your cubical. Anyone entering your cubical will get the message that they are not welcome.

  • by bombastinator ( 812664 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:17AM (#22853460)
    About 5 minutes of googling found me vast numbers of things, from laptop locks impervious to the toilet paper tube solution, to locking shelves instead of drawers, to a bar style locking device IIRC I've seen used at CompUSA. Large numbers of people have his issue as evidenced by the large number of solutions available.

    My suspicion is that the poster really kinda wants his office back and is making excuses. If this is the case it is natural that no solution is going to work.
    • Tuff Shed (Score:3, Funny)

      by pavon ( 30274 )

      If this is the case it is natural that no solution is going to work.

      Oh, I think there is a solution that will work, he just needs to get a lockable container that is a little bigger. Something that can't be stolen, and will hold all his equipment without inconveineince. Something that will make him feel more at home again. That's right, he needs to get a Tuff Shed. Just plop it right down in the middle of the cubefarm. Sure he won't have any lighting, but he's a programmer dog-gone-it; the glow of his monitor is all the light he needs. And when the boss asks what the hell

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:20AM (#22853492)
    Just wait until they come after your red stapler. Then you'll show 'em.
  • by rueger ( 210566 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:26AM (#22853536) Homepage
    ... from a real office into a cube, and now I'm all pissed off 'cause when I was higher up the food chain I crapped on all of the cube dwellers. Now I'm gonna be one of them and frankly it doesn't look good.

    If I had half a brain I'd have treated these folks with respect, or at least would now be trying to make a few friends, but frankly I am just so superior that I can't be bothered. I'm sure that they all resent me -- excuse me -- are envious of me -- and that they are just lying in wait to steal my stuff (OK, it's the company's stuff, but hey it's got MY porn on it, so that's like it's mine) and probably spit on my keyboard and give some horrible cube dweller disease.

    So I'm taking preemptive action by bitching and moaning about how everyone else here is dishonest. That way maybe they'll be scared to mess with my stuff, cause everybody knows that I'm on to them.
  • Easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Repton ( 60818 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:40AM (#22853696) Homepage

    Get the laptop case laser-engraved with goatse. Who's gonna steal it then?

  • by wernst ( 536414 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:55AM (#22853798) Homepage
    I'm going to get to a solution first, but you have other problems.

    For security, put up a webcam or two in your new cubicle: both overlooking your workspace. Make sure they are visible and have bright or blinking LEDs, so they'll be really noticed. Put up a warning sign saying that this space is remotely monitored and digitally recored. Even if it really isn't, the warning should be enough to keep the basic rif-raff away. Sometimes deterrence is better than physical security...

    Now then. Here's the real problem.

    You speak as if this notebook is your personal property. It really shouldn't be. Your company should be supplying you with the equipment you need to do your job, and if the company equipment gets stolen when you're not around, that's the company's fucking problem, not yours.

    Secondly, you say this notebook has an external monitor, standalone keyboard and separate mouse. That sure sounds like a desktop computer to me. Get one instead of the notebook, and the chances of your computer walking off are slim to none.

    Third, what place are you working in where you fear your stuff will be taken? I've done time in cubicles since 1988, in places ranging from digital sweatshops, to NASA-type work with spaceship software support, to fortune-500 joints. Never once have I ever had anything taken from my desk more serious than a stapler. I don't even lock the drawers or file cabinets.

    Maybe it's time to look for a new shop, since they don't supply you properly, kicked you out of your office, and they employ co-workers that you fear will steal your shit.
  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @02:12AM (#22854168)
    ...but, let me reiterate in case you've missed it: if you fear your personal property going walkies, there are two obvious solutions:

    1. Don't bring your personal property to work. I don't, even though I work in a very professional environment; this is no reflection on the people I have working alongside me, it's a reflection on the clients. I have no idea of house policies regarding contractors' equipment hence I don't take the chance that they'll say "Oh, you're missing the tools of your trade? Well, tough shit." I take what I need to get the job done and I do a head count before and after. And NO WAY IN HELL do I take my eyes off of anything with a screen (notebook, PDA, whatever). Heck, the only cash I take a £10 stash for a meal and a bus. Apart from my keys and the clothes on my back, and a wouldn't-want-to-steal-it Nokia 3410.

    2. Find another job. It's obvious you're insecure about your work environment, and who could blame you for making that decision? You're obviously not happy which must severely impact on your productivity.

    As to notebook security in and of itself, the two things I would do if I really needed to leave one onsite for remote login are: a. remove the battery. These are expensive to replace, and nobody in their right mind would consider buying a hot laptop with no battery, and b. put a supervisor and a user password on the BIOS (both different and nondictionary words), this renders the unit completely useless to anyone who doesn't have your memory and your battery, as obviously the moment they unplug it it will power off. As a postnote, mark the unit in such a way as to make it screamingly identifiable (such as the inside of the bezel in acid etch or the battery bay by the same method) without too much effort.
  • by Amigori ( 177092 ) * <eefranklin718 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @02:48AM (#22854288) Homepage
    Seriously, look his profile [] and you'll see 4, yes FOUR, comments over 6 years. I don't post that often, but I do read /. often. 1 Submission for 4 comments? Not a bad ratio.

    My On-Topic comments have all been covered by others, Get a Desktop, Webcams, Lockable cabinets, Leave your personal laptop at home, let the company handle it, etc.

    Makes me wonder if he just got kicked from one of the other sites... Or that his (personal) laptop is behind a work firewall blocking slashdot... Or that he was an arrogant jerk in the office that's about to get his comeuppance in the cube farm...

  • $30 webcam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @03:27AM (#22854404)
    Stick a $30 webcam under a pile of junk so it's not hugely obvious. You've already said your machine is networked all night. Leave it taking a shot every half second and uploading it to an external server.

    Sure, it'll still get stolen. Assuming your office has even basic security to ensure only known people enter, you'll also have a nice and recognizable picture of the thief on a machine they can't access. The next morning, you walk in, grab the image, have them pulled in front of their manager, demand the return of the laptop, have them fired and press charges.

    Honestly, the vast majority of cases where people have been convinced someone's stolen their stuff, everywhere I've worked, have turned out to be their misplacing things. Most likely, the theft rate is nowhere near what you fear it is.

    Locking your laptop in a big ol box is an ugly pain in the ass for little gain. Hell, if someone really wants it, a crowbar will get through most of them, bolt cutters will get through most chains. And it does nothing to protect the iPod, digital camera, phone, etc. you left beside it. A simple webcam, backing up externally, does a far better job of protecting everything so long as it's subtly enough hidden so no one has any idea they need to avoid being seen by it.

    The biggest problem with physical security measures... If someone's determined, they try forcing it. You may get lucky and not have them manage to get whatever they went for... But it'll likely get trashed in the process. The University of the West of England added those U plates to their PC cases, years back... All that happened was thieves trashed the cases. A few less got stolen but they were pretty much destroyed anyway. Having a picture of the thief with your still 100% intact laptop is way better than their trashing it, trying to get it out of a cage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 )
      The next morning, you walk in, grab the image, have them pulled in front of their manager, demand the return of the laptop, have them fired and press charges.

      Nice in theory, too bad it won't necessarily work out that way.

      True story:

      Where I work (with offices), a female manager noticed when she'd come in in the morning that items on her desk were misplaced, the computer was on when she'd turned it off and did exactly what you suggested, bought a webcam and left it running.

      Seems a member of the cleaning crew
  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @04:00AM (#22854516) Journal
    Besides, cable locks won't help me secure my the USB drive and other electronics that might wander off. The solution I imagine is a lockable, ventilated metal box that would sit under the monitor and house most of the electronics. If it was big enough, I could stick my laptop into it at night (while leaving it running) and feel confident that it would still be there in the morning. I'd be open to other types of solutions. Surely someone else must have dealt with this problem."

    This is a common problem and what you're looking for is called a desktop computer. It's a box that sits under the monitor with all the electronics enclosed inside. It even has fans and vents to keep it all working at a proper temperature. /sarcasm

    Seriously, the whole point of a laptop is that it's portable and convenient to carry around, which also makes it easy to steal. The desktop can do all the things you need and will probably be more powerful than your laptop and cost about the same as some kind of powered box for locking your laptop in.

    Then you can just leave the laptop locked in your drawer for when you need to work away from the desk.
  • by mnemotronic ( 586021 ) <mnemotronic AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @09:24AM (#22856094) Homepage Journal
    Don't leave anything small & valuable laying around. Turn the laptop off and take it home or lock it up. Same with USB drives. Stuff like mouse, kbd, printers, KVM and hubs/switches/routers are safe. Think "resale dollars / danger points". Big stuff has more danger points because it's harder to sneak out.

    [off-topic point] -- How are you connecting from home, i.e. are you using a company machine or your own? Don't use your own personal equipment to connect to the company network. Being a slash-dotter you're probably smart enough to keep a system virus-free, but there's always that rare zero-day exploit that could slip into the company via your machine - points off for you. Or someone else connecting from home who is less careful could introduce malware into the company network. After that is cleaned up, which will cost a lot of time and money, management will want the IT/Security dept to perform a binary colonoscopy on every personal PC ever connected to the network, and for HR to institute a policy stating: "connecting a non-company computer to the company network is grounds for termination". NOTE: A similiar policy is in place where I work.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.