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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Prepare For The Theft Of Your PC? 262

A security-conscious Slashdot reader has theft insurance -- but worries whether it covers PC theft. And besides the hassles of recreating every customization after restoring from backups, there's also the issue of keeping personal data private. I currently keep important information on a hidden, encrypted partition so an ordinary thief won't get much off of it, but that is about the extent of my preparation... What would you do? Some sort of beacon to let you know where your stuff is? Remote wipe? Online backup?
There's a couple of issues here -- including privacy, data recovery, deterrence, compensation -- each leading to different ways to answer the question: what can you actually do to prepare for the possibility? So use the comments to share your own experiences. How have you prepared for the theft of your PC?
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Prepare For The Theft Of Your PC?

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  • distributed architecture.

    • Re:backups (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Humbubba ( 2443838 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:35AM (#54642169)
      Lots of options. Here's the important stuff:

      Hard Drive Encryption is the best solution, IMHO. There are Self Encrypting Drives (SEDs). Many solid state drives have encryption built in. Sweet. Nothing but fine. You gotta turn it on though. RTFM.

      PGP Hard Drive Encryption is great. And there's Bitlocker (Windows) too.

      Yes, backups are a very good idea. And backing up to or having your backups at multiple locations (Distributed Architecture), even better. But you gotta plan for updates. Just a thought: sensitive files should be encrypted, period. And if all your secret stuff is already encrypted, do you really need to encrypt your backup?

      Online backup services are available too, like Carbonite($). Good rep. Haven't tried 'em.

      For a full system image, trust Clonezilla - IFF you get it from the source (http://clonezilla.org/ [clonezilla.org]). It's straightforward, but read the docs anyway. There are other options, but I go with what I know. And I know that if you're moving from a Dell(x) to an Asus(y), a full system image might not be what you're looking for.

      For small stuff, like documents and files, you might think about copying to a Flash drive. Just a warning: they are notoriously easy to recover deleted files from.

      Don't forget to backup your .vimrc, if you're into Vim. I forget every time.

      • Backblaze allows you to create a private key so only you can decrypt your backups. https://www.backblaze.com/back... [backblaze.com]
        • Read the reviews [facebook.com].

          Lost my Hard Drive. Everything backed up to BB. BB Takes a week to put on a drive to FEDEX. After 4 days I get a notice that they had a network error and my order was cancelled. So i was directed to place he same order again. I'm on week 2. Still no drive from Fedex. BB Support cannot tell me how much longer this will be. However they appreciate my patience, which is nice. You can store all the info in the world. But if it's taking 2 weeks to get 1.5 TB to a customer you are missing the point. Expectations are two days not two weeks. You have to do better.

          Backblaze: Sorry to hear you had an issue with the restores Bill. We are working hard to speed them up so that you can get your data back quickly! Rest assured that as soon as the 1.5TB is copied on to a hard drive - it'll get shipped overnight to you.

    • In Windows, I've enabled OneDrive, and not only that, I make that my primary storage. Yeah, there's all those cries about privacy, but being able to retrieve my data seamlessly outweighs that. While none of my computers have ever been stolen, I did have a WinBook die on me, so it was very useful to be able to retrieve my stuff from the OneDrive backup.

      I do wish such a mechanism existed for things like FreeBSD: dunno about Linux. Have something like an automatic backup to Dropbox (or any cloud storage o

    • I used to roll my own remote cron backups but when Crashplan came along I stopped. The problem with all other backup services out there is that even if they let you store as much as you liked the problem is 1) restores are a hideous problem at network speeds . 2) how do you validate the backups 3) Dump level 0 initial backups take forever.

      Crash plan solves this. They let you use your own disks attached to a computer at your friends house. (presumably you return the favor). The initial backup is done loca

  • Buy a bullet and rent a gun.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2017 @03:32AM (#54641557)

    Most (almost all burglars / robbers) don't care about the contents of your machine, only what they can sell it for. And they certainly aren't going to be capable crackers.
    Have a password to make turning it on a dead end run disc image backups as your best way of storing all your data and settings, if you can replace with similar out identical h/w you only have to restore and away you go.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert.slashdot@firenzee@com> on Sunday June 18, 2017 @04:18AM (#54641645) Homepage

      This...

      Insurance will cover the cost of replacing the hardware, backups take care of recovering the data, just make sure the backups don't get stolen/destroyed with the machine.

      If the thief can't power the machine on due to a password they will either throw it away, or sell it cheap to someone more capable of dealing with it who will either wipe the data and install fresh or just sell the individual components.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

        just make sure the backups don't get stolen/destroyed with the machine.

        That's why backups you want available are stored in the cloud. And backups you want secret are stored on an encrypted USB drive. Lose the computer, the data you want is around. And the stuff you'd rather have destroyed than leaked is inaccessible. Best of both worlds.

      • Insurance is for catastrophic claims. Just making a claim like this will raise your premiums for the next five years. You can't win with those bastards.

        Get a giant friendly dog and a pump 12 gauge loaded with #5 (so it won't overpenetrate and kill the neighbor's kid in her bed, also 'has a good spread').

    • "Power On Password"

      I required it for every portable in the Firm.

      We had a break in and a laptop was among the items taken.

      The police brought the portable to me and I opened it up. They let me have it back.

  • Fixed that for you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    An anal-retentive Slashdot reader

    Encryption is all you need, stop worrying! Unless your "thief" is the FBI.

  • I just keep my passwords DB in an encrypted container.
  • backups + encryption (Score:3, Informative)

    by kiminator ( 4939943 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @03:35AM (#54641569)

    For privacy, the simplest and most helpful thing to do is use full-disk encryption for your hard drive. This will significantly increase the amount of effort required to access your data and any online accounts (e.g. bank accounts).

    For data, I just store all of my sensitive data on the cloud (e.g. tax returns, personal documents). If you have large amounts of important data such as photos, you may have to pay a monthly fee for good cloud storage. But it's definitely worth it. There are many, many other things that can go wrong besides theft that can cause data loss.

    It's also good to practice good online account security (e.g. using 2-factor authentication), and make sure to reset all of your critical passwords in the event of theft of a computer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Interesting how many people are saying encryption, encryption, encryption. That's not really going to help if they steal the only (encrypted) copy of your data. Backups are also a pain because you still need to restore everything, and unless you're restoring to exactly identical hardware you'll need to reinstall your OS and then by extension any apps on it.

      My anti-theft measure is a hardened steel cable through a metal plate on my PC and then the metal frame of the desk it's at. Try stealing that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Anyone with a dremel can steal it in 1 minute.

        The question is not how to prevent theft, but how do you prepare for it.
      • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @10:40AM (#54642471)

        My anti-theft measure is a hardened steel cable

        Unless you're talking about something like the support cables for the Golden Gate Bridge, I've never seen a cable that couldn't be defeated by a decent pair of bolt cutters.

      • bolt cutters trump your hardened steel cable. secondly I doubt the rest of your machine is so well hardened that the mount for that steel cable that if I picked it up a gave it a good pull with my body weight that it wouldn't give way, sure it damages the machine but what does a thief care, still get sellable parts and potentially your data if you don't use encryption.
        • What sort of burglars are you expecting that drive around with a trunk full of heavy engineering tools that they carry into each house they break into on the remote chance they'll need them? The typical burglary is: go to the house looking as inconspicuous as possible (hint: carrying bolt cutters and power tools and whatnot is a dead giveaway that you're not a door-to-door salesman), force entry, grab anything easily accessible in the 30-45s before the alarm goes off, get out.

          In my case it'd take them the

          • by gravewax ( 4772409 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @01:15AM (#54645373)
            heavy engineering tools? crowbars or bolt cutters are pretty much stock tools for thieves, my house was burgled 2 years ago, they used bolt cutters on the back door security screen and lockon pliers to grip and break the backdoor deadlock. police said this is pretty well standard entry in the area, it is fast, easy and relatively quiet and everyone from kids to professional thieves use this method.
  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @03:43AM (#54641587)

    My laptop is bitlocker encrypted. All my stuff is synced to a several hundred MB Seafile library. Modern Windows with online accounts takes care of backing up customisations quite well too. A lot of open source apps especially store customisations in a file, they are in a Seafile library.

    The only thing I'll lose if someone steals my laptop is the $200 insurance cost and a few hours of my time reinstalling a few programs.

    • Maybe that was supposed to say several hundred GB... A few hundred MB doesn't get me very far.

      • A few hundred MB's is generally more than enough for the average work laptop. It is only home users with photos etc that have requirements for large backups. My work machine can easily be backed up in 200MB, this will include all my current documents I am working on and my bookmarks etc. Everything else is completely disposable, source code is in repository, mailbox is duplicated on a server.
  • Full loaded with its .44 special cartridges, works better than any backup as a deterrent against laptop thieves.
    • Full loaded with its .44 special cartridges, works better than any backup as a deterrent against laptop thieves.

      Unless the potential thieves know you have a weapon and reckon that you will:
      a) be prepared to use it
      b) be at home when they break in
      c) would not be deterred by their greater force or number

      Then all that being armed does is make you (mistakenly) feel more secure. It's nothing more than a safety blanket for you to hide behind.

    • by Zedrick ( 764028 )
      So you're prepared to kill people just because they want to steal your laptop? That's quite sad, even if you happen to live in a place like Somalia.
      • I'm prepared to kill anyone that walks in my house uninvited, the fact that you aren't is sad.

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          You sound like a real nutter. You're probably American, right?
          • What are you supposed to do, wait and find out what the person breaking in plans to do and whether they're armed? This isn't onerous or crazy. Just don't break in to people's houses unless you're willing to be shot.
      • So you're prepared to kill people just because they want to steal your laptop?

        I wouldn't kill them, I'd probably just wing 'em.

    • by ACE209 ( 1067276 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:19AM (#54642123)

      Yes Sir, but the question here was: What if all fails and the valuable piece of equipment has fallen victim to thieves?

      And here I suggest, first and foremost, a bottle of tequila to wash away the pain.

      And to gather some courage to detonate the thermo-nuclear charge, which was thoughtfully placed in the device, for just such cases.

      Oh, and backups and encryption the people here are talking about sound like a wise thing too.

    • Full loaded with its .44 special cartridges, works better than any backup as a deterrent against laptop thieves.

      Do you have a fully autonomous Smith and Wesson 29 at home? Or is your solution highly dependent on your involvement in which case it's unlikely the laptop would get stolen in the first place.

      #fuckingamericans

    • I know you're trolling. That cannon overpenetrates for a neighborhood. Gonna shoot a kid through 3 walls.

      Save it for Grizzly hunting, backup weapon.

  • by locater16 ( 2326718 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @03:53AM (#54641603)
    Seriously? Well, sure why not.

    If you're going to go that far just use Tails OS and backup the encrypted volume on some cheap cloud storage. You have backup, you have encryption, and even some theoretical thief doesn't get any of it, short of kidnapping you and hitting you a bunch with a hammer.
  • by xfade551 ( 2627499 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @03:54AM (#54641605)
    Just build a gigantic tower PC with full water cooling rig, in a case with no good grip points, then strap it to the leg of your desk with plumber's tape and screws with security torx heads.
    • I was thinking that one of those mineral oil cooled PC's is absolutely not something that I want following me home. Not the entire tankm not the parts lifted out of the tank... none of it is allowed in my home or my car. Thats some strong theft protection right there.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @04:02AM (#54641617)

    First, track down one of those Dell laptops from the early 2000s - the two-inch thick ones which used desktop processors and weighed something like ten pounds.

    Then take the ginormous power brick from that laptop, hollow it out, and hide your MacBook in there.

  • Some questions to start with:
    1.) Why keeping a hidden encrypted partition?

    Its easier and more secure to have FDE in place because some programm .. perhaps notepad++ might buffer for example the text files that contain your passwords (password managers have some security issues themself).

    2.) Backups / local & online "offsite"

    Do you maintain the internet connection for your parents? .. put a small remote controlled server there and store only encrypted data on it.

    encrypt backups too :)

    here is how I do it:

    • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      Are you sure you are important enough as a person to warrant that much effort?

      • by burni2 ( 1643061 )

        Simple and short answer: Yes.

        I value my data, my privacy and the data integrity to be important enough to warrant that much effort .. and from my point of view, people that don't, will realize that later, what they lost, but only when it happens.

        I'm aware of the dangers of the offline and the online world and as such I take the neccessary precaution not to get worried over the awareness.

        Example, my house burns down I buy a cheap computer and restore my data from the root server.

        And that much effort .. you r

      • Are you sure you are important enough as a person to warrant that much effort?

        The victims 'importance' (or lack thereof) has little to do with data security. Once your device (PC/tablet/mobile/whatever) is lost or stolen, what happens next could just be for the Lulz...

        Case in point. A friend of mine lost her mobile phone. It was found by nefarious folks who got into it and-

        • -changed all her social media passwords
        • - logged onto her email (without changing the passwords) and impersonated her to her contacts and family
        • - WRECKED her eBay account, which was her primary source of income
        • - e
  • Revealing data (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @04:32AM (#54641679)

    First, the cost of repairs after a break-in will far exceed the value of your PC. And in addition, the increased insurance premiums will probably dwarf the repair costs, too.

    Most burglaries are drugs-related. All the thief wants is to get in, grab enough to pay for their next fix and run away. All this stuff about organised robberies, knowing what to look for, recognising a pearl in the pigsh... , thefts to facilitate hacking - that only happens in bad movies.

    There is not a housebreaker in the world who has any technical knowledge. All they will see is a PC-shaped box. And being a PC, it's resale value is negligible. it probably isn't even worth carrying to their car. I would suggest buying a broken Macbook or iPhone as a decoy and leaving that as a "sacrifice". Being instantly recognisable and easily portable, that would be stolen in preference to what you actually value.

    If you are still worried that a thief will steal all your little secrets, then the simple solution is to run Linux. Anyone in the thief's circle will not recognise that as being Windows and they will therefore toss the PC at the earliest opportunity.

    • All this stuff about organised robberies, knowing what to look for, recognising a pearl in the pigsh... , thefts to facilitate hacking - that only happens in bad movies.

      It happens in real life too, but only if your home is worth north of $5 million or when your job already prevents you from having sensitive data on personal devices.

      Yeah... if you live in a shitty basement apartment because you miss mom... nobody is breaking in looking for pearls. They are looking for small electronics, cash, and any drugs you got.

    • Break-in reports in my area indicate the robbers locating and taking security DVRs, cutting fiber/phone/cable lines, and working methodically for high-value items.

      Ultimately though, the best strategy for protecting your PC is to not have much on it. Keep your data on a NAS/small server or three locked in a heavy cabinet secured to the floor.
  • How do I prepapre for the theft? I have Prey installed https://www.preyproject.com/ [preyproject.com] , and leave the machine unlocked and unencrypted. When it was stolen, the police arrested the thief within 90 minutes of him switching the machine on. (This works, of course, becase thieves are not smart.)

    For really confidential stuff, we have other secure machines and procedures. The notebooks are for daily work.

  • by shatteredsilicon ( 755134 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @04:45AM (#54641697)

    Material loss: Insurance (read the small print and make sure you get a policy that covers it).

    Privacy loss: Encrypt the disk. Commercial and open source full disk encryption software is easily available.

    Data loss: Backups. Plenty of affordable online backup/storage solutions are available, some specialising in specifically in backups (Backblaze, Crashplan), others that are more generic (Amazon Drive, Google Drive).

  • by squarefish ( 561836 ) * on Sunday June 18, 2017 @05:31AM (#54641781)
    Biological weapons work best.
  • Like most, I like my desaster recovery to be hassle free. I've found the most important aspect of this to be dedicated HDDs for this. I use 2.5" external 0.5 or 1TB HDDs. On macOS TimeMachine and on linux BackInTime. Same thing.

    The external USB HDDs have labels on them, like "(HOSTNAME) TimeMachine" or "(HOSTNAME) BackInTime". I don't use these for anything else. This is important!

    TimeMachine / BackInTime cover my main users home dir. Pure and simple.

    For archiving I have two seperate USB HDDs of the same ty

  • ... encrypted HDD or homedir. Really important if you don't want a stolen computer leading to ID theft and a large type fuckup of your life.

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @06:16AM (#54641841) Homepage Journal

    So I was at the receiving end of a burglary last year. The wife woke me up because she heard something. And in some sort of half-sleep/half-awake state, I stormed down and charged at the two guys that were riffling through our possessions.

    Thank god I live in Europe so burglars aren't armed or anything. They ran away to the front door and tried to escape. I ran after them and when they were opening the front door, attacked them. At some point during the pushing and shoving, I woke up and thought -- what the fuck do I actually care?

    So I said "okay guys, let's stop here. I haven't actually seen your faces and I'm not looking" (I started staring at the floor) "and I don't really care, just take that stuff and go". They took off and I called the cops. They took fingerprints and stuff but never caught them.

    They took an iPad, a MacBook and some money. I remote-locked the iPad, and realized I had Prey [preyproject.com] running on the MacBook. I switched the MacBook to "lost mode" but one year later, it appears they formatted the drive before connecting to the internet. The files on the MacBook weren't encrypted, the iPad was.

    Lessons learned:
    - I got most of the value back through the insurance
    - Install Prey or some other remote locking software stuff
    - Don't go and fight burglars, it's not worth it

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >Thank god I live in Europe so burglars aren't armed or anything.

      Yes, in Europe people that break into your house never carry any sort of weapon. And they are generally nice fellows that you can share a pint with afterward.

    • They took off and I called the cops. They took fingerprints and stuff but never caught them.

      Yeah, that's how it goes with police.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Thank god I live in Europe so burglars aren't armed or anything.

      Umm, no. Knives are a thing. And I can show you where you can (legally) buy a handgun within the EU (Schengen area). And then drive it anywhere you want, strict gun laws or not.

    • - Don't go and fight burglars, it's not worth it

      You're lucky. Even in Europe burglary is becoming more violent, and contrary to the US, there is no my house, my castle legislation. You're lucky, because you were able to have the time to assess the situation and discuss with the burglars. If intent were different or drugs were at play, most likely it would have a totally different outcome.

      • If intent were different or drugs were at play, most likely it would have a totally different outcome.

        Yup. The burglars were two youngsters who were just as afraid as I was. I was very, very lucky indeed, and I very much agree with you on the other points.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @06:45AM (#54641875)
    Instead of encrypted partitions (or as well as them) I'd say it's best to not put things that are most useful to a thief on there at all. Bank account details do not have to be saved for example. Scans of documents that could be used for identity theft - not the permanent place for them either.
    While a thief could do a social engineering attack on another using your email settings (another reason to not autosave a password) it's more hard work than them getting your banking details.

    IMHO the likelihood of theft is why certificate only logins to VPNs or ssh are an extremely bad idea especially on laptops and tablets. Sure, use a cert, but if there is no passphrase than any thief or script kiddie that 0wns the device can get into whatever you can get into.
  • Simples (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thsths ( 31372 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @07:07AM (#54641913)

    1. Backup
    2. Enough money to buy a new one
    3. Encryption

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Yup.

      If you're "recreating your configuration", it means your backups are incomplete.

      You have to expect to never get that item back, most thieves will just wipe it and sell it on really quickly. They are also not loathe to just destroy it if they can't get rid of it safely or if they think it might be being tracked.

      If you encrypt EVERYTHING (why would you only encrypt a small part?), they can never access it. P.S. this also makes them more likely to wipe it, or just destroy it for parts.

      Amazing how people

  • Drive encryption on, Backup to Hidden NAS in the house, backup to encrypted cloud storage.

    Really trivial solutions that have been available for everyone for over half a decade now.

  • One that goes off when the move the tower. Then there will be no data for them to steal. And no them to steal data.
  • 250g of C4, shaped charge directed at the place where the user is sitting.
    As soon as it gets activated and decides via its network connection that it is at the wrong place in the universe, it gets triggered.
    An additional termite charge in the hard drives should make sure it can not be traced back to me ...

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      And then your DHCP-setup changes unexpectedly. If you survive, I am sure they will find you a nice, permanent space in prison, as you surely are a terrorist that blew himself up by being stupid.

      • First of all I obviously was joking.
        Secondly how the funk should my DHCP set up suddenly change?
        And thirdly, why would that fake/fluke my location in any way if it changed?

  • Full Image of hard drive on an external hard drive of flash drive.

  • As a general rule for my side business, all data resides on the file server and the backup hard drive in the Red Hat Linux box. I'm not overly concern about my inexpensive laptop or gaming rig being stolen. The file server and RHL box are locked down with Kensington cable locks [amzn.to]. This, of course, doesn't prevent a determined thief from stealing these systems. It does deter the casual thief who is looking to get in and out in a hurry.
  • 1. Power-on password that's reasonably (but not stupidly) strong.
    2. Full-disk encryption.
    3. External backups of critical data.
    4. Mitigate risk of theft happening in the first place.

    To be fair, I only do #1 and #4 currently. Though I'm supposed to be doing #2 as part of company policy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2017 @12:05PM (#54642689)

    I used to be the "crack" man for a couple of home burglars. IE, I used to unknowingly crack windows passwords, reinstall OS's, etc for some guys who would break into houses and steal shit. They told me that they'd buy the laptops for cheap at flea markets, and flip them. I of course didn't believe it, so I started recording serial numbers around the 3rd laptop. Funny enough, eventually I buddied up with them and one of them came clean with what they do and how they do it. (Wanting me to do more laptops at a bulk discount.) I agreed, did a few more for them, and then submitted all the serial numbers, text messages, and license plates to the police... In all I cracked/reinstalled around 20 computers, only a couple came back as hits as stolen by the police.

    After that, I had to get serious about defense. If those fuckers ever put two and two together, they'll know who busted them. On top of this, I have tens of thousands of easily steal-able computer stuff too.

    So here is what I learned working with professional thieves:
    1) They want to get in as quick and quite as possible.
    2) They want to get in when no one is home (9am-3pm)
    3) They want to be not visible from the road, but close to the main road. (So back side of apartment buildings.)
    4) They want to be in and out in 3-5minutes. Thus negating burglar alarms.
    5) They're looking for easy to steal stuff. Laptops,Guns, Money/IDs, Video Games, Video Game Consoles, TV's, PC's, anything else (in that order).
    6) They don't have a soul, they don't give a shit about you or your stuff.

    Here is how you prevent your PC from being stolen:
    1) Start with making your home difficult to break in:

    Most entries are through an exterior door, generally by kicking it in. Replace all striker plates with a 4 screw system that has at least 2 2-inch long screws. Replace or add a metal plate around the lock of the door. You can do both of these in an apartment, and turn 1 kick entry into a 10 kick, possible no entry.

    If you own the home your self, replace all exterior doors and door frames with steal frames. Metal doors and metal frames are extremely difficult to kick in.

    Next are the windows. Keep all windows locked on every floor! A thief can easily climb up to a second story window and open it. Next, make your windows break proof. Some fire paranoid people will say don't do this, but home thief is much more common than breaking a window and jumping out of it during a fire. There are several security films that you can apply to a window that can make it withstand repeated attempts to smash it in with a hammer. Please note, this is EVERY window. Don't think a thief will shimmy in a busted garage door glass... These people are scum of the earth.

    If you have a garage door, make sure the door opener opener is not using a common opening system. I don't know too much about garage security, so do some research.

    Buy a doorbell camera. Make sure they can see it. This also helps great with UPS.

    Finally, stick some home security stickers around your house. Make sure they're of real security companies. Even if you don't have service, a thief isn't going to pick your house if its difficult to get in, and the neighbor's is easier.

    2) Securing your PC.

    Once a thief is in your home, there isn't really much you can do. The main thing is, you have to make getting what they want so difficult that it'll take longer than 5 minutes. Easily frustrated, thieves are on a clock, and will just grab the easy to get stuff and run.

    IF you have a laptop, this means one of those security cables. Although a decent wire cutter (which some thieves will have with them) will slice through them with ease. So with that in mind, unless you keep your laptop in a anchored safe, it's gone. Get insurance. Ditto with video game consoles, video games, etc.

    The PC is a little different beast. Short of having a complete anchored rack cabinet with locks, there are two things you can do (one of which I currently do, the other I will pro

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I forgot to mention the second thing to do with PCs, that I currently don't do.

      Buy a cheap smart cellphone, with bare minimum service. Wire the usb charger to your computer. Mute the phone. And that's it! You have a cheap lo-jack system. It charges when the computer is on, it has 2 days battery life when the computer is off. Install a program that feeds you GPS coordinates if you send it a text. (There are a couple apps that do this.) Give that number/commands to the cops when you report your stuff stolen.

  • Do real, clean shutdowns every time. Yes, it is more effort, but you can either have security or convenience, not both. Apart from that, backups. You may want to put everything important in an SVN or GIT repository and sync whenever you are online.

  • except cry when they take my PC away
  • I use Bitlocker drive encryption and have my Documents/pictures/music etc on my dropbox. This arrangement prepares me for lost/stolen computers as well as (far more common) hardware failures. It also gives me near-real-time sync to my other PCs as well.

    There are some nice bonuses to this arrangement.

    I (via my unlimited data) sync my photos to my PCs with dropbox automagically in near real-time.

    I can pull up password safe on my Android Phone from my dropbox-made-available-offline psafe3 file.

  • Safe neighbourhoods count for a lot. No one's breaking into my house.

  • I'd prefer to simply stay up all night, lying in wait and stroking my gun. But my government won't let me have one. Something about being a danger to myself or others.

"Be there. Aloha." -- Steve McGarret, _Hawaii Five-Oh_

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