Laptop Security – Are You Following Good Security Practices When Traveling?

I was recently sitting in an airport waiting to board my flight when I noticed another passenger leave their carry-on bags, along with a computer bag, unattended in the boarding area for at least five minutes. This person broke two important rules when traveling with a laptop. The first, they used a laptop bag and second, they left their bag unattended. Five minutes may not seem like a big deal, but five minutes is plenty of time for someone to walk away with an unattended computer bag.

Laptop Security - Are You Following Good Security Practices When Traveling?
Photo by Mike Licht,

If you are traveling with a laptop, what are some of the security precautions that you should take to ensure you don’t fall victim to laptop theft?

  1. As I hinted to above, ditch the computer bag and use one that is less conspicuous. Don’t carry your laptop in a computer bag because it makes it obvious to others that you are carrying a laptop.
  2. Always carry your laptop with you. Don’t check your laptop with the rest of your luggage.
  3. You wouldn’t leave your keys in your car, so don’t leave your passwords with your laptop. In the event that your laptop is stolen, a thief can’t do much with it unless they have your password.
  4. Keep your laptop on your lap or right beside you. You know what they say — out of sight, out of mind. If you put your laptop on the floor, it’s out of your sight and you may walk away without it.
  5. Don’t leave your laptop with the front desk. Many things go missing in hotels without explanations. If you can’t secure your laptop in your room, carry it with you.
  6. Invest in a security cable. Don’t assume a locked hotel room is a secure one. Purchase a locking cable so you can securely attach your laptop to the desk when you’re out of your room.
  7. Finally, it’s a good idea to encrypt the information on your laptop. In the event that a thief is able to log onto your laptop, they won’t be able to read your data.
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