How to Prevent Complete Disaster if Your Laptop is Stolen

Recently, an especially brazen thief stole a brand-new silver 13-inch MacBook Pro right out of a woman’s hands as she was working in a Starbucks in a south Seattle neighborhood. She lost pictures of her child, hours of school work, and of course, the computer. For some, this might not seem terribly catastrophic in today’s world of cloud computing. But for many, every important piece of their lives is on their laptop. If this sounds like you, here is how to prevent complete disaster if your laptop is stolen.

Use Dropbox to back up your files in case your laptop is stolen.Back up your files. Dropbox lets you back up all of your photos, docs, and videos on any of your computers, and allows you to share them wherever you are. With Dropbox, you create a Dropbox folder on all of your devices, and the file stored in your Dropbox folder will instantly be accessible via all other devices connected to Dropbox. The files are also instantly available on Dropbox.com. Whenever a file is modified, the changes will be instantly accessible via the other devices, too. Dropbox provides 2 GB for free, with subscriptions up to 100 GB available, and Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.

Back up your music. Apple recently announced a revolutionary way that iTunes will be backing up your music to the iCloud, but other services from Amazon and Google have also emerged into the market to help you back up your music collection. MP3tuneshas been another good option to back up your entire digital library in the event you may lose access to your computer in the future. Each of these solutions are good, but for varying needs. Take a look at each and see what fits best for you.

Encrypt those passwords. I cringe every time I use a friend’s computer and see a big, obvious document on their desktop titled “passwords.” Don’t be like my friends! Use a password vault and encryption program like LastPass to securely store and save your passwords. Then, if your computer should ever get stolen, you can log in to LastPass on another computer and kill all sessions currently running LastPass so that the thief will not have access to your passwords or bank account information.

Set an alarm. You can take those few easy steps to back up and protect your data, but that doesn’t change the fact that if your brand-new silver 13-inch MacBook Pro is stolen right out of your hands, you’re still out, well, a nice shiny new MacBook Pro. To help track down your MacBook, use an alarm app like Hidden to show you where it is and who has it. The app sits idle while it’s in your hands, but once you activate it upon theft, the Hidden will activate tracking anywhere on the planet, collect photos of the thief, and take screenshots of the computer in use. Pricing starts at just $15.

Having a computer stolen is not only a loss of material possession, but an insult to your personal security. These are just a few ideas about how to protect yourself and your data in the event that your laptop is stolen. Let us know if you have any other tips, tricks, or ideas in the comments.

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  • Ryan Gritt

    good stuff……Hidden looks pretty cool.

    • http://zagorath.wordpress.com Zagorath

      You should try out Prey, it’s pretty much the same, but completely free!

  • http://zagorath.wordpress.com Zagorath

    Can I recommend Prey, instead of Hidden? It’s free, open source, and does everything Hidden can do (and more). Geolocation, screenshots, photos from webcam, the option of an alarm sounding and a message being displayed, list of changed files within a specified directory, and lock the computer with a specific password.
    Check out my (incredibly amateurish, even by my standards) video about Prey. Hopefully you can see just how amazing it really is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wogNVbRXG0

    • http://educationipod.tumblr.com Education iPod

      I use Prey as well. It is an amazing open source program