Posted in: Information security, Latest News & Views
If you or any of your staff members frequently take a laptop on the road to do work, you’ll want to keep these laptop security keys in mind.
Although a lot of mobile security attention is being paid to smartphones and tablets, there’s a more old-fashioned portable computing device that can lead to plenty of security incidents if it isn’t used properly: a laptop.
In one recent example, a blood bank suffered a large data breach after several pieces of IT equipment, including a company laptop, were stolen out of an employee’s car. Sensitive information for nearly 300,000 people was stolen, along with information about the organization’s computer network that could be used to carry out a future attack.
To protect against those and other incidents, here are some laptop security keys you and your staff can keep in mind while taking a corporate or personal laptop on the road:
1. Encrypt, use password protection, etc.
There are a variety of simple things people can do to protect the data on a laptop, and which methods are chosen will depend on the sensitivity of the information the machine contains. The very basic protection all laptops should use: requiring a password to log in, says a recent article in PC World.
The next step, which can be taken if the data requires an additional layer of security, is to encrypt the laptop’s hard drive.
2. Be wary of unsecured Wi-Fi networks
Laptop security requires more than just locking the front door of the computer, so to speak — it’s also necessary to block any other holes cyber thieves may use to get access to sensitive information.
One of those holes can be open by using the free, public Wi-Fi networks commonly found in coffee shops, restaurants and other establishments. If you’re going to use one of those, it’s best to use a VPN client to encrypt the traffic. Also, it’s a good idea to disable file sharing and to verify the name of the network before connecting — data thieves sometimes set up bogus hotspots of their own to steal data from unsuspecting victims.
3. Practice good physical laptop security
It’s common sense, but it’s worth reminding laptop users to never leave the computer unattended for any amount of time. Also, laptops should be stored out of sight when in a parked car and kept in a safe in a hotel room, if possible.
According to some reports, thieves have started staking out those locations where people often bring expensive computing equipment.
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