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October 26, 2008


Adam P.

I especially like his suggestion to leave it at home. Seems out of place in an article on how to take your computer with you.

I've done quite a bit of research in this department and I'd like to offer some additional information:

Mac users with iSight can setup the computer so it automatically takes photos of the user sitting in front of the screen on invalid login attempts, and then emails those pictures to a specified email. I'm not a Mac user so I cant go into too much detail, but a quick google search will give you all you need.

I'm a PC user, and I have successfully Lo-Jacked my PC. Here's what I've done:

1. I changed my bios to only boot from hard drive. This setting prevents someone from sticking a CD or USB into the computer and trying to do a fresh install of a new operating system bypassing my security.

2. I password protected my bios. This only reinforces my settings from 1. The bios can be reset, but not by the ordinary computer user or small-time thief.

3. I set my computer to automatically login. This may seem counterintuitive, why would I want to HELP the theif login to my computer? I have several reasons, but I'll give two. First, a successful login is essential to step 4. Second, if the thief can login, the chances are better he'll try to sell it or at least keep it instead of trashing the computer and ruining any chance I had at recovery.

4. This step really pulls the others together. I've installed LocatePC. LocatePC is a small program that sends the user an email with the computer's current IP address every time the computer is booted up. Essentially, my laptop "calls home" every time I turn it on. A quick search of the IP will reveal the location, service provider and other useful information.

So here's how I EXPECT this to play out. The thief takes my computer. He gets it home and decides to check out his loot. Maybe he's paranoid, or he's done this before, so he tries to do a fresh install to erase whatever is currently on the computer. To his suprise the computer skips right past starting from CD or USB and goes straight to Windows. Now the thief probably thinks he'll just take a shot at cracking the password, but SUPRISE, no password is required and he's automatically logged into Windows. The thief thinks to himself, "this is too easy". MAYBE a super-sophisticated thief looks for a program that might tattle on him and give away his location, but since LocatePC works in the background, he's none the wiser. Meanwhile, I check my email and find the message with his IP. I do a quick google search and me and the fuzz are at his door in no time. It isnt fullproof, but it is VERY close.

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Lawyer,Poet, author, educator. Practices real property, corporation, wills, trusts and estates law in Pinellas County, Florida. Writes the FutureLawyer column. Gives seminars on technology and the law. Author of "Life is Simple, Really", Poems about Life, Loving, Family and Fun, and "Poems For Lovers".
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