Protect your laptop data from theft – Here’s how

Unfortunately it’s not always possible to avoid theft. If the safe in your hotel was too small or the reception desk was too far away or you simply had all eyes and ears on the person you were talking to in the café, it may already be too late. And just like that, your laptop is gone! Going to the police will often frustratingly be of little help, and your laptop will be lost forever.

However, your personal data is much more important than the hardware. Whether you have backups or not, no unauthorized person should ever get their hands on your private photos, important documents or business e-mails. The same applies to saved login details for payment services, social networks or online shops.

Here are our tips on how to effectively protect your laptop data from being stolen

  • Secure your OS using a password
    Passwords are often disabled for the sake of convenience. They do provide a small hurdle for thieves though, by keeping unauthorized people from accessing your data at least in the short term. You can set a password at any time using the Windows Control Panel section “User accounts”. The password should be as long as possible and also contain numbers and upper-case letters. However, if someone is really keen on getting their hands on not only the hardware but your data as well, they will stop at nothing. After all, simply reinstalling the OS is sufficient to gain access to any unencrypted content on your hard drive.
  • Encrypt your hard drive

    If your hard drive is encrypted with a highly secure encryption method, only those who know the password will be able to gain access to its content. You do not even have to encrypt the entire hard drive, just the files, folders or partitions that contain your sensitive information. For more information and tips on software, please see our article Protection using hard drive encryption – not only for laptops!.
  • Back-up regularly

    Not only is it important to prevent others from getting their hands on certain files, but also to prevent your data from being lost to you forever in the event that your notebook is stolen. We therefore recommend that you backup your data to a secure location, such as storage at home or in the cloud.
  • Use a tracking service

    There are a few programs and services around that enable you to track hardware that has gone missing. The odds may not be especially high, but this may be a worthwhile investment for expensive laptops or business devices in particular.
  • For modern laptops with Intel CPU: Use Anti-Theft Technology (AT-p)

    Intel® Anti-Theft Technology enables locking of a laptop even before booting. Even exchanging the hard drive is ineffective at bypassing this protection mechanism, so the hardware is basically worthless to the thief.


Have a nice (malware-free) day!

Your Emsisoft Team