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Keeping Your Laptop Secure

  1. Make sure your security software has not expired.  If it has expired, renew or replace it immediately.  Bowdoin provides Sophos Anti-Virus software free to students and employees.
  2. Update the anti-virus, anti-spyware and software firewall before you use your laptop.
  3. Check to make sure that patches and updates are current.
    Not sure how to keep your software up-to-date?  Contact a computer consultant or the IT Help Desk at (207) 725-3030 (faculty/staff) or (207) 721-5050 (students).
  4. On the road, pick your wireless hotspot connection carefully.  Don't log on to any public hotspot that presents you with an invalid security certificate.
  5. Turn off the wireless adapter when you are not using it.  This will help prevent hackers from breaking into your laptop wirelessly and increases battery life.
  6. Avoid using computer bags.  They make it obvious that you're carrying a laptop.  Tote your laptop in something common like a padded briefcase, suitcase, or backpack.
  7. Never leave access numbers or passwords attached to your laptop or in your carrying case.
  8. Carry your laptop with you.  When traveling always take your laptop on the plane rather than checking it with your  luggage.
  9. Keep your eye on your laptop.  When you go through airport security, don't lose sight of it.
  10. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor.  Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget, lose track of it, or step on it.  If you must put it down, place it between your legs.
  11. Buy a laptop security device.  If you need to leave your laptop in a room or at your desk, use a laptop security cable to securely attach it to a heavy chair, table, or desk.
  12. If you must store confidential or restricted data on your laptop, use encryption software.

The information above is from a SANS Institute newsletter (May 2009).

More information at Microsoft Laptop Security and OnguardOnline.

Last updated May 11, 2009

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Last modified:
Oct 02, 2009