A properly secured laptop in 5 steps

by Dirk and MarjanBe inspired22/11/2016

A properly secured laptop in 5 steps
Laptops are small, light and portable. Those features don’t just come in handy for you, but for thieves as well. So how do you make sure your data is safe, should your laptop fall into the wrong hands? These 5 tips gets you started.

  1. Do you really need to keep all that data on your laptop?

    With the advent of cloud services such as OneDrive for Business, keeping your documents, spreadsheets, music, images and video in the cloud instead of on your hard drive is a piece of cake. So if your laptop gets stolen, you might have lost your device, but not your data. So take some time to weigh the pros and cons: does all that data really need to be on your laptop?

  2. Use a password

    Just like smartphones and tablets, it’s a good idea to secure your laptop with a password. When you use your device for the first time, you’ll be asked to choose a password. Make sure you do this! And take care not to make your choice too obvious. So how do you choose a good password?

  3. Start-up from a CD or USB-stick? Not a good idea

    …because even the starting hacker knows quite some tricks and software to get around the password problem. But most of these require a laptop to be started from a CD or USB-stick. Luckily, you can tell your laptop not to allow these kinds of start-ups. But… it does require you to go into your laptop’s BIOS, the built-in software that, amongst other things, takes care of the start-up process.

    To access the BIOS, press F1, F4, F10 or F12 immediately after start-up. This depends on your brand of laptop. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to your local computer shop or expert. After all, messing about in BIOS settings can really play havoc with your computer. Oh, and while you’re there, ask them to secure the BIOS itself with it’s own password, just as an extra precaution.

  4. Encrypt your hard disk

    If a thief is really out to get your data, he’ll probably remove your hard disk and try to access it on another computer. Even the best BIOS-security won’t prevent that. So, a further step is to encrypt your hard disk. 

    Encrypted disks only work when you enter the right password or pin code. That key or code can also be on a special USB-stick you have to insert in order to be able to work. Some versions of Windows have a built-in encryption software (called BitLocker), but VeraCrypt or DiskCryptor are great alternatives, and they also work on Macs.

  5. Use a VPN-connection

    Are you always on the lookout for free wifi in hotels, coffee shops and airports? No one cam blame you, because that often comes in quite handy. But you should be aware that these networks often pose serious security risks. There are a lot of programs out there that allow hackers and cyber criminals to steal passwords and data via unsecured wifi networks.

    So always try to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network when you login to these services. A VPN is a kind of secure “tunnel” between your laptop and the internet that makes it a lot more difficult for cyber criminals to get to your data.
    There are free VPN services out there, but they are often quite slow. Paying services, and there are dozens of those, are usually a lot faster. 
    By the way, wifi hotspots on the FON-network are always secured. And as a Proximus-customer, you have free access to those, anywhere in the world.

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  • OneDrive for Business
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