Don’t Take Security for Granted or “Getting Robbed Sucks”

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Security|


Let me apologize for the severe lack of postings.  The dry spell is well warranted however.  Last Monday, I headed out for a weeklong vacation in the mountains of North Carolina.  We have a house up there and it’s really a great getaway.  It feels awesome (although a bit frustrating at times) to not be tied to your laptop, television, and hustle and bustle of the “real world”.  I got to sit by the stream, have a few beers, and just relax.

But it sucked, and here’s why.  The first leg of my vacation involved staying at a friends house in Charlotte.  We went out for a few beers and talked business – an all around good time.  But that night my truck was broken into.  Included in the heist was my cd player,  a chain saw, and my laptop (at least they were kind enough to leave my golf clubs).  For those of you who have been the victim of such a situation, you know it’s not the equipment that matters, it’s the data stored on it.

Invoices, passwords, bank information, personal data, financials, accounting ledgers, etc.  The list goes on and on for me and I’m sure it would for you as well.  One bright spot I suppose is that luckily I employed one of my previous posts and I had sufficient backups of all my data.  All I really must do is keep an eye out for identity theft, but other than that I’m okay.

I guess the moral of this hardship as well as this post is to not take your security for granted.  It CAN happen to you and at some point in your life it WILL happen to you.  All you can do is take the neccessary precautions.  Here are a few pointers to keep you safe and secure:

  • Backups
  • Backups
  • More backups.  The point here is to always back your data up.  A slight inconvenience now will save you a million headaches later
  • Don’t save passwords – especially to online banking or other personal information sites.  It’s really convenient but also pretty stupid.  I’ll make an exception for your desktop but not your notebook.
  • Encrypt sensitive data.  Again, a bit of a hassle now goes a long way later.
  • Utilize strong passwords and some form of screen lock software.  Assuming your less fortunate intruder is not a computer whiz but merely a drug fiend or common criminal, this should suffice for turning your laptop into a paperweight if it falls into the wrong hands.
  • Employ some form of loss prevention software such as LoJack for Laptops.  Maybe overkill for personal computing, but $49 bucks a year is a small price to pay for some added security.
  • Write down serial numbers and other identifying information.  Less than 1/3 of 1% of items are recovered (in Charlotte, NC) but this can be useful for the authorities when attempting to recover stolen equipment.
  • You would think this goes without saying, but not for me apparently.  Keep your laptop with you and not unattended.  Although, I’d have nothing to post about if I did that….

That’s all for now, I hope you take this one to heart and learn from my mistakes.  Condolences accepted but not required…

Class dismissed.

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5 Responses to “Don’t Take Security for Granted or “Getting Robbed Sucks””

  1. Adnan Says:

    Wow that’s a real bummer – sorry to hear about that. I can’t even imagine what would happen if I lost my computer – I better start making backups!

  2. Rashid Says:

    Wow. That really is unfortunate man. I had some problems a while back where someone had stolen my credit card information and used it online. It was a nightmare, but thankfully the bank returned all my money. I hope things turn out ok for you

  3. Brett Says:

    Thanks fellas.

    @Adnan – backups are so extremely important. I use an external harddrive, but dvds or online services work well too. Now go back everything up now!

    @Rashid – Sorry to hear that. I went ahead and changed all my banking info just to be safe. I’m sure the guy just stole it for crack or something, but I’m worried that a few months down the line it might end up in the hands of someone who can do something with the info. I’ll have to keep an eye out and be extra vigilant. Thanks again for the concern.

    BTW, great blogs – both of you!

  4. Rashid Says:

    Thanks brett