Laptop Safety Tips
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 00:01
Imagine carrying a book-size item that contains virtually every aspect of a college student’s life, from old lecture notes and new essay drafts to family photos and important contacts. To someone from a past generation, that’s science fiction. But today’s students, it describes one’s laptop computer, yet with that convenience comes paranoia over protection.
Amid the recent scare involving the hacking of the popular plug-in JAVA and with laptop theft an ongoing concern on campus, it is worth reflecting on simple ways we can all secure what is many students’ most valuable possession.
Although every student on campus is repeatedly told to never leave their laptops unattended, dozens of laptops continue to get stolen every year. To ease the blow — or perhaps even prevent it — that not only results from having over $1,000 and vital academic or sentimental documents fall down the proverbial drain, you can invest in installing tracking software for your laptop. LoJack, Prey and Apple’s built-in Find My Mac programs are all good options. Even simply writing down the serial number of your device — which is written on the receipt of purchase — can be helpful in tracking down a lost or stolen laptop.
Most students know to avoid suspicious websites and emails. But these precautions tend to fall by the wayside when it comes to streaming the latest episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” To avoid getting a virus, it is vital to back up your data on a regular basis. Signing up for a Dropbox.com account or purchasing an external hard drive are easy ways to back up the mountain of documents, photos, and the like on your computer.
University Information Systems — located in St. Mary’s Hall — is also a valuable and underutilized resource. If you suspect your computer’s software has been damaged or otherwise compromised, the technicians there — comprised of both undergraduates and professionals — will be able to help, or at the very least, identify the problem.
A laptop is a true staple of college life, and students should consider taking every possible measure to protect it.