Laptop security has become increasingly essential for fighting the potential damages caused by the theft or leaking of personal and corporate information. Theft of laptops can result in unsecured information being used by a third party to gain access to bank accounts, mobile phones and other sensitive areas. At the same, a stolen or hijacked company laptop can become a security risk if it contains confidential information or passwords for a closed network. Pursuing laptop encryption consequently becomes a valuable way to reduce these risks, while ensuring that information can not be easily retrieved. The more specific benefits of laptop encryption can be found below:
1 – Securing Personal Data
A laptop may contain links to your bank account, as well as records of passwords and security questions. Having a password saved on your desktop or elsewhere on a laptop can be particularly problematic if the same password is used for multiple Internet sites. A laptop that contains detailed records of financial transactions, qualifications and personal history also becomes attractive to thieves if they can use that information to imitate your identity.
The financial losses incurred by this identity theft can be difficult to fully recover, and can be hard to claim back if you have not followed basic encryption protocols. At the same time, an unencrypted laptop might contain personal family photographs and other items that could be used against you in the event of a theft.
Encryption programs can be used to password protect a laptop, while creating different levels of security for different parts of a computer. Different passwords and encryption keys can be installed for various security systems on a laptop. Programs can also be used which will provide remote access and tracking for a laptop if it has been stolen. Files can be recovered remotely, or can be corrupted so as to make a laptop unusable if it cannot be retrieved.
2 – Encrypting Company Laptops
Laptop theft becomes even more serious if it is used as part of work, and if it contains confidential files or links to a network. An employer may fine or sack you for losing confidential information as the result of not encrypting a laptop. You should always check with an employer about their encryption regulations before using a laptop. Many institutions will insist on adding extra layers of security when you first receive a laptop. Companies may also demand that work is regularly backed up in secure and encrypted ways.
3 – Limiting Network Access and Tethering
It is important to remember that your laptop becomes much more vulnerable when it is connected to a network, or when it is tethered to a number of devices. Always make sure that you use a secure wireless connection that follows either Wired Equivalent Privacy or Wireless Application Protocols. Similar encryption should also be used for mobile phone networks tethered to a laptop. Measures can similarly be taken to modify IP addresses and MAC codes to ensure that a network cannot be breached. As with all forms of computer encryption, adding extra security walls and applying them to different devices within a network will make it much safer to use.
Sebastian is currently writing for Cable.co.uk an independent website that allows you to compare broadband prices and speeds in the U.K.