how to protect your MacBook Pro

This week while at the Greater NJ Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church something sad happened at the very end.

One of the key musicians, Mark’s laptop was stolen.   He had just purchased the laptop just a few days earlier (Tuesday I believe he said.)  This happened from what we can tell right at the end of the conference – and of course there were vendors and conference folks all over the place helping tear down – thus who knows where it is…  We are hoping it was just collected up by someone who mistook it for theirs…  (alas i think we are dreaming… anyhow)

I remember a posting from @ClifGuy who had his laptop stolen right out of another #CITRT members car in Florida – and at that time Windows PC security options were discussed – but not Apple/MAC.

So – here you go MAC Fans:

  1. Never EVER leave your MacBook unattended, not even briefly. Be aware of your laptop, as you would a purse, in airports, hotel rooms, restaurants, libraries, dorm rooms, and even @ a Church gathering.
  2. Always Back up your data regularly. You should do this anyway, in case of hardware failure or software bugs, but it is also critical in case or loss of theft.  Mac makes this easy with the Time Machine option – however a good online backup application would be wise to use
  3. Use a security cable. Simply put – its like a bicycle chain for your machine.   They simply can’t cut it and walk off w/o someone noticing…  we would hope… and even if they could – it stops the simple opportunist from jacking your mac
  4. Use motion sensors, either with hardware (Targus DEFCON, MicroSaver Alarmed Lock) or software (TheftSensor) .
  5. Be less conspicuous.  Carry your MacBook in a backpack instead of a laptop case…  people might not know whats in there.
  6. Choose appropriate passwords and make use of them. Don’t use guessable passwords. Log out when not using your MacBook.
  7. Set a firmware password. Use EFI (Intel) or Open Firmware (PPC) to set a password that prevents booting from another disk.
  8. Use encryption. Consider which data on your MacBook is most sensitive and take care to protect it. Use Apple’s FileVault feature on your home directory or utilize the Disk Utility or DropDMG for convenience.
  9. Install anti-theft software. Use a software package that “phones home” on the Internet or over a phone line (Undercover, LoJack for Laptops).
  10. Have separate logins. You might have one login for your routine documents but for important secure files – use FileVault on another login. By having a third login, with no password, you invite a thief to log in that way, making it more likely that they will connect to the Internet and activate the anti-theft software.
  11. Recordkeeping. Record your MacBook serial number and keep this information on paper somewhere- or even better take pictures and upload them to somewhere online you can always get to – and make sure that is password protected of course.   Register your purchase. Keep track of what personal information you have on your MacBook, so you know what you’ve lost, what passwords to change, etc.
  12. Insurance. Check if loss or theft of your MacBook is already covered under an insurance policy you have – such as your credit card.  If not, get renter’s insurance, a rider on a homeowner’s policy, or some other type of coverage- and make sure the deductible is low enough for it not to matter if it gets lost.
  13. Be sure to Avoid viruses/adware/spyware. Install all security updates to Mac OS X or other software.  At present you don’t need any special software for Macs – I suggest using the ClamAV for MAC located here:  http://www.clamxav.com/index.php .
  14. Keep your personal computer personal.In other words – NEVER LEND IT OUT.   And if you need to – use a separate login for them – thus insuring the security on your system.

Any other suggestions – please feel free to add them .

One Response to “how to protect your MacBook Pro”

  1. Jason Reynolds says:

    First of all, that CITRT member in Florida shall remain nameless. Second of all the purse analogy doesn’t work, because in public my wifes purse tends to end up in my lap or on my shoulder… I think I must be her pack mule. I think a better analogy would be your own kid, cause the loss of them comes at an incalculatable cost to you (even if you find them cause your wife makes you sleep in the car… I mean not that I know anything about that … Just saying).

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