A Lost Laptop Is a Cybersecurity Threat

abandoned laptop alerts woman sitting close by

Usually when we think about cybersecurity we think about hackers who are looking to gain entry into the databases of businesses and large organizations. We think about identity theft and financial gain as the intended outcome of cybersecurity threats. But what we do not think about is that as individuals going about our daily lives and especially as students, that we may be contributing to one of the most basic cyber threats.

The research company Gartner suggests that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. And research done by the University of Pittsburgh says that your laptop has a one in ten chance of being stolen and only a 2 percent chance of recovery. And, of all of those laptops thefts, half of them occur inside a classroom.

For a student, the data on the laptop is the true value of the machine. It is not the device itself but it is the time and energy spent on the documents and videos and items that are saved on the computer. The data on your computer is irreplaceable in terms of concentration, time and effort.

Laptops are easily hackable. If a hacker can get into your computer and your files, they can see who you share information with, your contacts and other personal information about you and the other people that you have saved in your documents and apps.

What's a student to do? Here are some ways that cybersecurity experts recommend to help keep your laptop secure.

Laptop Security 101

1. Always Keep an Eye on It

This may seem like common sense but your laptop is more easily stolen if you are not watching it. When you leave your laptop unattended anyone can walk by and grab it. Always keep it in eye shot when you are logged in. A laptop that is already signed in makes things a lot easier for hackers or someone who is looking for private information. Additionally, don’t leave you laptop in the car, even if you are just running into somewhere quickly. Take it with you!

2. Secure Your Laptop in Your Home

Laptops are often grabbed during home invasions. Keep your laptop in a place that makes it harder to find and less easy to snatch quickly. This might be a locked drawer or under a stack of papers or books. Making your laptop less conspicuous may keep it safe from theft.

3. Personalize Your Laptop

Make your laptop look unique. Instead of keeping it fresh from the factory perfect, add stickers or other decorations that make it easily identifiable. This can make it harder for a thief to resell the computer and easier for you to identify it if it gets recovered.

4. Plan for Theft

Make sure you have written down the serial number of your laptop. Take pictures of it, especially showing those identifiable features you have added to make it look unique. Additionally, install laptop recovery software. Change your passwords often and keep them regularly updated.

You will learn everything from simple threats to cyber safety to more complex ways to beat hackers by joining the Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at Grand Canyon University

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.