Secure Computing

Physical Security for Laptop Computers

  • Never leave your laptop in a public place. If you take your laptop into libraries or classrooms, do not leave it alone, even just "for a minute" while you go to the restroom or talk with a friend. Thieves look for such opportunities. If you do leave your laptop in a public place, lock it up with a notebook lock (such as those made by Kensington and Belkin), there are even options for devices without security slots, but they can be bulky, Searching Amazon for "adhesive laptop security plate" will provide you with a few options.
  • Always lock your door, even if you are just heading to the bathroom. Arrange this with your suitemates as well. If you leave your door open, you are providing thieves easy access to steal your belongings.
  • Never leave your laptop unattended, even for a moment, even in your office or dorm room. Most laptops are stolen from their owner's office, while the owner is on a quick break or at a meeting.
  • If you must leave your laptop in a car, stow your bag in the trunk before you reach your destination so potential thieves don't see you. Make sure your car is locked.
  • Avoid setting your laptop on the floor Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it. If you have to set it down, try to place it between your feet or against your leg (so you're always aware it's there).
  • Use a low-key shoulder bag, briefcase, or backpack for your laptop. Avoid expensive bags that scream, "Laptop inside!"
  • If you are going out for coffee or lunch, lock your gear in a desk or an office that can be locked. Or, at least purchase and use a laptop cable lock.
  • All laptops should be set to require a password to log on to the computer. Never leave access numbers or passwords in your carrying case.
  • Configure your screen saver to require a password.
  • Never allow your web browser to automatically supply a password for you. If you do, it means that anyone at your computer can access that site under your account.
  • Enroll your computer in the STOP Program. This program attaches serialized security plates to laptop computers for a small charge ($25 for three years). With this prominent plate, your computer is less desirable to thieves. You can enroll your computer in the STOP program by visiting the Yale Security Office at Phelps Gate.
  • Purchase CompuTrace for your computer. If your computer is stolent, CompuTrace will alert the proper authorities to retrieve your computer. The computer bundles that we have configured for you come with CompuTrace already activated.

Physical restraints and locks

Physical locks are the best means to prevent your laptop from being stolen. Most stolen laptops are grabbed and gone before their owners know what happened. Laptop thieves look for quick easy hits, and will not risk the delay or commotion of trying to break a lock.

Computer supplies, software and equipment can be purchased online via SciQuest.

Protecting the privacy and security of your data and identity

If you ever store Yale confidential 2-Lock data on your laptop or other mobile computing device, you should use file or whole disk encryption techniques to keep the data secure and private in case the laptop is lost or stolen.

Use a screen guard. These guards help prevent people from peeking over your shoulder as you work on sensitive information in a public place. This is especially helpful when you're traveling or need to work in a crowded area.