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Laptop security

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by zxspectrum, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

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    OK some of you may know ive been saving for a brand spanking new laptop and on friday ill pay for it and hopefully have it monday etc.

    One thing that seems to be playing on my mind now is what if some little scrote nicks it and flogs it etc. The worst thing that i will lose is my music and uni stuff etc nothing of major importance etc.

    But one thing i would like to know about is has any sort of program been invented to make the lappy unusable. I mean say it does get robbed , id want a password system set up so that only i can use it etc, and if the scrote tries to put a password in then the whole system shuts down and basically makes itself useless???

    I know its a cutting the nose off to spite your face approach, but id sleep better knowing that some little tw#$ didnt get anything for it, and if he did the people who bought it off him where to give him a good hiding ??

    Ed
     
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  2. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Well, theres bitlocker on vista. that usually does the trick i think. Although that may well be more if the hard drive is ripped out and put into another machine. and it only protects the data - doesnt protect the drive itself from being used.

    I *suppose* you could set up a program that checks a website periodically, and should a value be set on the site, performs various actions to deliberately sabotage the OS. That would only work on that image though - a reinstall would sort it.

    In short, no. theres nothing that cant be bypassed in some manner, be is a CMOS reset, or an OS reinstall, or both. at least not that im aware of.
     
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  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Well I'm sure others can give you more info but heres what I'm aware of :-

    1. Laptops generally have a BIO's password feature designed for exactly this purpose, the time between unsuccessful logins is normally exponential. I think theres possibly ways round this, maybe removing the battery etc the manufacturers also build in back doors for support people.

    2. Set up your laptop with decent admin and user accounts with no trivial passwords.

    3. Consider using some sort of drivelock or encryption software for your data.

    4. Use a smart card or usb key as an extra authentication method. http://www.thetravelinsider.info/roadwarriorcontent/securikey.htm

    My sisters laptop even has a biometric fingerprint reader to login.

    Personally I view security as a necessary evil, humans in general don't really want security. People in some parts of the world don't lock their houses or cars because they trust their community. Would you want 20 locks on your front door ? Every extra security device adds complexity and cost, what happens if it goes wrong ? So before you make your laptop totally secure think of what could go wrong, your laptop may never get stolen but you may lose your data because you can't get access ! :blink
     
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  4. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Probably best to protect the data on the laptop with encryption. The data is just as important (if not more) as the laptop.


    This might help you get the laptop back though...

    http://www.xtool.com/xtooltracker.aspx
     
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  5. hippy

    hippy Kilobyte Poster

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    Password the BIOS
    Password you user account
    try that finger print reading stuff out?

    end of the day if someone wants to get stuff off your laptop or pc they will get it.

    The simple phrase is:If a human made it, a human can break it.
     
  6. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I think the key here guys is that zxspectrum wants to render the lappy totally unusable in the case of theft. Whilst encryption/biometrics/passwords make it harder (but not impossible) to retrieve the data from a drive, they dont render the unit unuseable.

    BIOS passwords are actually pretty easy to reset once you know how. I cant remember the details off hand, but its either a CMOS reset (who isnt able to remove and replace the battery?) or a jumper reset. They are superficial restrictions at best.
     
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  7. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I agree with others on this one.

    Also there is an app that we use at work, in case the laptop gets stolen, you activate the application and when the user goes online the application somehow toasts the data. I'll check to see what its called, I forgot at the moment.
     
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  8. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    From what I understand, BitLocker only encrypts the system drive, and you have to have another partition available (unencrypted, used to start the computer) in order to use it.
     
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  9. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Haven't ever seen a laptop with a BIOS jumper... :D Then again, perhaps some do have them!

    Put a hardware-based tracking device on it. Then nuke the individual who steals it.
     
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  10. hippy

    hippy Kilobyte Poster

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    It need something like 1.5 Gb... tripwire posted a news article about vista and on a link on the article there is more infor on bitlockers. But you need to have TPM to use bitlocker properly.
     
  11. stuPeas

    stuPeas Megabyte Poster

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    Carry a machete with you at all times and sharpen it daily. :twisted:
     
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  12. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Sssh, don't give out all my secrets :biggrin
     
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  13. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

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    Personally id like a device that shoots prongs into the weasel and then he/she gets some seriuos voltage through their system, but knowing my luck the battery wont be able to sustain anything of crippling ability lol.

    I like all the suggestions guys they are useful , but as fergal said if i knew i wasnt getting the laptop back then id like it basicallt to not work at all.

    Tho all these other programs like the trakcer one seem pretty good, i will look into that a bit more

    Ed
     
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  14. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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  15. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's not a Dell problem: that's a Sony problem.
     
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  16. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    PGP will do all the data/disk encryption that you need. It won't stop anyone from doing a reformat and reinstall though.

    Failing that you could also set a password on the hard disk itself. This will render the hard disk useless to anyone without the right password (even in another pc). The downside is that you can just install another disk.
     
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