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Portables Security Hardware

Delete Data On Netbook If Stolen? 459

Posted by kdawson
from the grab-brick-smash-window dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have just moved overseas on a 2-year working holiday visa and so I picked up a netbook for the interim, an MSI Wind U100 Plus running WinXP. I love it to bits. But as I am traveling around I am somewhat worried about theft. Most of my important stuff is in Gmail and Google Docs; however, I don't always have Net access and find it useful to gear up the offline versions for both. Ideally I would like to securely delete all the offline data from the hard drive if it were stolen. Since it is backed up in the cloud, and the netbook is so cheap I don't really care about recovery, a solution that bricks it would be fine — and indeed would give me a warm glow knowing a prospective thief would have wasted their time. But it's not good if they can extract the HD and get at the data some other way. All thief-foiling suggestions are welcome, be they software, hardware, or other."
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Delete Data On Netbook If Stolen?

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  • by seifried (12921) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:20AM (#28766409) Homepage
    The answer to your problem is whole disk encryption, not trying to delete the data.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:54AM (#28766583)

      I know it doesn't help the OP, but on linux-based netbooks it's trivial to re-install linux with whole disk encryption if you want to upgrade to Ubuntu anyway. I've been running this way on my primary laptop for over a year and haven't really noticed any performance degradation.

      • GPP doesn't mention what level of risk there is with having a weee pc from being stolen; however my own Asus Eeepc 904hd (fedora 10) has only the /home partition encrypted using in-built truecrypt. It's all configurable from the installation process (anaconda) - actually, it's just a checkbox when you configure the disk layout. This doesn't slow the performance noticeably but gives me a little reassurance that if it's stolen then it'll just be over-written with windows and sold on.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by KronosReaver (932860)

          Dependent on the total size of the data you want to store local copies of...

          .

          Buy a good flash drive and keep it on your key chain. Preferably an Ironkey ( www.ironkey.com ) or something similar that offers some serious hardware encryption along with other anti-theft features.

          .

          Use something like XMarks for Firefox so you can access all of your bookmarks, and even stored passwords if desired, without storing any of it on the netbook. Now simply treat the netbook as a public access PC. If it gets lost or sto

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by CastrTroy (595695)
            I would say to just ignore the whole hardware encryption and just encrypt the thumb drive with truecrypt. Save a few bucks on the thumb drive, plus you won't have to worry about finding larger sizes. I don't think there are any advantages to having hardware encryption.
    • by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:57AM (#28766597) Homepage Journal

      The answer to your problem is whole disk encryption, not trying to delete the data.

      Feh. Your so-called answer does not include the word 'thermite' or the phrase 'earth-shattering kaboom'. And you call yourself a geek?

      • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:15AM (#28766689)

        Feh. Your so-called answer does not include the word 'thermite' or the phrase 'earth-shattering kaboom'. And you call yourself a geek?

        Where's the ka-boom. There was supposed to be an earth shattering ka-boom.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Billie Mays took it with him.
        • But there is a free solution which is more like thermite.

          Encryption is wrong for netbooks because the Atom is a slow, single-core chip. It really can't afford the extra overhead.

          Encryption also won't do what the submitter asks: bricking the device.

          But ATA passwords will do this! Sometimes called "drivelock," these are firmware passwords you type when powering on a disk. If it doesn't get the right password, the disk will refuse to cooperate. Recovering the data from such a disk requires expensive equipment

      • Well, you see, a the fourth failed attempt to decrypt the data would cause an earth shattering ka-boom ;)
      • by Krneki (1192201) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:41AM (#28767401)
        Easy solution.

        Install a Sony battery.

        Ka-boom.
        http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/11/lithium-ion-laptop-battery-explosion.html

        P.S: It was made by a Gnome, so it might explode before it gets stolen.
    • by sofar (317980)

      not really, a serious alternative exists:

              not store any data at all locally, which is generally faster and uses less battery power etc. (than whole disk encryption).

      Since he doesn't care about losing the system, not having any data on it would guarantee that he'd never lose any real data. Whole disk encryption would just invite him to store "some" data on the netbook.

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:30AM (#28766775) Journal

      Google: windows encrypted drive + "I'm feeling lucky".

      Here's what I got:

      http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org]

      I'm OK with "Ask Slashdot" being used to gather the collective experience of the techies that like to hang out off-hours here at /. - but.. this?!?

      Something that could be addressed by a moment or two spent at Google or even (god's sake) Bing is a WASTE OF HITS. But maybe that's the plan - get droves of angry techies to bitch about the lameness of the stories, delivering ad impressions?

      Crazy like a fox?

      I'm on to you, Cmdr Taco, if that is your real name!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by muckracer (1204794)

      Would also like to mention FreeOTFE (http://www.freeotfe.org). Unlike Truecrypt it happens to be Linux/LUKS compatible.

  • Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

    by pyite (140350) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:21AM (#28766411)

    Encrypt the entire drive with TrueCrypt or something. Use a strong cipher and a very strong passphrase. The laptop is as good as bricked to anyone who gets it.

    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by man_ls (248470) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:24AM (#28766439)

      Whole-Disk AES via TrueCrypt is only BARELY above the "acceptable" threshold on a Core Solo. I cringe to think what it'd be like on an Atom. A better bet would be to use a container-hosted TrueCrypt volume, and set your My Documents folder into that volume.

      • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Informative)

        by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:32AM (#28766485) Homepage Journal
        Your average thief will spend five seconds looking for porn to keep, then reinstall the lot. The crummiest possible encryption would satisfy 99% of cases.
        • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

          by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:44AM (#28766553)
          Your average thief will try to resell it as soon as he can. Most thieves are not interested in the loot as such but in the money they can get for it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by drb_chimaera (879110)
          I think he is referring to performance - theres a more than noticable hit on the performance of a netbook utilising full disk encryption (I read a couple of benchmarks suggesting it was in the region of 10-20%). YMMV as to whether its worth the hit for the security of what you want to store on the Eee
      • They make netbooks with VIA processors, which have encryption functions built into the processor instruction sets.

        I'm not sure if truecrypt would take advantage but if it did it would help immensely.

      • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sodakar (205398) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:54AM (#28766585)

        On N270 Atoms, whole-disk AES encryption works perfectly fine, and the only time I notice a slow-down is when I'm running a benchmark program side-by-side with a model that has an unencrypted drive. For regular browsing and e-mail (which is what the person asking the question listed as a qualification), it's a non-issue.

        As some others have posted, and what my local police have told me, the laptop will likely have been sold for cash in less than 24 hours. Unless you are being targeted specifically for something of significant value such as corporate IP, it's unlikely that anyone is going to spend the time to try to unencrypt your drive.

        But other threats still loom...

        If you plan on connecting to any network, you will expose your machine to any network-based threat, so you ought to harden your machine accordingly.

        Make sure you still have a strong password for your account login. If your machine is in hibernate, the crypto authentication prompt will stop them, but if your machine was sleeping, it'll return to the OS prompt.

        The one scenario where you're not protected at all is if the machine is powered on, logged in, and someone grabs it by force. I realize there are proximity-based USB dongles that will lock the screen when the remote adapter is beyond range, but this may be far too impractical to use. A USB security dongle sticking out the side is a quick recipe for a broken USB port...

        • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

          by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:11AM (#28766979)

          My personal experience with a Inspiron 1520 is that whole disk encryption significantly reduces battery life, which is a real usability problem.

          Most likely, when I get back to the states (I only encrypted for some overseas travel anyway), I will decrypt it and move back to an encrypted truecrypt container for the small number of documents that are really sensitive.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I have a Pentium 3 Mobile 1.7GHz Thinkpad and Truecrypt makes no appreciable difference in performance. Even during benchmark tests the CPU is only about 50% loaded, so the bottleneck is the HDD itself. 50% sounds like a lot, but keep in mind we are talking artificial benchmarks here. Real world performance is probably in the order of 5-10% when loading an app or large file.

          Truecrypt is by far the best option. Not only does it protect your data in case of theft or over-zealous customs staff, but you can wip

      • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dnaumov (453672) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:34AM (#28767071)
        Full-disk truecrypt AES encryption is absolutely above acceptable on an Atom 330, the CPU is a hyperthreaded dualcore one, so the OS sees 4 CPUs and truecrypt operates on all 4. I get ~55 MB/s in the AES truecrypt benchmark and I am using it to fully encrypt several partitions. It works just fine.
    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:43AM (#28766549) Homepage Journal

      The laptop is as good as bricked to anyone who gets it.

      Including the owner!

      • Full drive encryption can brick netbooks/laptops unintentionally. Bad sectors, which might under other circumstances corrupt a file in a recoverable way, can render a whole drive unrecoverable if it's encrypted. Overheating is a commonly cited cause.

        I don't know if some drive-encryption methods/settings are more susceptible than others, but if anyone is seriously considering this route then it's worth reading up on this type of failure.

    • by rvw (755107)

      Encrypt the entire drive with TrueCrypt or something. Use a strong cipher and a very strong passphrase. The laptop is as good as bricked to anyone who gets it.

      Use a passphrase that's easy and quick to type. Easy to type doesn't mean it has to be a bad password. My guess is that nobody cares about your documents, unless you work for some government or big company, or unless you're a celebrity. So an 8 or 10 character long password is good enough, and nobody will even attempt to break it.

      • A number of people have suggested that the data is not important.

        But what about cached credit card numbers or passwords?

        • Set your browser not to cache non-SSL pages and don't enter your credit-card number into a non-SSL page.

          Passwords can be protected by the use of a master-password (at least in Firefox) or don't save them locally.
    • by NitroWolf (72977)

      Encrypt the entire drive with TrueCrypt or something. Use a strong cipher and a very strong passphrase. The laptop is as good as bricked to anyone who gets it.

      I'm really curious as to how it's "as good as bricked" to anyone who gets it? Seems to me, with this solution, a simple reformat/reinstall of the OS would make the computer 100% usable. Is this not the case? I'm not familiar with the netbook in question, so maybe it's impossible to reinstall the OS on it... but if it's like a normal computer, trashing the drive does not in any way, shape or form brick the computer.

      Care to enlighten us as to how a scrambled hard drive bricks a computer?

      • by reiisi (1211052)

        As in, requires the receiver to "fix" the machine to use it. (In this case, an OS re-install is the way it would be fixed, but the average computer user doesn't really know for software or hardware.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by fishbowl (7759)

        I wish I could make it deliver an electric shock, explode the battery or maybe a dye capsule, emit a foul-smelling and nauseating gas, or make a 911 call and report a fire at its location. Something along those lines. I don't expect thieves to be caught, so I want to somehow cause them harm directly.

        I once designed a car security system that would have stood a good chance of killing the driver. I heard a lot of arguments about why that was a bad idea, but I don't buy any of them to this day. If you try

  • a hack (Score:5, Funny)

    by binford2k (142561) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:21AM (#28766413) Homepage Journal

    set up a scheduled task to wipe the drive unless you cancel it. Then don't forget to cancel it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jbacon (1327727)

      That's a TERRIBLE idea... Like, HOLY SHIT terrible.

      Full disk encryption gets my vote as well - Truecrypt will do the job quite nicely, and relatively pain-free.

      • Re:a hack (Score:5, Funny)

        by RsG (809189) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:35AM (#28766503)

        That's a TERRIBLE idea... Like, HOLY SHIT terrible.

        Then your threshold for terrible needs adjusting. I'm sure I can think of something worse than what the AC suggested :-P

        For example: a small thermite charge, proximate to the hard drive platter. It's fused to go off if a particular peripheral isn't detected upon boot-up; you keep the peripheral "key" with you, perhaps attached to your regular key-chain. A thief tries to boot, and BOOM (okay, thermite doesn't "boom", but you get the idea) - no more HDD. Or netbook. Or whatever it happened to be on top of. Bonus points if the thief happens to have it on their lap at the time.

        Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you propose a terrible idea. Compared to this, a full disk wipe sounds positively safe and reasonable.

        (IMPORTANT: If anyone out there is stupid enough to take this suggestion seriously and implement this obvious deathtrap, I cannot be held accountable for any loss of property, organic damage or Darwin award nominations that result.)

        • Re:a hack (Score:4, Interesting)

          by petes_PoV (912422) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:07AM (#28766959)
          OK, you want a TERRIBLE idea - how about trying to take your booby-trapped netbook through airport security?

          The OP says he's moved "overseas" so presumably some day he'll be travelling back to which ever country he came from, and I would guess that includes flying.

        • by Photo_Nut (676334)

          What happens when you forget about the hack that you put something highly combustible in your device and try and take said device through the airport TSA checkpoint? I suppose if the answer is that the theif takes said device through TSA checkpoint then it's funny, but what if the theif sells the device to some unsuspecting victim?

          Setting up a netbook to be a bomb is not just a bad idea, but it's likely to be illegal in many ways.

          A good idea might be to put a keylogger which uploads to a web site into the n

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        That's a TERRIBLE idea... Like, HOLY SHIT terrible.

        Why? The laptop is a backup for online data. He can afford to throw it away and reload it next time he goes on line.

    • 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42...
  • Encryption (Score:2, Informative)

    by swmike (139450) *

    That is what encryption is for. Get truecrypt or other similar application and then the data won't be extractable by anyone without the password.

  • by MountainMan101 (714389) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:23AM (#28766433)

    If it's physical theft I would think they would bin the HDD or sell it "as is" without even looking at what's on it. Bricking it doesn't do a lot, you'd probably just replace the HDD anyway.

    Identity theft is more worrying. Why not encrypt the HDD with something like Fedora / Ubuntu offers - ie an encrypted /home or MyDocuments. That way the laptop won't log on for the thief.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BikeHelmet (1437881)

      What if it was already logged in?

      Ex: Someone grabs it at an internet cafe, while you're ordering something?

      I know everyone else is thinking the same thing, but I'll say it anyway - encrypt the entire partition, with a tool like TrueCrypt.

      • (I'm aware that my suggestion doesn't deal with an already-logged in scenario. If anyone has an answer to that one, please, do reply with it!)

        I suppose you could always hope they shut down the computer and can't get back in, but that's a pretty bad plan IMHO. :P

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:44AM (#28766555)

          If a thief grabs it, they would inevitably tuck it under their arm (walking around with an open netbook would slow them down and make them easier to spot). So set the netbook to shutdown when the lid is closed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cowbutt (21077)

          (I'm aware that my suggestion doesn't deal with an already-logged in scenario. If anyone has an answer to that one, please, do reply with it!)

          Sounds like you need some kind of RF token and a receiver attached to the netbook; if the token goes out of range, the machine logs you out and/or shuts down. If push came to shove, I imagine you could bodge something together with a Bluetooth receiver and a Bluetooth enabled phone like BluePromixity [sourceforge.net] does.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          I suppose you could always hope they shut down the computer and can't get back in, but that's a pretty bad plan IMHO. :P

          Automatic session time-outs?

          But that's not the problem. If someone has physical access to the machine encryption is at best a roadblock, not a solution. All important files should be recoverable from recent backups. The encrypted data should be set to automatically delete after 5 or so incorrect password attempts, so in the event of theft and the thief wants access to your data then t

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      Encrypting just /home is a bit of a half-arsed attempt. What about any files that get copied to /tmp? Better is to use Fedora and create a fully encrypted machine (except a tiny /boot partition, which it won't let you encrypt and which needs root permissions to write to anyway).

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:27AM (#28766455) Homepage Journal

    There is probably room in the case for a few ounces of C4 explosive, and a detonator. You might have a hard time getting it through customs though..... and you had better never drop the thing so the detonator goes off!!

  • Lojack for Laptops (Score:4, Informative)

    by zhiwenchong (155773) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:28AM (#28766457)

    Website: http://www.absolute.com/products/lojack [absolute.com]
    FAQ: http://www.absolute.com/resources/public/FAQ/L4L-FAQ-E.pdf [absolute.com]

    Costs $59.95/year for the premium package which supports Remote Wipe. Embeds itself in the BIOS/EFI. Supports XP and OS X.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Carefully paint over the letters on the "T" and "E" keys with polonium-218 laced paint, then just remember to wear gloves when typing unless your name is something like "Frank" and your password is all digits.
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:30AM (#28766469) Homepage
    As others will have already said: use truecrypt. In addition, use two account: yours with a password, and another one (visible from the login shell) without password. Put a script in it that wipes the disk if anybody logs in it.
  • by orzetto (545509) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:33AM (#28766489)

    Of course full-disk encryption, as lots of people have already suggested, but since you want the thief's time to be wasted, remember to password-protect the BIOS and disallow booting from USB drives or external units. Same goes for GRUB if you were on Linux. That way the thief will not be able to resell the netbook.

    Yes, the thief could remove the BIOS battery, but he would have to tear the case open. If he knew how to open a laptop without breaking it, he has more skill than I would associate with a petty thief.

    You might also consider Adeona [washington.edu].

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:42AM (#28766547) Journal

      "Yes, the thief could remove the BIOS battery, but he would have to tear the case open. If he knew how to open a laptop without breaking it, he has more skill than I would associate with a petty thief."

      Did it ever occur to you that the thief might be part of a larger crime organization, which organization might have a few people with pretty advanced technical skills? Or, even if they aren't, it's entirely possible/probable that after the thief fences the stolen computer, it will end up in the hands of someone both unscrupulous, and technically saavy?

    • by jgrahn (181062)

      Of course full-disk encryption, as lots of people have already suggested, but since you want the thief's time to be wasted, remember to password-protect the BIOS and disallow booting from USB drives or external units. Same goes for GRUB if you were on Linux. That way the thief will not be able to resell the netbook.

      Yes, the thief could remove the BIOS battery, but he would have to tear the case open. If he knew how to open a laptop without breaking it, he has more skill than I would associate with a petty

  • Are you evil enough? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saynt (19633) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:34AM (#28766499)

    First, get truecrypt, that takes care of your data.

      Now then, If you have the spark of evil in you, here's the plan.

        1. Set up multi-boot config.
        2. Create a bootable partition that has enough OS on it to run the drive and network, name it something interesting like 'Confidential'.
        3. Get the BIOS flash utils for your netbook, create a corrupt bios image that will still pass muster enough to install.
        4. Set up a boot time process on the netbook that does a 'wget' from a web site that you control. If it gets a file, quietly flash the BIOS with what it downloads.

        If you ever get ripped off, move the nasty BIOS image to the file location on your web site and bask in the glow of pure wickedness...

        You can test this with a valid BIOS image, but don't look at me if something terrible happens, you're playing with fire here.

  • Try Eraser [heidi.ie]

    Works fine for removing data. Might not work if advanced forensic techniques are used.

    Most thieves don't have access to those forensic tools. And I'm assuming you don't need this level of protection. I'm assuming you're not trying to obfuscate your illegal Tracy Lord mpegs.

  • This might be a bit of overkill, and personally it is not something I've tried myself (yet). Install a user un-friendly version of Linux (just to confound the criminal) and use an Iron Key [ironkey.com] to run a super small Linux distro on. Keep all of your important data on the key. Don't store the laptop and the key together.

    Added bonus - if you are around a desktop or a laptop better than a netbook, you can run your OS and all your documents through the drive.
  • Quick'n'easy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:41AM (#28766535)

    1) Set up two accounts. Your actual one behind a password and an unprotected one.
    2) In the unprotected one's startup, set it to delete all of your personal data.

    You'll never log on via the unprotected account. Therefore you'll never accidentally delete everything. Even if you do manage to, as soon as you're next near a net connection it sounds like you can pull it back anyway.

    Most casual thieves (sorry, your life isn't actually important enough that crack teams of ninja espionage winged monkeys will track you down and deliberately steal your data) will be perfectly happy to log on via the one account they can get on via and won't notice a suitably disguised process quietly cleaning everything sensitive off the machine.

    It's not perfect, it's not infallible but, honestly, your data really isn't worth the hassle of defeating it for the average opportunistic thief.

    You want to have more fun with them...

    Set a scheduled task on that account to open Firefox 3.5 every 15 minutes and go to an address on your own server where it promptly gives its geolocation info [mozilla.com] before more obviously redirecting itself to some apparent malware site. They'll assume your machine's just infected with malware while you and the cops are given constant updates on their location.

    Again, it's not perfect and most of /. could easily defeat it... But the average thief isn't a /. reader, they're just an opportunist who thinks they're getting something for free.

    • This is probably the best solution for anyone not carrying trade secrets.

    • Re:Quick'n'easy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mistlefoot (636417) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:21AM (#28767607)


      And while at Custom's, have the border guard try to log in to your computer. Have him "access" the second account, delete all the data and then discover that you find yourself in some foreign court charged with destroying whatever it is they claim you destroy.

      I do believe there have been cases in the US where people have been compelled by the courts to produce encryption keys for data on laptops they have tried to carry past customs. The poster does want to do this for protection while traveling "overseas". I wouldn't suggest entering some countries and claiming you just had a script delete everything on your harddrive - when their customs tried to log - but "you have nothing to hide - honest".
  • by 1s44c (552956) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:52AM (#28766577)

    Most casual thieves want the hardware to use, resell, or simply because it's pretty. They don't give a toss about your data unless they can get easy cash out of it.

    Encrypt the disk to protect your data. It doesn't even have to be very strong encryption but obviously good encryption is better if your CPU can handle it. You can save CPU cycles by only encrypting data that really needs to be kept personal.

    Personally I'd be tempted to have some kind of low trick on there just to fuck with their minds. Add a script like
    echo "GPS location tracking started..."
    sleep 13
    echo "Device location found and reported."
    read x

    There is absolutely no security in this but casual thieves are normally not too smart so might shit their pants.

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @02:56AM (#28766593) Journal

    Right now! No thief will ever get your data if you destroy it right now!

    Oh you wanted to use it in the meantime. Well that's different...

  • people this is 2009, how is it you haven't heard of encryption???!!
  • Firstly: You're not that interesting - nobody wants to read your E-mail, and the 'important' stuff (like your PGP keys) are individually passphrase protected, aren't they.

    Secondly: You're not that interesting - the thief either wants the device for themselves, or to fence it for $50 worth of crack (or food, depending on where you travel). If they want it for themselves - chances are they'll just wipe it with a clean Windows install (you even leave the registration key on that little sticker on the back, d

  • Set it up with multiple boot options, and the default one does something nasty.

     

    If you don't select the right boot option when you switch it on ... Zap! One wiped disk.

     

    If you can wipe the BIOS...even better.

  • by jalet (36114) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:49AM (#28766865) Homepage

    but if you care about confidentiality of your datas once your laptop is stolen, and at the same time you store most of your datas on servers owned and administered by someone who is not you (the Google company in this case), then maybe you should think twice about what you do.

  • "I have just moved overseas on a 2-year working holiday visa"

    gimme one of those!!!

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:13AM (#28766987)
    Use indelible paint, or burn it into the surface of the netbook's plastic case. However you decide to do it, make sure that it's obvious and can be seen by the user and everyone around them (incl. airport security people when they inspect the device). Have a message something like:

    THIS COMPUTER WAS STOLEN FROM <your name/phone number>

    In large, contrasting letters - for extra points write it in the language(s) of the countries to be visited. Not only will it draw unwanted attention to whoever tries to use it, but it will make the stolen item impossible to sell on errr, auction sites, where most of this stuff ends up.

  • by shentino (1139071)

    Unless you can tell it to brick the firmware you won't get squat.

    Besides, once it's been stolen all you can do is deny the thief any gain, or help him get caught. You've already lost the equipment.

    My suggestion would be to invest in some physical security, such as a locked bag. If permissible, a loaded gun wouldn't hurt either.

  • You're worried about security and privacy? Then why are you using Gmail and Google Docs for that oh-so-important data? If you're going to be paranoid, you might want to start there...

    I mean, I use Gmail too, but as a student, I don't exactly have a lot to hide - a few forum passwords, slashdot credentials, a few measly bucks in the bank. If you were really AT ALL serious about privacy and security, you should be using services that aren't paid for by a company that makes money from knowing your private data

  • C4 (Score:3, Funny)

    by secondhand_Buddah (906643) <secondhand@buddah.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:41AM (#28767399) Homepage Journal
    I would have recommended 10 grams of C4 explosives linked to a USB deactivation key for ultimate satisfaction, but you might have a few problems at airports....

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