Laptops and desktop computers continue to grow in popularity as both graduation and Father’s Day gifts. In response to this trend, Absolute® Software Corporation has released some timely tips to empower recent graduates and deserving dads to protect their new computers.
Last year, surveys by BIGresearch® and the National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed that 10.6 percent of consumers purchasing gifts for graduates planned to give electronics, a 9 percent increase from 20091. Additionally, 18.5 percent of those surveyed this year intended to buy consumer electronics or computer-related accessories for Father’s Day2. To help consumers protect their new costly devices and sensitive personal information, Absolute offers the following tips:
- Don’t Rely on Free Software Trials – It’s easy to forget or ignore alerts when software trials expire, leaving the computer at risk for malicious threats or worse if the device is ever lost or stolen. From day one of use, owners should activate full subscriptions of theft recovery, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. For example, consumers who activate their subscription to LoJack for Laptops are instantly able to take advantage of a full suite of security features to manage and protect their computer.
- Choose Dynamic Passwords – To achieve strong levels of protection, passwords should be changed often, differ greatly and be difficult to guess. According to research from the Georgia Tech Research Institute, ideal passwords also consist of a mix of randomized upper- and lower- case letters, at least one number and one symbol, and should be longer than 12 characters3.
- Fill Out The Warranty Information – If the computer is damaged while it is out of the owner’s hands, the manufacturer may cover repairs as part of the warranty if the device is recovered. Agreements differ from company to company; however, taking a few minutes to submit warranty information online or via mail can save consumers from additional distress and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Designate Folders for Sensitive Files – Every second counts after a laptop is stolen. Using the Delete functionality in LoJack for Laptops, users can remotely erase all or specific files so that they are not exposed to prying eyes. To get to important files quickly, computer owners should designate files, under non-descriptive names, to contain this type of information.
- Remain Alert When Traveling – Many laptop-friendly locations that consumers encounter during travel are also areas at highest risk for laptop theft. Based on customer reports filed to the Absolute Theft Recovery Team, some of the at-risk locations are public transit, hotels, restaurants/cafes and airports. Staying alert and maintaining possession of the computer at all times during travel will help to prevent theft.
“For a recent graduate, a laptop isn’t just a computer; it’s a shot at straight A’s. For fathers, a laptop might contain a business plan or a library of family photos. Unfortunately, not all computer owners take steps to protect their devices. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute, 12,000 laptops are lost in U.S. airports each week and two-thirds are never returned4,” said Mark Grace, vice president of consumer business, Absolute Software. “For less than 40 dollars, consumers can invest in a year’s worth of protection with LoJack for Laptops and get much more in return—the ability to lock, delete, locate and recover a lost or stolen laptop and protect personal data.”
With LoJack for Laptops’ technology in place, personal information can remain protected even when it’s in the wrong hands, helping users to prevent costly hardware replacements and identity theft.
1 NRF and BIGresearch®, “2010 Graduation Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey,” May 2010
2 NRF and BIGresearch®, “2011 Father’s Day Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey,” May 2011
3 Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), “Teraflop Troubles: The Power of Graphics Processing Units May Threaten the World’s Password Security System,” Case Study, August 2010
4 Ponemon Institute, Airport Insecurity: The Case of Lost Laptops, June 2008