Securing Your Smallest Load



Computer Security Products


Absolute Software

PC PhoneHome



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Owner-operator Paul Todorovich takes no chances when he totes his Sony Vaio laptop into a truck stop to check e-mail.

“I never, ever leave my Vaio unattended,” he says.

Keeping tabs on your laptop is more important than you might realize because what’s at stake is more than just hardware.

“If a trucker is running his whole business out of that computer and hasn’t backed it up, it could cost a sizable amount of money to recover that data,” says Tom Goll, sales manager for Computer Security Products.

Here are some laptop security products and services:

Cables and locking straps. Goll says these make it impossible to just carry off an unattended computer. One type of cable uses the security port standard on some laptops and retails for about $30.

Labels. Several companies offer a metallic label that can deter a professional thief by warning that the computer will be hard to sell. Computer Security Products’ STOP plate affixes to the laptop with an extremely strong adhesive. When removed, it leaves an imprint of “stolen property” that has to be ground off. The plate retails for about $25.

Alarms. Some devices produce an alarm when a computer is moved or when it gets out of the range of an owner. Computer Security Products’ ITWoofa, which costs about $100, employs a motion detector that emits a loud alarm. Caveo’s Anti-Theft card activates an alarm if the laptop moves beyond a range specified by the user, even if the laptop is turned off. The card also prevents access to the operating system. It costs about $100.

Tracers. Some services use a very high-tech approach – imbedded software that can trace a stolen laptop. When the computer is used to connect to the Internet, it sends a message to a tracking company that alerts the owners and police.

“The computer is programmed to report where it’s calling from through an IP address,” Goll says. “A monitoring service then follows the laptop and goes into recovery mode.”

Such services cost $50 to $100 a year and are available from companies such as Computer Security Products, Absolute Software, PC PhoneHome, zTrace and Laptrak.

Extra caution is the cheapest way to minimize theft. Chester Noe, an owner-operator from Paris, Ark., says he used to take his laptop into truck stops to check e-mail, but now plugs it into his cell phone and surfs inside the truck. “I just keep my truck locked up,” he says. “If the truck was broken into, the laptop would be the least of my worries.”


  • Use an anti-theft device. Don’t forget to secure devices such as batteries, power cords, cables and external drives.
  • Affix a permanent identification badge to your computer.
  • Carry your laptop in an unassuming bag. Traditional laptop cases can draw unwanted attention.
  • Back up important information at the end of every session.
  • Never leave your laptop in open view in your truck.
  • Save a copy of your purchase receipt and copy the laptop’s serial number for identification purposes.
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