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Practical UNIX and Internet Security, 3rd Edition by Alan Schwartz, Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Preventing Theft

Computer theft—especially laptop theft—is a growing problem for businesses and individuals alike. The loss of a computer system can be merely annoying or can be an expensive ordeal. But if the computer contains information that is irreplaceable or extraordinarily sensitive, it can be devastating.

Fortunately, by following a small number of simple and inexpensive measures, you can dramatically reduce the chance that your laptop or desktop computer will be stolen.

Understanding Computer Theft

People steal computer systems for a wide variety of reasons. Many computer systems are stolen for resale—either the complete system or, in the case of sophisticated thieves, the individual components, which are harder to trace. Other computers are stolen by people who cannot afford to purchase their own computers. Still others are stolen for the information that they contain, usually by people who wish to obtain the information but sometimes by those who simply wish to deprive the computer’s owner of the use of the information. No matter why a computer is stolen, most computer thefts have one common element: opportunity. In most cases, computers are stolen because they have been left unprotected.

Laptops and Portable Computers

Laptops and other kinds of portable computers present a special hazard. They are easily stolen, difficult to tie down (they then cease to be portable!), and easily resold. Personnel with laptops should be trained to be especially vigilant in protecting their ...

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