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Laptop theft is growing at alarming proportions. One laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, according to Gartner. A study by Dell revealed that over 12,000 laptops are lost in US airports every week. There are different ways to secure your laptop against theft, but in this article, we’ll show you a free way to improve your laptop security.
LAlarm is a free laptop security alarming software. It has several different alarms to help protect your laptop, the most important of them being the Theft Alarm.
Download and install the free laptop security software here. LAlarm is free for personal use, and version 4.0 works with Windows Vista, XP (SP2 or SP3). On Windows 7, you can try the latest beta version 5.0. The download is less than 1MB, and the setup program looks the same as the main program that you launch after installation.
LAlarm runs as a background process when you start your laptop. In my tests, it took up an insignificant 7.5MB of memory, so you probably won’t even notice that it is running.
Improve Laptop Security and Protect Against Theft
Securing your laptop is simple and can be done in two ways:
1. If your laptop is connected to a power outlet, simply lock it with the Win+L key shortcut
2. If there is no power outlet available:
a) Use a neck-strap or USB extension cord with any old flash drive and insert it into a USB port
b) Tie the neck-strap or cord to a firm table
c) Lock the laptop with the Win+L shortcut
The LAlarm website shows an example of how this is done:
That’s it. Now, when someone attempts to steal your laptop, either the power cord or the USB flash drive will get disconnected from the laptop. This triggers the Theft Alarm, and the thief will get a nasty shock because the laptop will emit a loud siren like a car alarm. In my testing, I was worried about neighbors rushing to see what was happening! The alarm stops only when you unlock the laptop by entering your login credentials.
For additional laptop security, you can also enable the Inattention Alarm in the Options > Alarm tab. This will trigger if there is a specified period of inactivity on your laptop in unsafe zones. Let’s see what “unsafe zones” are next.
Restrict Laptop Use To A Safe Area
You can use IP addresses to define “Safe Zones” in which your laptop is considered safe. If anyone tries to use it outside the pre-defined safe zones, it triggers the Perimeter Alarm.
The Inattention Alarm also makes use of these zones, so that alarms don’t go off when you take a lunch break at work.
Email and SMS Alerts
After installation, one of the first things you probably want to do is setup email alerts for the alarms, for which you can only use a Gmail account and need to supply your Gmail password. As this is software installed locally on your laptop, you need not be concerned about supplying your Gmail password. LAlarm sends you a test email to verify that the email is working properly.
You can also configure SMS alerts to your mobile phone using Email-to-SMS gateways. Note that these alerts will work only if there is an Internet connection present at the time of laptop theft.
Automatically Destroy Data In Case Of Theft
In case your laptop does get stolen, you can configure LAlarm to automatically destroy pre-defined data folders. You set these via the Options > Destruction tab.
In addition to destroying data, you can also run any custom programs you want to execute in case of theft from the Options > Theft Response tab.
Battery and Disk Protection Alarms
LAlarm also has Disk and Battery protection to help you maximize your laptop battery life and warn you of impending hard disk failure. The battery alarm is triggered at low battery levels that you can customize, and works with Li-ion type batteries.
Doesn’t this laptop security software sound too good to be free? Will you use it to protect your laptop against theft? Let us know in the comments!