Laptop Lockup

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FTC Offers Tips for Laptop Security

Consumers can take many measures to make their laptop secure from hackers, viruses, and other potential threats, such as installing firewalls, updating antivirus software, and using strong passwords. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is offering tips for protecting laptops from theft.

OnGuardOnline.gov and Alertaenlinea.gov offer sections devoted to laptop security, including tips for computer users and a game, “Mission: Laptop Security,” that quizzes computer users on safe practices. For example, is your laptop safer in the trunk of the car, under the driver’s seat, or should you take it inside the restaurant with you? (Answer: take the laptop inside.) Should you place your laptop in the hotel room safe, or locked with a security cable to a heavy piece of furniture? (Answer: Either one, as long as you secure your laptop and don’t just leave it in the hotel room.)

More information on the following tips is available online:

  • Treat your laptop like cash.
  • Keep it locked.
  • Keep your passwords elsewhere.
  • Mind the bag.
  • Get it out of the car.
  • Don’t leave it “for just a minute.”
  • Pay attention in airports.
  • Be vigilant in hotels.

Laptop security is one of many topics covered by OnGuard Online, a multimedia, interactive consumer education campaign launched by the FTC and a partnership of other federal agencies and the technology industry. The comprehensive Web site, OnGuardOnline.gov has tips, articles, videos, and interactive activities. There is no copyright on the quizzes or other information on OnGuardOnline.gov; the information can be downloaded by companies and other organizations to use in their own computer security programs. The content is available in Spanish through AlertaenLinea.gov.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

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