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View Full Version : Has Anyone Had Their Laptop Stolen?


RobVanDam
Aug 11, 2003, 05:57 PM
If so, could you please list the circumstances.

I'm going off to college in a year and my christmas present this year is going to be a laptop to take to college. My dad is insanely paranoid about everything though and thinks someone will be able to steal it from my dorm room.

Is he actually right, or is he just being his same ol' paranoid self?

rainman::|:|
Aug 11, 2003, 06:07 PM
Macs tend to have a way to secure to things, a little slot or something, at least they used to. Of course a dorm room is less than ideal, but think of how many college students have laptops that don't get them stolen. Just be safe with it, don't leave it lying around, don't leave your room unlocked, beat the hell out of your roommate to keep him in line if you don't trust him. There are several kinds of software you can install that will detect a sudden change in enviroments and alert an outside source through the internet, i've heard they are somewhat successful. You get an email with all of the info you need to go to the cops and ISP... it's really a good precaution for any mobile user...

In short, tell him not to worry, you'll keep it safe. Getting a gun might not be a bad idea, see if you can get him to buy you one ;)

pnw

grapes911
Aug 11, 2003, 06:30 PM
I'm entering my 3rd year of college. You should be fine. I know many people at school (including myself) who have laptops. I only know of one person who has had their computer stolen. He reported it stolen and his ip address was placed on a "stolen" list. As soon as someone plugged the laptop into the network, the college police where notified and the guy was caught. As long as you lock your laptop to you desk and lock your door when you are not in your room, you should be fine. Just be smart about it.

Keith Purfield
Aug 11, 2003, 06:40 PM
As already suggested, you should get a Kensington security cable (http://www.kensington.com/html/1434.html). PowerBooks (I'm not sure about iBooks) have a slot for those. That's always a big up with security.

Schiffi
Aug 11, 2003, 06:45 PM
I got a locking cabnet.

MacFan25
Aug 11, 2003, 06:52 PM
I'm not sure if your parent's homeowner's insurance would cover a stolen laptop, but you can get insurance for your laptop. Here's a link:

http://www.safeware.com/

I haven't used this company, so I don't know what they are like. But, I saw it linked off of Xlr8yourmac.com, and some readers there commented on it. Here's that link:

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/archives/aug03/080503.html#S15928

Powerbook G5
Aug 11, 2003, 07:32 PM
I'd go for a Kensington lock, too. They are extremely strong and give you that added breath of relief. My college has been known to have thefts and I have two roommates who both tend to be careless about not locking the door when they leave, so any security measure you can reasonably take would be a good idea.

Kwyjibo
Aug 11, 2003, 07:41 PM
I already own the kensignton lock and it seems pretty sturdy so long as you have something solid to attach it too. The iBook does have the same security slot as the powerbooks.

I'm looking into LapCOp 2 for when I goto college. I'll probably do a bit more research but them seem like a solid company and the software looks good. I'm not sure of their URL but MacBytes just had a link to them. Its only 25$ for that extra sense of security.

tangerinedream
Aug 11, 2003, 07:44 PM
I had a PowerBook 667 stolen this past January from the studio at school-
It was locked to my desk, locked inside a cupboard, and in a room that can be accessed by 100 students- all of whom I am friends with- 3 janitors, and 5 (now 4) sleepy security guards.

I know 18 people who have had laptops stolen at college. DO NOT PUT IT DOWN. Pretend you're in naples and everyone's a gypsy- you cannot let your guard down (am i clear and threatening?) get an ipod- a big fat 30g and keep everything backed up all the time. You're parents homeowner's insurance will cover theft, but with a 500 deductible, and the police won't care who took it... esp the campus police... Kensington won't care, tho Kryptonite might- they'll replace a bike if someone can get through one of their locks... I bought a cheap broken iBook and fixed it up to bring with me whereever, and I keep the stealth PB locked.

As for tracking the IP if someone takes it, and plugs in, it will leave a mark on the network, but chances are, they won't be able to pinpoint where exactly- they were able to tell me what building my PB was in the day it was stolen :( very very sad to know that someone on campus has your computer that you are paying for for the next 4 years...
so ya, keep it with you or keep it locked- if you take it out, someone knows you have an ill system, and might be watching... this is really morbid, i'm sorry, but you can't be too carefull...

and be ready for theft, if you have it backed up, and you have your receipts, and dad's got another $500 it won't hurt much more than some rough dental work

good luck at school
c

iJon
Aug 11, 2003, 08:10 PM
lapcop 2 is a great way to add security. eveytime ive gotten onto another network i check my mail and it says everything about my laptop as well as where it is.

iJon

renman
Aug 11, 2003, 08:14 PM
I thought about the same thing and I talked with campus security, actually. Apparently, at my university, there were 3 reported cases last year, 2 of which were professor's. It seems apparent, however, that this in an anomoly. Buy a lock, don't be stupid and the odds are on your side.

grapes911
Aug 11, 2003, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by tangerinedream


As for tracking the IP if someone takes it, and plugs in, it will leave a mark on the network, but chances are, they won't be able to pinpoint where exactly- they were able to tell me what building my PB was in the day it was stolen :(
c

My school can track a computer to the port it is in. Very nice. You should see what you college can do. It can't hurt to know.

mnkeybsness
Aug 11, 2003, 09:02 PM
check out LapCop (http://homepage.mac.com/sweetcocoa/lapcop.html)

this little behind-the-scenes app will notify dedicated servers when your laptop is stolen with very valuable information that will allow the police to get on track to finding your laptop.

i also second getting a security cable. sure, they can be snipped, but usually if a thief sees a cable holding the laptop down they won't waste their time because they'll want to just be in and out as fast as they can...oh yeah...and LOCK your dorm when you are not in the room. that one's real easy.

Powerbook G5
Aug 11, 2003, 09:06 PM
What I did for added security is put the Apple skull and crossbones picture as my wallpaper and made it very clear to my roommates--touch my PowerBook and you will *wish* you were dead. :D Actually, I just told them it's my baby and if they value being able to use my Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube, they'd know not to mess with it. The true moral of the story, however, is at least get a Kensington lock and don't leave it lying around, because having a $2500+ piece of equipment lying around is like an open invitation to "Steal me".

scifi451
Aug 12, 2003, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by tangerinedream
You're parents homeowner's insurance will cover theft, but with a 500 deductible, and the police won't care who took it... esp the campus police... Kensington won't care, tho Kryptonite might- they'll replace a bike if someone can get through one of their locks... I bought a cheap broken iBook and fixed it up to bring with me whereever, and I keep the stealth PB locked.


Actually Kensington will care this comes from there site.
"MicroSaver Guaranteed Notebook Replacement is the strongest security cable from Kensington backed the industry's first replacement guarantee. Kensington will replace up to $1,500 per laptop and up to $10,000 per year per purchaser under its replacement guarantee program. " You can find it only for $39.95
Here is the link
http://www.kensington.com/html/2221.html

alia
Aug 12, 2003, 08:17 PM
You should be okay as long as you lock it to your desk or something like that... I had a classmate who's laptop was stolen right out of his dorm room. It was only a week or two old at the time too.Very, very sad. He never recovered it.

Alia

cb911
Aug 12, 2003, 08:36 PM
you should be able to get additional insurance for a laptop from your homeownere insurance. that's what i had, and then it should be covered from damage as well.

and just make sure you back up you stuff regularly. i've never had my laptop stolen, but just thinking about it... if i didn't have backups of my work, i'd be more worried about that than the laptop.

Abstract
Aug 12, 2003, 08:39 PM
Buy a lock, lock your dorm room, and better yet, keep it out of sight when not in use. Common sense should overcome the probability of theft, but since the 12" PB and iBooks are so small, thieves will obviously think they're easy to snatch up and conceal, so be careful if you're buying one of those. They're jailbait, much like the Olsen twins. :(

cb911
Aug 13, 2003, 12:45 AM
a good reason to get a 17" PowerBook!! it's really big, so it's not like theives could hide it nearly as easily as a 12"!:D

Daveman Deluxe
Aug 13, 2003, 01:17 AM
The single biggest thing you can do to prevent laptop theft is to make sure you DON'T advertise that you have a laptop. Don't buy a special case for it; instead, wrap it in a pillowcase and toss it into your book bag. This is serious business. If nobody knows you have a laptop, they're less inclined to try to steal it.

Keep your dorm room locked when nobody is in it. Carry your laptop around with you as little as possible, so it's locked in your room--much harder to get into than your backpack. Do like everybody else suggested and invest in a decent lock, preferably one with insurance, and secure it to some difficult-to-move-or-dismantle piece of furniture.

jefhatfield
Aug 13, 2003, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
If so, could you please list the circumstances.

I'm going off to college in a year and my christmas present this year is going to be a laptop to take to college. My dad is insanely paranoid about everything though and thinks someone will be able to steal it from my dorm room.

Is he actually right, or is he just being his same ol' paranoid self?

i do my college homework at borders bookstore, with my laptop

when i go to the bathroom, i unplug the machine and carry it with me to the bathroom...it may look weird, but i don't want $1600 dollars disappear in 20 seconds

when i go to get a cup of coffee or a soda at the cafe, i acutally take my machine with me under my arm...it is not worth the risk of losing your computer...and your work

RobVanDam
Aug 14, 2003, 08:01 AM
I doubt I'd leave it anywhere. I don't even like leaving my folders and such around in high school because odds are they won't be there, or they'll be spread out across who knows where when I get back. So I guess going to a high school full of *******s has actually taught me one thing.

Thank you for all the advice everyone, it has all been really helpful.

mrjamin
Aug 14, 2003, 09:04 AM
i'm at uni, my iBook was stolen about 2 months ago - we were broken into. at night, when we were all fast asleep!

Just make sure you're well insured and back stuff up regularly.

ALWAYS lock your doors/windows as insurance companies don't cough up when you're the one at fault.

Make sure you make a note of your serial number.

If the worst happens and it does get stolen, the chances are that the theif was a kid who wanted the money for drugs/drink/cigarrettes, and they're probably not too clue'd up on computers, so they just stole it to sell it on. Keep an eye out in local free-ads and second hand shops/pawn shops for it, if you find it then call the cops and you will get it back if you can prove its yours.

mrjamin
Aug 14, 2003, 09:06 AM
oh yeah, don't carry it round in a bag that has Laptop plastered all over it - you will get mugged. My advice (i've said this before) stick it in a jiffy bag - they're cheap and there's one that fits the iBook/12" and the 15" perfectly! They do a great job at protecting them when they're in a regular rucksack with a bunch of other crap.

rhpenguin
Aug 14, 2003, 09:59 AM
Well, what I do with my iBook is take the thing everywhere I go. I go to school, its with me. When im at home its right there too. And I also take it to work with me.

Sometimes its not very convenient, but i live in a ghetto neighbourhood and dont trust anyone that lives in it. Its bad enough i have four deadbolts on my door.

but for those occasions where you just cant take it with you, take advantage of that little hole that lets u stick a lock in it.

Ok, got to go now...

Royal Pineapple
Aug 15, 2003, 09:12 PM
my comp was stolen from my backpack on a train, my homeowners insurance turned over 1500 for it so all was well.
my ice book was stolen once from my dorm room but it was later recovered
i keep it with me now at all times and i am goning to purchace a nice kensington lock

Lord Bodak
Aug 15, 2003, 09:33 PM
My roommate senior year had a laptop and kept a Kensington lock on it-- we never had any problems.

Like everyone has said above, just don't be stupid-- if you leave your dorm room, lock the door; if you're out and have the laptop with you, don't walk away from it-- carry it with you.

peftyass
Feb 3, 2004, 05:43 PM
I just got an old clamshell ibook (0.3GHz!) real cheap. Even though it wouldn't be that desirable a machine for a thief, I'm interested in using the cable lock I have to lock down this ibook when I'm away from my desk.
Question: For the love of Pete, where's the slot that a standard laptop cable lock would fit into? I can't seem to find it on the ibook itself, and the WWW isn't helping me get much closer to the answer. Is there really no slot? If so, what was Apple thinking? And is there any alternative that would not require the slot?

If I'm just blind and have completely missed the slot, please fill me in on where to find it. Not afraid of feeling stupid....

Thanks...

Makosuke
Feb 3, 2004, 06:56 PM
Originally posted by peftyass
Question: For the love of Pete, where's the slot that a standard laptop cable lock would fit into? I can't seem to find it on the ibook itself, and the WWW isn't helping me get much closer to the answer. Is there really no slot? If so, what was Apple thinking? And is there any alternative that would not require the slot?There is no security slot on those iBooks. Bummer.

There is, however, an easy workaround: Thread your security cable through the handle on the back. It's a little less elegant, and a thief could of course break/cut the handle if he/she really wanted, but it's better than nothing and an iBook with a broken handle is probably pretty conspicuous.

Heck, write "If the handle of this computer is broken, it is stolen" in permanant marker somewhere or carve it into the case. Then don't break it yourself.

peftyass
Feb 3, 2004, 10:57 PM
Thanks, Makosuke... I think I'll take your idea and run with it...

-pk

arcuddihy
Feb 3, 2004, 11:40 PM
A friend of mine had her laptop stolen when it was sitting right next to her at a restaurant-she never left the table the whole time. She and her friend got distracted by someone asking if there were pillows upstairs or something equally inane. An accomplice walked by and grabbed it while they were distracted. She didn't even notice that her laptop was gone until she was getting ready to leave. Because of this if I'm at a restaurant or bar and put my bag on the floor, i usually put one of the shoulder straps through a chair or table leg. Makes it harder to do a snatch and run. People can be pretty sneaky!!

Earendil
Feb 4, 2004, 05:21 PM
Anyone know if Lapcop is still active? I told my Dad, a fellow PB owner, about this piece of software (hoping he'd buy the family license and I'd get it for free) only to inform me he had already gotten it some time ago. Though because I brought it up, he realized he hadn't gotten the emails in some time now. Same OS, could be his prefs finally learned his two work addresses, but he didn't change anything. just curious if anyone knows that this program is still up and running.

It isn't subscription, and it does rely on the company being in business. After the initial profit they have to spend time and money keeping it going with the current users even if they make no money be continuing to sell it :(

Tyler

neoelectronaut
Feb 4, 2004, 05:44 PM
Wow, I was considering getting a iBook in a few years, and reading this topic has gotten me a bit weirded out...

mactastic
Feb 4, 2004, 05:49 PM
Seems like I've seen some stands that can mount to your desk in your dorm for instance, that lock the computer to the desk pretty securely, as well as provide a convienent stand for working on. Of course you still need a cable lock for those times when you are out and about too.

Another bit of advice is to make sure your computer is completely password protected. Password to log in. Password to wake from sleep. Open firmware password to prevent unauthorized startup from a disk other than your HD. At least that way you have the satisfaction of knowing the thief won't easily be able to use it, and no matter what, can't get to your data. They'll have to install a new HD to use your computer at that point.

varmit
Feb 5, 2004, 07:51 AM
He got his stolen, only because he left his door open and walk away for too long. Then he didn't even report it! He was never the bright one of the group. If you can get a lock, lock it. Otherwise, put it away, not on your desk if you leave the room, door locked or unlocked, for a good period of time.

Mord
Feb 5, 2004, 02:22 PM
II take my ibook 600mhz cd to school (Hampstead comprehensive london) i am the only one in the school that has one so I generally get quite a bit of attention.

I have had people mug me demanding my laptop but i'm 6 foot sumthing so I can genraly fend them off

My ibook is pretty distinktive as it has my name and adress inscribed on itand it has a mirroerd lid with a pirate flag :) so only compete idiots try to steel it

I have the luxury of being quite scary looking so I dont get to much trouble

Keep hold of you laptop at all times sleep with it next to you (i got a light sensor net to the pulsateing light but im paranoid) if your at a table with you laptop out not useing it keep it on your lap.

my ibook is never more than two meters away from me :)