Laptop security is an issue for everyone from a college student's MacBook to a traveling businessperson's MacBook Pro. Security has many aspects, both for physical security and for data security. No single method is foolproof, and people must weigh the trouble and expense of prevention against the risks of loss. When I'm asked for advice about laptop security, the two most important suggestions I make are to avoid leaving the laptop unattended, and to back it up regularly. Beyond that, I give people plenty of other suggestions too, and I tell them to pick which make sense for their situation. I've never tried to make one single list like this before. Now I've tried to put it all together. Rather than recommend WHICH product of a given type to use, I've tried to list the choices I've heard mentioned. I'd appreciate having some of you check my homework for me. Don't leave your MacBook unattended, not even briefly. Be aware of your laptop, as you would a purse, in airports, hotel rooms, restaurants, libraries, dorm rooms, etc. - Back up your data regularly. You should do this anyway, in case of hardware failure or software bugs, but it is also critical in case or loss of theft. - Use a security cable. When the laptop is in a semi-private place like a dorm room, it's smart to keep it locked to a piece of furniture. You won't be watching it every second, other people may sometimes be around, or a door might be left open. Any cable can be cut by a determined thief, but this will stop a MacBook from walking off with an opportunist. - Use motion sensors, either with hardware (Targus DEFCON, MicroSaver Alarmed Lock) or software (TheftSensor, iAlertU, MultiAlarm). - Be less conspicuous. You want to protect your MacBook, but if you carry your MacBook in a backpack, not a laptop case, it's less obvious that you have a laptop. - Store backups elsewhere. Back up the system but don't leave the backup with the laptop. If you use an external firewire drive, then between backups put it in another room, the closet, another house, etc., rather than leaving it next to the MacBook. That way, a thief won't take the computer AND the backup copy. Backing up to an online service, like .mac, also avoids this problem. - Choose appropriate passwords and make use of them. Don't use guessable passwords. Log out when not using your MacBook. For the sacrifice of convenience, you can avoid auto-fill features, not leave passwords in an open keychain, and use a screensaver with a password check. - Set a firmware password. Use EFI (Intel) or Open Firmware (PPC) to set a password that prevents booting from another disk. - Use encryption. Consider which data on your MacBook is most sensitive and take care to protect it. One choice is to use Apple's FileVault feature on your home directory. But there are risks if the encrypted data somehow gets corrupted, and it's harder to restore files from a backup. Another choice is to keep encrypted disk images for certain files. You can use Disk Utility to create them or DropDMG for convenience. You might also use a standalone encryption product to encrypt individual files or folders on demand (??? any examples ???). - Install anti-theft software. Use a software package that "phones home" on the Internet or over a phone line (Undercover, LoJack for Laptops, XTool). There was also MacLoJack -- see post below. - Have separate logins. You might have one login for your routine documents (schoolwork), while using FileVault on another login that you use for financial documents or other sensitive information. By having a third login, with no password, you invite a thief to log in that way, making it more likely that they will connect to the Internet and activate the anti-theft software. - Recordkeeping. Record your MacBook serial number and keep this information on paper somewhere. Register your purchase. Keep track of what personal information you have on your MacBook, so you know what you've lost, what passwords to change, etc. if you ever lose it. Plan, ahead of time, how to avoid identity theft and what to do if it occurs. - Insurance. Check if loss or theft of your MacBook is already covered under an insurance policy you have. If not, get renter's insurance, a rider on a homeowner's policy, or some other type of coverage. - Avoid viruses/adware/spyware. Install security updates to Mac OS X or other software. Although it's fine to watch for news of new and specific threats that arise, you don't need any special software for Macs. - Keep your personal computer personal. Don't lend anyone your MacBook. Don't let strangers look over your shoulder. If you share your MacBook, insist that other people use separate logins. My questions to all of you: What do I have wrong? What did I omit?