Nobody plans to lose their gadgets, but anybody can make a few moves ahead of time to up their chances of getting their stuff back, whether with the help of good-natured finders or subtle tracking tools. Here are our favourite post-theft tools.
Image via jasonsrobb.
10. Replace a Lost or Forgotten Charger for Free
9. Encrypt Your Web Passwords, Don’t Store Them Locally
8. Keep Your Name and Number Handy for Good Samaritan Finders
7. Ensure You’ve Got Alternate Emails and SMS Verification Set Up
6. Prevent Theft in the First Place
5. Include a Great Photo Message on Camera Memory
4. Encrypt Sensitive Data on Your Hard Drive
3. Install a Remote Wipe for Your Smart Phone
There’s a chance you may never find your laptop or mobile phone. There’s an even greater chance that somebody who’s now got access to your email, address book, and personal files can find something to take advantage of inside that device. So set up your system so you can wipe it remotely. On Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile phones, there’s WaveSecure ($19.90/year), and Android users can also try Norton Security’s beta app (comes with 100-day subscription, pricing unavailable), the free service iTag, or craft their own personalised phone tracking tool with the Tasker app. iPhone owners are kind of stuck with Apple’s $119/year MobileMe service, which can both track and remotely wipe out your phone’s data, but it does seem fairly effective.[imgclear]
2. Cover All the Bases to Get Your Thumb Drive Back
1. Install Prey for a Set-and-Forget Tracking System
Hardware-tracking tool Prey has a lot going for it from just a simple glance at it. It’s an open-source app, it’s available on most any computer system, along with Android phones, and it’s free. But best of all, it’s the perfect system for lazy owners. Install it, authorize it with Prey’s web site, and then you do nothing until it’s actually stolen. Flip the switch on the site, and then Prey gets to work grabbing webcam pics, desktop screenshots, all kinds of system and network data, and a geo-location fix, if possible. You can escalate to system lock-downs, loud alarms, warning messages, and some browser data wiping, if you’d like, but you can also just wait for someone to wise up, or make a very identifying mistake. (Original post)
What have you done with your gear to make it easier to return, or easier for the cops to find? Share your own post-loss strategies in the comments, or testify to the pros and cons of the above.