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VOL. 133 | NO. 104 | Thursday, May 24, 2018




Summer Vacation Planning: Don’t Forget to Pack the LoJack

Patrick Tamburrino

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Some time ago, our support center received a frantic email from a customer. His laptop had been stolen from his rental car while he was traveling in Texas for business. He wasn’t sure what to do, and was concerned about the loss of data in addition to the obvious concern of finding the hardware.

Thankfully, we had advised this customer to install a laptop theft recovery software product on its fleet of computers called LoJack. The software allowed us to place a “lock” on the computer so that if it came back online in any way, it would be rendered useless unless a specific unlock code that we or our customer generated was entered. At this point, we went ahead and notified the authorities of the situation and sent the lockdown code to the device.

Interestingly, a few months later, we received an alert that the device came back online – in China. Unfortunately there wasn’t a way for us to get the hardware back, but we had an electronic record of the serial number and sent a “wipe it out” signal that rendered the hardware completely useless.

At the time, LoJack was groundbreaking tracking technology. Over the past few years, other vendors have followed suit and provided similar functionality for their products (think “Find my iPhone”).

As you gear up for summer travel, take a few minutes to protect your electronic assets – and your vacation fun! – with the tips below. There are more tools than ever before to keep data safe and some simple steps you can take to prevent theft in the first place:

• If you use Public Wi-Fi access points, make sure you “forget” the network when you’re done using it. And as a rule, keep the work you do on a public network as general as possible. In other words, don’t do anything with sensitive or personal information.

• Install or register your iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, Android (the list goes on) with some sort of locator service. Most of these devices come with the service or application built in so you can choose what to use. In the case your device is stolen or lost, you can lock it down or wipe it.

• Always be vigilant, physically. Watch your bags closely, don’t leave your devices unattended for any reason or for any length of time, especially if traveling abroad. iPhones, for example, are quite the hot commodity in Europe these days and thieves are well prepared to steal from unsuspecting tourists.

Take a few simple steps before you board that plane or hit the road, and help ensure that you do not let a thief ruin your well-deserved vacation via the loss of your tech devices.

Patrick Tamburrino, president and technostrategist at Tamburrino, a Memphis-based information technology managed services firm, can be reached at patrick@tamburrino.com.

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