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Articles/Guides

Avoiding Laptop Theft

(1)Oh NO! Filipinos in bad light due to Laptop theft: <click here>

(2) How real is laptop theft? See it on YouTube <click here>

(3) Not exactly laptop theft but how damaging can stolen information can be... <click here>


10 years ago when travelers were victimized the object of theft was cameras, five years ago it was camcorders, today it’s laptops.

How do laptops get stolen: Real Stories
a) At CoolTOYZ we have been victimized twice(2x) by Laptop Theft. In both instances 2 female customers will pretend to be interested in an item while their male counterparts (in both instances wearing sun glasses) would steal a laptop left unattended on a counter top. Both Laptops (Dell 1150 and Dell LS400) have not been recovered.


b) Laptop buyers, beware: <click here>

MANILA, Philippines — Tempted to buy a laptop at an amazingly low price? Think again, you could end up in trouble.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) issued this warning on Wednesday as it announced the arrest of a salesman who was selling laptops at very low prices via www.tipidpc.com. It turned out that the laptops were stolen.

NBI Director Nestor M. Mantaring said Delver Dizon, 31, a resident of 153 Reparo St. of Baesa district in Caloocan City was cornered by investigators using a modern technology to trace the laptop that was forcibly taken from a parked car.

In a report to Mantaring, the Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division headed by Assistant Regional Director Vicente de Guzman III disclosed that the complainant’s laptop was stolen sometime in July inside his car that was parked at a gasoline station in Magallanes Village, Makati City...


c) Lost-your-laptop-Try-looking-for-it-on-Net (Phil. Inquirer[07/16/2008]) <click here> <click here>

MANILA, Philippines – People who lost their laptop computers or cell phones to thieves should check sites on the Internet that offer secondhand electronic equipment.

Michael Arcilla, a marketing manager, did just that and found out that his Dell laptop computer, which was stolen from him in a San Juan City restaurant on Tuesday, was being offered for sale by a person with the user name “armzsore.” The computer had been stolen just a day before...

Senior Supt. Eduardo Villena, head of the EPD District Investigation and Detective Management Division, however, said that with the intervention of three lawyers, the suspect was ordered released on Monday by a prosecutor “for formal investigation.” [Comment: SICK! Hope the laptops of these protectors get stolen to serve as a lesson - CoolTOYZ]

d) Laptop rob gang in Pasig collared (Phil Star[July 23, 2008]) <click here>

To bust a robbery syndicate operating at the Metro Walk Strip mall in Pasig City, elements of the Eastern Police District placed a laptop as bait and waited for their quarry to make their move.

EPD director Chief Superintendent Leon Nilo de la Cruz said he dispatched four of his men to the mall following reports of rampant robbery of laptop computers, especially during the wee hours of the morning victimizing tipsy clients...

True Story of a Stolen Laptop in the Philippines. An inq7.net article by Mr Erwin Oliva, outlines the story of how one of our subscribers, Mr Ramon Abalos, was able to recover his stolen laptop. Swift NBI action on the part of Special Agent Robert Gonzales resulted in BOTH the recovery of the laptop, AND the apprehension of a suspect.<click here>

e) It's been more than a year since an unattended laptop disappeared from the U.S. Department of State's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Two top-level administrators were fired and four others received career-ending reprimands for losing a notebook computer that contained sensitive nuclear weapons proliferation data . Despite an intensive investigation and a $25,000 reward, the FBI has been unable to recover the missing laptop. The State Department administrator who had his laptop stolen in a crowded conference room was doing nothing different than what thousands of executives do every day-hauling a notebook computer from appointment to appointment. <click here>

f) "About 40 percent of the systems stolen occur when a person is in the office," says Courtney Celi of lock manufacturer Kryptonite (www. kryptonitelock.com). "Many times it's co-workers who are taking the computers."

A division of GMAC Financial Services (Winston Salem, N.C.) has been quietly informing about 200,000 of its customers that their personal data may have been compromised due to the theft of two laptop computers. The missing data include names and social security numbers stored on 2 laptops that was stolen last month from a car parked in the home garage of an MCI (Profile, Products, Articles) financial analyst, said Linda Laughlin, an MCI spokeswoman. <click here> Can you afford this happening to your business?

g) Imagine, if you will, that you are the executive of a major international mega-corp who is giving a presentation to a group of American Business Editors and Writers. After delivering a successful speech to the group, you move about the crowd, taking questions. Meanwhile, your laptop sits happily up on the podium you used to deliver your presentation. When you return to the podium, you discover that in the few short minutes that you've been away, someone has pinched your laptop. Sound improbable? This actually happened last September to Irwin Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm <click here>




i) Successful Recovery of a Stolen Laptop.
- You may learn a few lessons from the victim.

Bale I was in Gateway nung Monday at nasa tabi ko yung bag ko. Kasama sa laman ng bag yung laptop ko, SDHC memory cards, globe tattoo, flash drive, mga personal at gamit sa school. Bigla nalang nawala sa tabi ko ng di ko namamalayan. Sobrang nagulat nga ako kung paano nakuha yung bag ko e ang bigat bigat nun. So nagfile ako ng incident report sa security ng Gateway.

Tapos kahapon nakita kong may nagpost sa IFS(Item for Sale) section ng laptop natin. Nag-inquire ako kung anong kasama. Itinanong ko kung may box pa bang kasama, wala na daw box at blue sling bag lang daw ang kasama. Kinutuban na ako kasi nasa blue na laptop bag yung akin. Tapos sabi nya kunin ko na daw yung unit at makinis pa! (Makinis talaga yun e inalagaan ko yun ng mabuti eh!) May picture din yung item sa post nya. Bale tinanggal ko kasi yung USB 3.0 sticker natin last week lang (siguro ginusto na din ni God na tanggalin ko yun for reference) at nakita ko na yung nasa picture, wala ding USB 3.0 sticker. Sobrang coincidence naman kung sakali. So nakipagset-up akong i-meet yung seller ng 5pm sa SM Manila.

Pagkauwi ko from work, dumiretso ako sa Gateway to get a copy of my incident report. I included yung serial number ng laptop ko sa report. I also asked my mom to take pictures of the box if in case I need to prove my ownership. Kasama yung 2 kaibigan ko, pumunta na kami ng SM Manila. The first thing that we did is to look for the security office. Pagkarating sa office, inexplain ko yung case na may pinagsususpetsahan akong nagbebenta nung laptop ko at imimeet ko ng 5PM. So pinasamahan kami ng 4 na guards. Hindi ko kasi sigurado kung kasabwat yung seller sa nagnakaw nung laptop ko so para makasigurado, yung kaibigan ko yung pinaharap ko. Sinaulo din nung kaibigan ko yung serial number ko at sinabihan ko sya na kung magma-match yung serial number i-text lang ako ng "positive." So standby lang kami sa labas kasi baka mamaya hindi ko pala laptop yun. Nung nagtext yung friend ko ng positive. Sinabihan ako nung main security na imbitahan ko daw sa office, kapag pumalag saka lang sila ba-back-up. So nilapitan ko si seller, nanlaki yung mata nya at sinabi ko "Sir, pwede po ba kayong maimbitahan sa Customer Service Relations office?" Di naman sya pumalag at sabi nya lang, "Sige po." Hinayaan nya din akong kunin yung laptop ko at hindi sya pumalag.

Paulit-ulit nya lang na sinasabi na taga-benta lang daw sya. Sinabi nya pa sa akin na buti daw nahanap ko yung laptop ko!! So na-hold kami sa office kasi naghihintay ng transportation papuntang Police Station. Pagkarating dun, I've decided na wag nalang mag-file ng case. Parang sapat na siguro yung nanakawan ako. Sobrang abala na sa akin nung nangyari.

Happy na din ako kasi nakuha ko uli yung laptop ko kahit binura nila yung mga importanteng files and footages ko.


For more blogs about Laptop Theft <click here>

Consider these facts:
a. Total laptop theft losses for 2004 increased to over $6.7 million.
According to the FBI, laptop theft is the second most prevalent computer crime, with less than 2 percent of stolen laptops recovered. Total laptop theft losses for 2004 increased to more than $6.7 million. Over 1.5 million laptops are expected to be reported stolen in 2004, an increase of over 50 percent from last year.<click here>

b. Did you know? Over 1,500 laptops are stolen every day (per MIT's Technology Review Magazine)<click here>

c. UK police forces show that over 34,000 laptops are reported stolen each year.
This is almost 100 per day and only deals with those that are actually reported to the police.<click here>

Criminals look at laptops as a good return on their “investment”. A good laptop can be worth up to $5,000 dollars. A criminal can sell a stolen laptop to an unsuspecting used computer store or pawnshop and easily receive up to half it’s value in cash. Not too bad when you compare that to the amount of cash a thief would get by targeting your wallet. How much money would they get from you, $60.00? It easy to understand why your laptop is so desirable to a thief. In addition to the obvious monetary benefit, there is also a legal benefit to stealing property vs. someone’s money. Most career criminals know that the penalties for a crime against property (theft) are less severe than those of a crime against a person ( robbery) like stealing money. So to sum it up, laptops are worth more than cash,, and if you are caught stealing them the penalty is less severe. <click here>


In addition, the data they contain is sometimes exposed to more risk, especially in the case of wireless connectivity.
In case of theft, the user not only loses the machine, but the data is stolen as well.
If the victim happens to be a salesperson whose contact list is stored on a notebook or a student writing a thesis, the loss of such data can be devastating.

How about those precious pictures of your family?


Laptop security can be broken down into three phases: physical security, access control/Data Protection and tracking/recovery.

Some TIPS we personally recommend as fellow Laptop Users:

1. ENABLE YOUR BIOS PASSWORD
Take advantage of password locking features included in your laptop operation manual.
Modern Laptops have three levels of Portection in the BIOS level.
a. Bios Password - Password needed to boot the computer
b. Administrator Password - Password needed to alter the bios Settings
c. Hard drive Password - Password to access the Harddrive.

Our Tip - Enable a strong BIOS password
Foil would be data thieves right from the start by password protecting the BIOS. Some laptop manufacturers have stronger BIOS protection schemes than others, so do some homework before relying on this alone. A laptop with a Bios password will be harder to sell as no one would purchase a useless machine. Likewise your data will be protected
Find out from your laptop manufacturer what the procedure is for resetting the BIOS password.
If they absolutely demand that you send it back into the factory and don't give you a "workaround", you'll have a better chance of recovering the machine and maybe even catching the thief
. (Both IBM and Dell scored well in our field tests) <click here>


2. PERMANENT MARKING or ENGRAVE the laptop:
Permanently marking (or engraving) the outer case of the laptop with your company name, address, and phone number may greatly increase your odds of getting it returned to you if you happen to carelessly leave it in a hotel room. Include "return information" on the label in case a laptop is lost and not stolen.

According to the FBI, 97% of unmarked computers are never recovered. Clearly marking your laptops deters casual thieves and may prevent it from simply being resold over the internet via an online auction. It is harder to dispose of property with your name all over it. And the cost of having it labeled is quite cheap. That doesn’t mean they might not cut it up for components, but at the least they aren’t getting the full machine and it may act as a deterrent when trying to look for a complete system to swipe. Remember the thief gets his best deal with a completely operational machine...


3. WRITE DOWN YOUR LAPTOP'S SERIAL NUMBER:
Registering your laptop with the manufacturer will "flag" it if a thief ever sends it in for maintenance, and increases your odds of getting it back. It also pays to write down your laptop's serial number and store it in a safe place. In the event your laptop is stolen, it will be impossible for the police to ever recover it if they can't trace it back to you.
Many people think because laptops have serial numbers they can be traced as stolen property. This is a false sense of security. In real life, I have been able to return very few stolen laptops. As a police detective who has investigated thousands of crimes of stolen property, I would guess that less than ten percent of the victims had their serial numbers recorded for report purposes.<click here>


4. DISABLE any AUTO-LOGIN features in Windows XP, and use strong passwords
This will prevent identity theft by the thief. With your data protected at least only the Physical Laptop is stolen and not your identity

Windows 2000 and XP Professional both offer secure logon, file level security, and the ability to encrypt data. Windows 2000 and XP Professional have built in strong file encryption based on the identity of the user. It is called the Encrypting File System (EFS), and will not allow any other user account to view the files. If you are running Windows 95, 98, or ME on your laptop, your password won't prevent someone turning on your computer and accessing your data. In this case you need a "boot-up" password, which prevents your computer powering up correctly, and good encryption software to protect the sensitive data on laptops. <click here>

5. TAKE PRECAUTIONS in PUBLIC PLACES:
Don't count on others to baby-sit your computer if you need to walk away for a few minutes. No one is a better guardian than you. Take your computer with you.
Although the theft of a laptop computer can occur at any place or time, there are certain obvious locations-- company offices, airports, hotels and conference centers, college campuses, libraries and hospitals -- where incidents occur most frequently. So it obviously pays to pay particular attention to your machine at these locations. In places such as hospitals and libraries, laptops are stolen by people who either have or appear to have a legitimate reason for being there. This may include contractors, service persons, custodians, delivery persons or even vendors.
Do not leave your laptop unattended even if you have a security cable or security system

6. DISGUISE YOUR LAPTOP:
Nothing says "Steal me" like walking around a public place with a leather laptop case with the manufacturer's or your company's logo stamped to the side. Consider buying a form fitting padded sleeve for your laptop, and carrying it in a backpack, courier bag, briefcase, or other common non descript carrying case. For men, backpacks make it easier to keep you laptop with you when you go to the bathroom. (A prime target area for laptop thieves in hotels, bars, airports, and convention centers). If you are traveling in airports and train stations, consider putting small locks on the zippers of your case (especially backpacks) so no one can simply reach into your bag and rip you off as you are standing in line.

Sporting Bags with bright colors or large tags. Since thieves don't want to draw attention, they will often avoid stealing bags that stand out.

7. When Walking have the strap going ACROSS YOUR CHEST, with the laptop in front of you, rather
than having the strap over your shoulder and the computer at the side, which is a much easier target."

8. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR LAPTOP in your VEHICLE , if you must, ensure it's in the trunk or covered up - not in plain view.never leave your laptop in a vehicle where a passing thief can see it through the window.
If you do place your laptop in the trunk, use your cable lock to secure it to the trunk lid so that they still can't take it easily even if they manage to open the trunk.

9. BACK-UP YOUR DATA REGULARLY
Be sure to back up your data, and maintain copies of important data somewhere other than the laptop. There are products that will perform automatic backups whenever a connection to the Internet is detected. While on the road, you might consider using an external portable storage device for back ups – they can hold anywhere from 30Mb to 80GB of data on a disk small enough to fit into your pocket. In the eventuality that your Laptop is stolen, part of your work will still be available...


9. LOCK IT UP – Laptop locks and security cables are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to deter a would be thief. Although a determined thief would have the tools to cut though a laptop lock, it is less likely they would bother with your locked machine when there are so many other unlocked laptops out there. Lock your laptop in your office or work area during off-hours. Or put the laptop in a locked closet or cabinet. According to the FBI, about 70 percent of the computers that businesses report stolen each year can be attributed to internal theft. <click here>

We hope you found this article helpful in protecting your purchase.
If you have any additional tips or reccomendations, please email us at inquiry@cooltoyzph.com

Thank you

Post Message:
A good friend and co-worker from overseas told me about the all-too-common theft of laptops and cell phones in some parts of the world. It seems that a cell phone will be accepted as payment for a pleasant evening with a young lady of the evening, and a laptop will buy an entire weekend with such a lovely lady. As most business travelers don't personally own their laptops, they often use them as payment for services rendered and just report them to their employers as as stolen. Since then, I have viewed statistics about stolen laptops with somewhat of different viewpoint and wonder how many were really and truly stolen and how many were used as payments to prostitutes. <click here>