How to keep your digital data out of criminals’ hands


The theft of electronic devices, including smartphones and laptops, is an unfortunate reality. In the past few years, the theft of personal gadgets has been drastically increasing in South Africa. Snatching, which is when criminals snatch mobile phones or laptops from the hands, shoulders, or resting places next to owners, is a crime that’s on the increase in South Africa.

Besides the financial loss, losing a laptop (or even a cell phone) also means losing access to critical personal and professional information. This is incredibly problematic as it can lead to potential security breaches and even identity theft. Some statistics estimate that one in every 14 laptops purchased in South Africa will be stolen.

However, there are various ways you can protect your information from hackers and scammers in the event of your laptop being stolen. Remember, being prepared and proactive is the key to safeguarding your data in any unfortunate event, so make sure you’re protected.

Take note of TPM security
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a hardware-based security feature that provides enhanced protection for your laptop and its sensitive data. This specialised chip is designed to secure computer and laptop hardware with integrated cryptographic keys, which helps prove a user’s identity and authenticates their device. The chip is a secure crypto-processor generally built into the motherboard and offers cryptographic functions, secure storage, and hardware-based encryption capabilities.

It contains multiple physical security mechanisms, which means it is not only tamper-resistant, but it also ensures that malicious software, like ransomware, cannot affect the TPM’s security functions. By enabling TPM, you create a secure environment where your data is encrypted and protected against unauthorised access, even if your laptop falls into the wrong hands.

Put your data in the cloud
Cloud storage has become an increasingly popular solution for data backup and storage due to its convenience, accessibility, and security features. Storing your data in cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, or a combination thereof, provides an additional layer of protection against laptop theft.

When your files are saved in the cloud, they are stored in secure data centres with robust physical and digital security measures, including encryption and regular backups. Even if your laptop is stolen, your data remains safe and accessible from other devices through secure login credentials. By storing your sensitive information in the cloud, you can access it from any device with an internet connection, minimising the potential loss and allowing for easy data recovery in case of theft.

Implement good safety practices
Start by securing your laptop with a strong password that is difficult for others to guess. Avoid common passwords, such as birth dates, 1234, or even ‘password’, and opt for a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, encrypt your data using built-in encryption tools like BitLocker for Windows or FileVault for macOS. Encryption scrambles your data, making it unreadable without the decryption key, thus protecting your sensitive information from unauthorised access.

One of the most crucial steps in protecting your information is regularly backing up your data. Whether your data is backed up on an external hard drive or the cloud you must do back-ups often and if you are busy, why not consider automating the backup process to ensure you have the most recent copy of your data? By maintaining up-to-date backups, you can quickly restore your files on a new device if your laptop is stolen.

Maintain a proactive approach to security by regularly reviewing and updating your security measures. This includes keeping your laptop’s operating system and antivirus software up to date. Stay informed about emerging security threats and adopt best practices to ensure that your data remains protected against evolving risks.

Built-in ASUS security has your back
Apart from supplying world-class technology, Asus also prides itself on developing security systems that are entrenched into their systems to provide multiple layers of security. Regarding IT Management the Intel vPro supports hardware-based data encryption at file, folder and drive levels; the ASUS control centre is centralised management software that supports USB storage disabling so all your data is controlled and secured; and AI security reduces virus infection.

Its Identity Security systems offer TPM, Fingerprint sensors for secure login. At the same time, BIOS/HDD Password protects all data on the hard drive, so it’s both safe and cannot be overwritten. Finally, in terms of hardware protection, they recommend purchasing a Kensington Security Padlock (or similar) for moveable devices as they offer robust physical security of notebooks especially useful for preventing opportunistic snatching theft.


//Staff writer

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