IT Security for ordinary people – Stickers

This tip is probably the simplest one I will ever give you; If you have a laptop – put some stickers on it. You might say “only geeks have stickers on their laptops”. And while that might be true, there’s a real reason you should copy them immediately. The difference a couple of stickers can make is palpable.

It’s a growing problem with physical tampering. Governments, corporate competitors or data thieves all do it. They might be looking for sensitive data to sell or to install malware on your computer. If you have stickers on your laptop, they can’t copy everything you have on your drive to another identical machine with malware installed. That’s just basic computer security.

Do I have to care about IT security?

You might think this sounds crazy. But people travelling to China have reported problems with both data theft and hardware tampering. You can always encrypt your drive and use strong passwords to keep casual thieves out. But travelling gives someone with evil intentions many opportunities to compromise your laptop.

And there is a lot more than just stickers that can help reduce your risk when you are travelling. Wired has written more about that here, but one secret is glitter nail polish.

The hassle of adding some stickers to your laptop is minimal compared to the alternative. To get your computer installed with malware, or to get it compromised in any way is not fun. And if you have sensitive information on your drive getting it stolen can damage the company you work for, your clients or you directly.

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