I had never really been stolen from – until this year. This year I got nailed; my car was broken into twice. One time they got my laptop. Unfortunately I had a lot of sensitive information on my laptop but it was protected by the Windows password. Now, were they able to hack into my computer and get my personal information? I’m not sure. I shudder to think about it. But they probably just wanted to sell the electronics on Craigslist for money, so I’m hoping they just formatted the drive.
Keeping your personal information safe from identity theft is a real matter. I hate to think about if those people were real thieves and had the knowledge to really go after my information from what they could find on the laptop. And unlike my iPad, I didn’t have an option to remotely format my hard drive the next time it connected to the internet. Then I thought, maybe there IS a program like that floating around out there. Because that would be rather helpful. If I’m never getting my laptop back, then I would love to ensure that nobody can get to what is on it. I searched around a bit, and found that LoJack (the car theft prevention and tracking company) actually produces software to help track and manage stolen laptops!
Another option is to encrypt your data, avoiding the need to remotely erase.
In the meantime I try to keep my laptop backed up to the cloud (so I don’t have to rely on fallible hard disks) and keep my computer free of spyware with programs like Malwarebytes (read this Malwarebytes review if you’re curious about it). It’s a pain in the neck, but I’ve learned the benefits of staying on top of backing up your stuff.