Information Technology and Services

Secure'cUse: Prevent Device Theft

Computer thief

Protect your device and yourself
Studies show that more than 2 million laptops are stolen each year. The mobility of phones, tablets and laptops make them an easy target. You can protect your devices and yourself from theft, data loss and stolen identity by following this advice.

Keep it safe
Don’t leave your device alone, even for a minute. If you’re not using it, lock your device in a cabinet, drawer or use a security cable. Security cables and locks are sold at the SU Bookstore.

Differentiate your device
Make your device look different than everyone else’s. It’s less than likely someone will steal your device and say they thought it belonged to them. Sometimes these markings make the laptop harder to resell, so they’re less likely to be stolen. Use a permanent marking, engraving or tamper-resistant commercial asset tags. Don’t use your Social Security Number. STOP Theft Tags, available at the SU Bookstore, have proven to be effective. 

Delete critical information
Don’t keep any restricted data on your laptop. We recommend you search your computer for restricted data and delete it. Restricted data includes your social security number, credit card numbers, net ID’s, passwords and other personally identifiable information. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget that this information is on your computer.

Back it up
Back up your data often! Keep an external copy of important files from your laptop in case it is lost or stolen. Your photos, papers, research and other files are irreplaceable and losing them may be worse than losing your device.

Encrypt Information
Protect your personal data with the built-in disc encryption feature included with your computer’s operating system. These programs include BitLocker for Windows and FileVault for Macs.

Register your device
Registering your device with the manufacturer will increase the chance you’ll get your device back if it’s ever stolen. Registering will “flag” a device and if someone else sends it in for service, you will be contacted. If your device is stolen, notify the manufacturer right away. 

Record the serial number
Record and store the serial number and network card serial number (also known as MAC address) of your device. On tablets and handhelds this is called a WiFi address. These numbers are visible to network administrators, making it easier to find and identify your device if it is stolen. Learn how to find your MAC address here.

Install the software
Install and use tracking and recovery software, like LoJack or Prey. Some software comes with remote wipe capabilities. This feature allows you to log onto an online account and delete all the information from your laptop. There are both paid and free versions of this type of software, and each provides different levels of features. Search online to find the best combination of cost and functions to meet your needs.

If your device is stolen
  • Contact: SU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 005 Sims Hall, (315) 443-2224.
  • Email SU’s Information Technology and Services Department (ITS). Their Networking team may be able to find the missing device.
  • Quickly contact both DPS and the ITS Networking team with as much as you know about the device. Your speedy report will increase the likelihood that your device will be recovered and may help others from becoming victims.

January 5, 2012

Last Updated: 05/07/13