Of all the laptops stolen every year, how many of them were physically secured in some way? The answer is likely to be close to zero.
We lock up bikes with expensive cables and D-locks, and nobody would dream of buying a car without an electronic immobiliser, so why are laptops the exception?
Hats off to Silicon.com for last year’s Freedom of Information research into laptop thefts reported to the UK police because it gives us some statistics from which to wonder aloud. According to these figures, the number taken in London during 2006 was 6,576, or 18 a day, every day.
Note that this only covered laptop thefts about which the police were told – an unknown number are only reported to insurance companies or disappear into general insurance claims made by companies. And they only include laptops stolen away from homes or company buildings.
Add up the totals for other UK cities, allow for a percentage increase since 2006, and take into account the hidden laptop theft numbers, and the number of laptops ‘going walkies’ is fairly staggering. Conceivably the figure for the whole of the UK could easily be between 50,000 and 100,000 a year.
So much laptop security nowadays wants to look after the data, but would there be such a problem if basic precautions were taken, such as physically tethering the laptop to an immovable object?
According to UK laptop lock manufacturer Autosafe International, part of the problem is that laptops come with a range of different security slots, making it tricky to find a lock that will fit all of them. The company has recently launched an ingenious lock, the CubeByte, it claims will fit any slot. Combining a thin but strong 1.8 metre cable of the type that comes with some bicycle tethers with a well-made locking mechanism on the end that automatically adjusts to the depth of the available laptop locking slot, the device is easily light enough to be carried around.
Portability is critical. It is on the road that laptops are at their most vulnerable. All you then need is an object to which to attach the CubeByte. (Don’t assume a thief won’t saw through table legs by the way.)
We’re not qualified to judge the lock’s efficiency against any of its rivals, but it looks like superb value to me at an RRP of £22 (approx $43). About the only criticism I can come up with is that it comes with only two keys. Everyone knows you need at least three; a primary key, a secondary key that gets put away somewhere so safe you forget where it is, and a third one as insurance for the moment you lose the first one and can’t find the second. The keys have 20,000 different codes, and can be re-ordered once the correct purchase proofs have been provided.
More on the CubeByte can be found on the company’s website .
Now if they only made one for bicycles too.