In case of theft

In the last few months, several of my friends have had either their laptops or phones stolen.

It’s only after I really thought what that would mean to me that I realised how serious this would be.

It used to be that if my phone got stolen then I would lose my address book and my text messages; if it gets stolen now then I lose a device which has full access to my Google account, is signed into more than a dozen other web services and has “remember my password” for the others.

If my laptop was stolen it would be a similar effect.

I am a very very happy user of Dropbox and use it to store my documents, photos, and so on. The Dropbox website allows me to remotely remove computers from the list of machines that sync, which is useful, but there’s still no way of then pulling all those files off of that machine.

There are quite a few apps in the Android Market that allow you to back up and then remotely wipe your phone (as well as do other things like lock the install/uninstall process, report GPS position etc.), but I haven’t been able to find something similar for laptops – I could encrypt my hard drive, but would the hit to performance be worth it? I’ve tried setting up Prey, but although it installs on my phone, it chokes on my laptop!

Guarding online banking

An image of the PINsentry tool

Apparently at the end of this month I’ll be sent a small tool to make my online banking more secure. It’s called PINsentry. As far as I, as a selfish user, can see it’s actually designed to make my online banking experience slower and limit it to one location at a time (unless I want to drag it around with me at all times).

The website does actually provide a list of FAQs but for some inexplicable reason it’s Flash-based so I can’t actually link to the one which says that if I don’t have my reader with me I can view my accounts and nothing more.

I’ll save any further comment until I’ve received it, but at the moment I’m not feeling particularly generous.