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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Anti-Theft Devices

Still another threat is theft, either of your entire system or its individual components. (Thieves need not steal your server. They can remove hard disk drives, memory, or expansion cards.) The following section lists various tools that can help you secure your system or these components.

Laptop Lockup

URL: http://www.laptoplockup.com/

Laptop Lockup prevents laptop theft using tamper-resistant steel cables and a brass padlock. These attach the laptop to a desk or table. The product supports a wide range of laptops, PowerBooks, and such.


URL: http://www.pioneerlock.com/

FlexLok-50 locks down workstations with 1/2-inch wire rope cabling that will resist bolt cutters, wire cutters, and hacksaws. Pioneer also offers bottom-plate systems that attach workstations to tables and desks.

Computer Guardian

URL: http://www.bigfish.co.uk/business/guardian/

Computer Guardian is a non-platform-dependent anti-theft system for PCs. It consists of an expansion card and software (on an external diskette). When the PC is moved or its components are tampered with, the system emits a loud siren likely to scare the thief and alert others.


URL: http://www.computersecurity.com/fiber/index.html

Do you have a large network? PHAZER is a fiber-optic security device that detects physical tampering. This monitoring system relies on a closed loop of fiber-optic wire. If the loop is broken, an alarm is generated. PHAZER is great for securing university computer labs or other large networks.

Unique Numbers, Marking, and Other Techniques

Also consider taking steps to uniquely identify your system in case it's stolen later. Thousands of computers disappear each year and victims rarely recover them, even after the police investigate. Some users fail to keep receipts, others fail to jot down serial numbers, and so on. Without taking these measures, after a criminal reformats the drives, you'd have a difficult time identifying your machine.

Some safeguards that can help law enforcement include the following:

  • Maintain meticulous records on all your hardware, including model and serial numbers. You'll need these later. It's often not enough that you can recognize your machine by its dings, cracks, and crevices. Police usually demand something more substantial, like serial numbers, bills of sale, and so on.

  • Permanently mark your components with unique identifiers, using indelible ink, fluorescent paint, or UV paint/ink (which appears only under black light). Mark your motherboard, expansion cards, disk drives, the unit casing's interior and exterior walls, and your monitor.

In addition, investigate proprietary marking or ID solutions. Two in particular are STOP and Accupage.


URL: http://www.stoptheft.com/

STOP is a two-tiered theft prevention and identification system. First, an indelible chemical tattoo is etched into your hardware. This tattoo contains a message that identifies the equipment as stolen property. Over this, a special metal plate is fashioned that will adhere even under 800 pounds of pressure. Thieves can only defeat STOP by physically cutting away the tattooed, plated chassis.


URL: http://www.accupage.com/

Accupage is a hardware system that embeds an indelible message containing the PC's rightful owner's identity into the PC. Police can later examine this message to determine ownership, and whether the PC has been stolen. Accupage is being integrated into some new laptops, but older desktop systems can be retrofitted.

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