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protecting your laptop with cable lock

How to Keep Your Laptop Safe at School: A Comprehensive Guide

Kirstyn Amanda
|
Reading time: 7 minutes

Laptops are invaluable tools for students and teachers at school. They provide access to information online that is helpful for research and can be used to store documents and files.
Yet, this convenience is met with the ever-present risk of theft and the growing concerns of cyber-attacks, where personal information, such as passwords and credit details, falls into unauthorized persons.
In this guide, we’ll discuss physical and digital laptop protection methods that you can use to ensure the safety of your laptop at school. We’ll also take a look at the best laptop locks from HP.

Physical laptop protection

While you can’t always stop a determined thief, there are other proactive steps that you can take to deter someone from quickly grabbing your laptop when you are distracted.
The best way to thwart opportunistic theft is by staying vigilant. If you must use the bathroom, ensure that you don’t leave your laptop unattended, and if need be, ask a friend to keep an eye on it for you.
Let’s explore some other physical laptop protection methods you can use to safeguard your laptop at school.

Use laptop cases and bags

Laptop cases and bags are useful for carrying laptops to and from school and act as the first line of defense against theft. That is why we recommend that when shopping for the best school bags, you prioritize bags equipped with features such as a dedicated laptop compartment and double coil lockable zippers. These features provide an extra layer of security, preventing unauthorized access to your bag without your knowledge.

Use laptop locks

It only takes a few seconds for someone to grab your laptop in a shared space such as a dormitory, library, or classroom. You can combat this vulnerability by using laptop locks to tether your laptop to a stationary object whenever you intend to leave it unattended. Consider one of the following HP laptop locks to help safeguard your device:

HP Keyed Cable Lock 10 mm

HP Keyed Cable Lock 10 mm
First up is our HP Keyed Cable Lock 10 mm laptop lock that will help keep your ultra-thin notebooks safe from opportunistic theft. We’ve crafted this lock with a user-friendly loop and lock design. To securely tether your laptop, simply loop the 6ft galvanized steel cable around a stationary object like a desk. Then, insert the master key into the lock and turn it clockwise by 90 degrees.

HP Sure Key Cable Lock

HP Sure Key Cable Lock
If you are still looking for the perfect laptop lock, look no further than our HP Sure Key Cable Lock. Our team has fitted it with interchangeable lock head options to ensure compatibility with various lock slots. Even if your laptop has a standard lock slot, a wedge lock slot, a nano lock slot, or a long nano slot, this versatile and adaptable laptop lock will secure it.

HP Nano Keyed Cable Lock

HP Nano Keyed Cable Lock
The ultra-thin HP Nano Keyed Cable Lock is one of the most secure laptop locks. Our team has crafted it using high-strength galvanized steel cable that is resistant to cutting attempts and, thus, provides a reliable defense against tampering.
In addition to its robust strength, the cable exhibits flexibility and adaptability, allowing it to tether your laptop to various stationary points securely. The cable lock head also has a remarkable 360-degree range that allows you to secure your laptop at just the right angle without hassle.

HP Essential Nano Combination Cable Lock

HP Essential Nano Combination Cable Lock
We’ve designed the ultra-thin HP Essential Nano Combination Lock to provide security solutions for your HP notebooks with a nano lock slot. We’ve also engineered it to overcome vulnerabilities that arise from key duplication by equipping it with a keyless push-button mechanism. This locking mechanism enables you to set a customized four-digit combination you can easily recall before you lock your laptop.

Digital laptop protection

Laptops hold a wealth of personal data such as photos, school work, and important documents making them a prime target for cybersecurity attacks. To safeguard them, we encourage all students and teachers to take the following digital protection steps to help them keep their laptops safe at school.

Set up a strong password

Setting up a login password is the first step to securing your laptop and preventing people from accessing your files without permission. Password protection not only thwarts potential security breaches but also prevents your data from falling into the wrong hands in case your laptop is stolen.
Create a strong password that combines upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid creating a password that uses easy-to-guess options like birthdates or names of loved ones or pets. If you have trouble recalling complex passwords, consider using a long passphrase that is easier to remember to enhance your laptop's security.

Regularly back up your data

One of the best IT practices for laptop owners entails creating a disaster management plan. This strategy includes regularly backing up data using external hard drives, cloud storage services (like Google Drive or OneDrive), or network-attached storage (NAS) devices. Frequently backing up data ensures continued access to crucial school documents, even if your laptop gets lost, stolen, or damaged.

Install antivirus software

Protect your laptop from various types of malware, such as spyware, trojans, adware, ransomware, and malvertising, by installing reputable antivirus software and keeping it up to date. You should also periodically perform and schedule scans to identify and remove any potential threats from your system.

Update your system and applications

Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities within operating systems and software applications such as browsers and third-party apps to compromise sensitive information such as passwords.
That is why we strongly recommend downloading and installing updates as soon as they are available. These updates often consist of the latest security patches and bug fixes to elevate the security of your laptop.

Use VPNs for secure connections

Remember to route your connection through a reputable virtual private network (VPN) provider whenever you have to connect to public WiFi in school. This practice shields your data from prying eyes, safeguards against eavesdropping, and keeps your online activities private.

HP's built-in laptop security features

how to keep your laptop safe at school
Today, hackers employ increasingly sophisticated methods to exploit system vulnerabilities and steal data. To counter this, our team of experts integrates our HP-branded laptops with unique threat containment technologies enforced by CPU hardware to safeguard our consumers from malware attacks. Let us briefly explore some of these HP built-in security features.
  • HP Sure Start: This feature protects your laptop’s BIOS by automatically detecting any modifications made by malicious malware and performing repairs promptly.
  • HP Sure Sense: This technology uses proprietary deep learning algorithms and neural networks to consistently learn and evolve its threat detection capabilities so that it can proactively identify and block emerging malware in real time.
  • HP Sure Click: This technology prevents malware from infiltrating your laptop by opening suspicious websites and files in secure micro virtual environments.
  • HP Sure Recover: This feature lets you quickly restore your laptop to a predefined state without losing your data in the event of hardware failure or malware infection.
  • HP Sure Run: This technology minimizes system interruptions by continuously monitoring key processes in the background. Whenever a critical process is interrupted by malware trying to infiltrate your laptop defenses, HP Sure Run automatically restarts these processes.
  • HP Sure Admin: This feature provides school IT administrators with a platform from which they can establish and enforce policies that limit users from modifying critical system settings to ensure that they comply with the school security protocols.

When things go wrong

Take the following steps if your laptop gets:

Lost

  • Stay calm and retrace your steps to where you last remember having your laptop.
  • Notify your IT department so that they can attempt a retrace or remotely deactivate it.
  • Immediately change passwords for any accounts you accessed on the laptop, such as email, social media, and online banking.

Stolen

  • If someone grabs your laptop, avoid confronting them alone. Rather, alert the public for assistance.
  • Immediately change all your passwords.
  • Inform your friends and family so they don’t fall for fraudulent requests.
  • Report the theft to the police.
  • Contact your insurance company if you have insurance coverage for your laptop.

Suspected security breach

  • Disconnect your laptop from the internet to prevent further spreading of the virus.
  • Notify your banks to freeze your credit cards.
  • Scan for malware to remove threats.
  • If your hard drives are compromised, consider backing up your data before wiping them.
  • Restore backed-up data.

Summary

You can lose your school work or have your private data fall into unauthorized people's hands when your laptop gets lost, stolen, or experiences a data breach. This is why it is important to implement the physical and digital protection measures that we have discussed in this guide to safeguard their laptops.
Set up a strong login password for your laptop and keep your systems and applications updated regularly. You could also help protect your device with one of HP’s secure laptop bags and physical locks if you happen to leave your laptop unattended.

About the Author

Kirstyn Amanda is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. She has a background in tech and a keen interest in emerging trends in the tech industry

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.