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A student guide to electronics security


AS THE internet marketing guy for Houston Better Business Bureau, I lug around a bag full of electronics. In fact, I have one of those rolling bags so I don’t do damage to my spine when I carry all my stuff around.
I conducted an inventory of my bag for this article and I thought I would share with you all the “stuff” I keep with me every day. I have a laptop, camcorder, iPod, iPhone, webcam, flash drives and cables and chargers.
It probably sounds ridiculous but I consider all this my mobile workstation. Besides, I don’t carry much more than your average student does today.
Students across the nation have made their way back to school, many carrying cell phones, iPads, iPods, laptops and other electronic devices everywhere from the classroom to the car, and Houston BBB wants to remind them and their parents to talk about ways to keep electronics out of the wrong hands.
College campuses, cafeterias, local hangouts and even classrooms can be easy targets for anyone looking to snatch expensive electronic devices. Not only can thieves steal your personal property; they could also gain access to sensitive information such as e-mails, text messages, calendars, photos and even social-media network logins.
Students need to be vigilant when it comes to securing their electronic equipment. Electronics require a huge financial investment and should not be treated any differently from carrying around a wad of cash.
BBB offers the following advice on how to keep personal property safe at school:
Keep it off the floor. No matter where you are in public – a large study hall in school, a conference, a coffee shop or a registration desk – avoid putting your electronics on the floor. If you must put it down, place it between your feet or at least up against your leg so you’re constantly aware of its presence.
Leave it at home. In some cases, school districts have strict policies about students taking electronic devices to campus. Be sure to find out what is allowed while on campus and in the classroom. Also, determine if you really need your electronics during school hours or if they can wait until you get home.
Get it out of the car. Don’t leave your electronics in the car – not on the seat, not on the parcel shelf, not in the trunk. Parked cars are a favorite target for thieves; don’t help them by leaving your property unattended.
Don’t leave it for “just a minute”. Your classmates seem trustworthy, so you’re comfortable leaving your electronics on the table while you go outside for a break. The people at the coffee shop seem nice, so you ask them to keep an eye out while you use the restroom. Don’t! Don’t leave your laptop, iPad or other tablets unguarded – even for a minute.
Use bells and whistles. Depending on your security needs, an alarm can be a useful tool. Some laptop alarms sound when there’s unexpected motion, or when the computer moves outside a specified range around you. Or consider a kind of “lo-jack” for your laptop – a program that reports the location of your stolen laptop once it’s connected to the internet.

Jordan Rzad is the senior director responsible for internet marketing at Houston Better Business Bureau.

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