This weekend my laptop was stolen from my hotel room while I was on vacation.
It wasn’t an expensive laptop… I travel with a cheap little Acer Netbook … but it was still alarming.
However, I did learn a few things from the experience.
First, if you’re keeping your laptop in your hotel room, keep the cables in the car. Your laptop is less likely to be taken if there are no cables to charge it, since it’s worth less at a pawn shop. Go figger.
Second, it is a very good thing to use Gmail or a web-based service for your email, especially when you travel. If I been using Outlook or Thunderbird, not only would the thieves been able to go back and read my email from the past, which would have included online transactions that included my address and other details, but I would have not had access to the emails saved on that hard drive any longer.
Since I have been using Gmail to access all my mail, all I had to do was change my Gmail password to keep others out, and ensure I still had access to everything. Much less panic that way.
Finally, on a computer you only use for traveling, keep the minimum or no saved FTP passwords in your FTP client. If you explicitly limit your FTP saved logins to those you’ll need on your trip, you won’t have to change every single FTP password you’ve ever used if your laptop is stolen.
Finally, never count on your stuff being safe. This apparently was the first theft in eight years at this particular establishment, which seemed quite secure, but a determined thief, or one in desperate need of some cash for a fix, will find a way to get in just about anywhere.