These days in Bulgaria you can’t be sure about anything – especially that you will have your favorite things with you the next day. This summer me and two friends of mine – Dimitar Karamanchev and Evelin Velev (both connected with Start it Smart) got our laptops stolen under very similar circumstances. They both got their cars broken into and everything valuable stolen (Dimitar had two laptops in his car actually) and I got my whole backpack standing 2-3 meters from me stolen at the Naroden Teatyr square in Sofia – one of the most favored places for young people like me to have a beer with friends after the workday is over. I don’t want to bother you with details about how much each of us lost during these accidents, but here are my personal conclusions and must do things if we want to survive “the stealing crisis frenzy” that is surely upon us:
BACKUP all data you find to be valuable to you
And I don’t mean backing it up on an external hard drive that you carry with you – that’s what happened to Evelin – he got his backup hard drive stolen with his computer! The perfect scenario will be to upload them to a remote web server, so you know that it will be there for you no matter what. You should backup everything like: work files, private files, CVs, photos, videos – all these you can’t just download from the internet. If you can’t afford to have web backups arrange a meeting with someone you know well and propose to swap 20GB of data on your hard drives (via local network for example). This way you will know that at least your most valuable files will be safe!
Record the MAC address of your wireless and Ethernet cards
This is the information required by the police to be able to track down your laptop. They send these MAC’s to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and hope that someone is stupid enough to not change these cards (or just connect trough and external one). And don’t expect the police to do anything else for you – they can’t really help you (even if they wanted, which I don’t find to be the case in our dear country).
Install anti theft software on your laptop
I started using Prey, which is open source and I find to be quite good. There of course are other alternatives. What these type of software do is that they record the IP address from which they connect to the internet (so you can in cooperation with ISPs determine the exact location of the thief) and make photos with the webcam – a decent method to determine who he really is.
Don’t ever leave your valuables in a car or somewhere without your direct supervision
Thieves are so good that they can steal everything, even from your backpack or bag being still on your back!
Expect everything from anyone and anywhere!
These days more and more people are out of job and you can’t be certain in anyone. Most of all – any time you take your valuables with you (or leave them in your unsecure home) consider that you are taking a risk!
DropBox is very good for backing up your most important working documents
The free version gives you 2GB of storage for free and the coolest thing is that you can share your folders with other dropbox users. You can also get 250MB extra for each user you invite to dropbox with a limit of 8GB storage. Using simple maths you can calculate that you only need to invite 24 people (or create 24 fictional accounts – just kidding) to get 8GB of free storage!
A wish to you instead of a conclusion
I hope I scared you enough to at least start backing up your important files at least once a month.
My hopes are that you want need to experience what Myself, Dimitar and Evelin have – to lost something irreplaceable. Watch your back!