Laptop theft prevention
December 16, 2011 2:52 PM   Subscribe

How secure is this Spyder laptop lockdown device?

My school has a boatload of Macbooks deployed in classrooms. They are currently secured via Kensington locks, but the deterrent value of these locks is less than I'd hoped. (Plus, the Kensington hole on the Macbooks is WEAK, but anyway...) We are losing too many to theft recently.

I really don't want to resort to something like this bolt-down prison-looking device--I'd rather retain the relative freedom of a tether-type lock--but I will if I have to.

But might the Spyder lock be what I'm looking for? For the record, I don't think our thieves will DESTROY the computer to get it, and I don't think they will bring in heavy-duty bolt cutters to chop the tethers, so I'm really mainly concerned with the strength and security of the bracket.

Also, I don't mind that it blocks ports.

Other ideas welcome, including alarms and whatnot.
posted by etc. to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your biggest problem with that is definitely going to be the users and how amenable they are to having the laptop bolted down. You don't have to kow-tow, but if it doesn't fit teaching style or whatever, then you might be pounding your head against a wall. Besides that it definitely looks more secure than a cable, so once you figure out the people problem you should be able to move forward with good conscience.
posted by rhizome at 3:12 PM on December 16, 2011

It looks like it might block the Magsafe port, which is definitely a problem.
posted by zsazsa at 3:30 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah. Having all the laptops so bolted down like that really doesn't seem like something that would fit well in a classroom. You might as well be providing desktops at that point. What I've seen before are setups where all the classroom laptops are stored in lockable carts that serve as charging stations (the locks are often crap on these carts, but you might be able to augment them with a padlock+chain if needed). All unattended laptops go in the carts and get locked up when they are not being used. You could even push the carts into a special storage location at night that is not accessible using normal school keys. The storage room and/or carts could also be connected to an alarm system.

Really, the problem is not that people are stealing your classroom MacBooks; the problem is that your school apparently has a substantial theft problem. That's alarming for reasons beyond the need to replace stolen laptops. If you do manage to firmly secure every laptop in the building, what other valuables might be attractive to thieves? There are certainly safety concerns with having thieves (whether strangers, employees, or students) operating on such a scale within a school. I think the most effective solutions are going to involve a broader effort to address school security through the police, school district, and administration. Once you have a better idea of how and when the thefts are taking place, you can do a much better job of tailoring your locks and other security systems to match the threats you're experiencing.

You should also make sure that you have a record of the serial numbers for all your machines so that you can provide them to the police. A lot of schools that I've seen also use asset tags on laptops, and some varieties are particularly difficult/impossible to remove without leaving permanent marks.
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 PM on December 16, 2011

Why are both of those free?
posted by cardioid at 11:25 PM on December 16, 2011

You select the size to get the price, cardioid.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:29 PM on December 16, 2011

You should also look into theft recovery software such as Undercover. I think there's a similar free package floating around. Combined with the firmware passwords on the newer machines it will give you a chance at getting them back.
posted by chairface at 9:23 AM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: Stopping theft in general would be nice, but is not realistic in our environment. What I'd settle for is less theft of MacBooks.

We have Undercover, but these machines are not popping up post-theft.
posted by etc. at 3:41 PM on December 17, 2011

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