TypewriterFrom The Urbach Letter – March 2003

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Cool Thing of the Month

Defcon Alarm

The Targus Defcon Ultra Notebook Security Alarm
Your laptop computer is a target. Thieves find notebook computers very easy to steal and easy to sell. Once your laptop is gone, so is all your data and private information. Your company network can be compromised, and your identity stolen. Even if there’s nothing “sensitive” on your computer (unlikely), replacing your computer, reloading your programs, and configuring them to work – is an unbelievable hassle – just to get back to where you were before your laptop disappeared…

You can make things much more difficult for the bad guys by using a Defcon notebook alarm. This thing is very cool. Almost James Bondish. You pull out a hardened stainless steel cable and loop it through a security device on your computer. It locks in place with a reassuring click and beep. The cable is thin, but electricity flows through it. If the cable is cut, an INCREDIBLY LOUD alarm sounds. Painfully loud. But that’s not all. You can take security to a higher level by activating the optional motion sensor feature. If the Defcon is moved, even slightly, it’ll beep a warning, and if you don’t disable it using a secret combination within 10 seconds, it’ll sound the alarm. That makes it useful even if you don’t have a fixed object to loop the cable through. A lot of protection for under fifty bucks.

The Defcon is also great for securing other things besides your computer: your briefcase or luggage in a public bathroom or airport, as a supplement to your bicycle lock, or for anything else that’s prone to “growing legs and walking off…” When you’re ready to move on, dial in the combination and press the side trigger button: the cable self-retracts smartly into its housing with a satisfying thunk. Q would have loved it.

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