There's a neat little story in the current issue (16.05) of Wired magazine about MacBooks being stolen (and recovered) while traveling abroad. From The Mac Guru of Damascus in the Case of the Missing Laptops:
Before my fiancée and I headed to Syria to study Arabic, we often heard there was one advantage to living in a police state: almost no crime. So it came as a surprise when Sara and I returned to our Damascus apartment one night after a dinner party to find splintered wood in the hallway — wood that had once been part of our front door.
I made a beeline for the living room to check on our most valuable possessions: my MacBook and Sara's MacBook Pro. Both gone.
There's no 911 in Damascus, so we called our landlord, who contacted the cops. Within an hour, a dozen police were on the scene. About half of them sat around fingering unlit cigarettes. (Pushy Americans, we had asked them not to smoke inside.) The others engaged in what could generously be called an investigation. They took fingerprints from the door. They dusted the fridge. "Maybe the robber was thirsty," one said. They did not dust the coffee table where the laptops had been sitting.
Read the rest of the story at Wired.com.
This story has a happy ending, but most stolen hardware stories don't – especially when traveling overseas. A few obvious tips before getting on a plane with your MacBook:
- Make a complete, bootable backup of your hard drive, test it and leave it home.
- Turn off Automatic Login on your Mac (System Prefs > Accounts > Login Options).
- Consider installing an Open Firmware password.
- Turn on the Passcode Lock on your iPhone (Settings > General > Passcode Lock).
- Purchase insurance on your electronics and call your agent to ensure that you are covered when traveling. Many homeowners policies require you to "schedule" items over a specific dollar value, like electronics and jewelry. I have been a Safeware policy holder forever and it's probably the best US$200 per year you can spend. AppleCare, while helpful is not insurance.
- Keep meticulous records of your hardware purchases (with serial numbers) somewhere safe at home. In the event that your gear gets Jacked you'll have good records for police and insurance adjustors.
What kind of safe tech traveling practices do you practice?