Having a laptop as your primary computer means that a whole chunk of your life is subject to walking off. Now, I’m no security expert, but here are a few things that I know to do in order, well, make me feel a little more secure.
First, my new computer is a MacBook. Mac OS X has a nice little feature that scrubs the files in trash as it deletes them. You can command click on the trash icon and choose “Secure Empty Trash” every time you empty it, or you can go “Finder Preferences”, click “Advanced” and check “Empty trash securely”
Next up, GPGtools. GPG is an open source implementation of PGP security. There are several small encryption related tools, but the killer one is the ability to sign and/or encrypt mail.
Next, I installed TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt is software that allows you to create either encrypted drive partitions or encrypted files as a secure place to store files.
Next, I installed Prey from http://preyproject.com/ This is free software that will help you track down your laptop should someone steal it. You can track three devices for free, including smart phones. I also enabled “Where’s my Mac?” and a cron/reverse-ssh/webserver scheme as other ways to recover my laptop should it grow legs and wander off.
For network access, I use OpenVPN to connect to my firewall, and an IPSEC tunnel to connect to my work firewall. Mike provided me a nifty VPNTracker “Player” that made configuring it a non-issue.
Just a few tips to keep my private life private…
I bought a gaming laptop. I bought it thinking that I could do a lot with the nice, powerful chip that came with it. My first disappointment was the horribly outdated NVIDIA drivers that came with the laptop. I could not play WoW, at all. I found this odd for a gaming laptop. I could forgive them for giving me 4gigs of Ram, but a 32-bit operating system. My second is this, I cannot enable VT extensions on my CPU, even though it clearly supports it. I need to be able to run VMWare and/or VirtualPC for various work projects. This is highly disappointing. Ultimately, my prime gaming laptop may end up collecting dust in the closet, a constant reminder of why no one should buy Gateway.
One of Chronophage.net’s servers is virtualized inside of a Dell 1500. It runs like a champ. I think this is the future of hosting, especially with power and cooling costs going up. I should work on my VTSP now.
Ares.chronophage.net used to be my experimental FreeBSD box. It ran on a T2100 dual-core consumer system with 1.5 gigs of ram and an 80GB harddrive (a freebie that Dell sent to one of my company’s customers, ESATA) The system was slow, unreliable, and prone to crashing. With VMWare, things are scaling really well. The tools were in the ports tree, and it was painless to install. The system converter worked better than expected (since FreeBSD is not officially supported) All in all, this is a successful experiment.