So we chatted a good bit about it and I got a little food for thought as well.
First, was the question how anyone would know that he had computers in the first place. Anyone? Anyone? Here are three quick possibilities:
- The comings/goings of persons with "laptop cases" - we all know what they look like and it's pretty unavoidable.
- Looking into the windows of the house. How many of us actually try to conceal our computers from the windows? Afterall, they're so common.
- Wireless networks. That's it. Anyone with a laptop running XP that turns it on will see the network listed, unless....
So what are some solutions?
As for the laptop cases, there are some designer bags that don't "have the look," but they're pricey. I'm pretty cheap so my solution involves my favorite daybag (book backpack) and a bit of swag from my buddy at Cisco. For you, just find a bag or briefcase that you like and works for you. Then get a padded carrier for the laptop and put in inside your bag/briefcase. It may not be pretty, unless you put some time into it, but it works nicely. I like it for airports and other public places. No one would ever put a laptop in my ratty old backpack, so no one gives it a second look.
The windows problem should be pretty easy. If not, you have much larger problems. And if you problems are much larger, like you have a server rack in your kitchen, then it's time to get creative with your window treatments. Possibly frosting the lower half of window will prevent casual observation.
Wireless networks are a problem - and one that just won't go away. Most folks look at this issue in terms of encrypting data and the like. The focus is on a hacker, not a burglar. So you can turn off your SSID Broadcast to make it a little harder form someone to find your network. This has little benefit and does create some headache. While it makes the network stop broadcasting "its name" it still has to transmit the data and you must "tell" your computer the name of the wireless network it is looking for before it can get access. Keep in mind that someone with moderate skill will be able to find your network, sniff all you packets, crack you encryption and get onto your network. It's coming, but right now the average burglar probably isn't going through this trouble. If he/she did they probably wouldn't enter your home since they could steal your data remotely. So consider lowering the profile of your wireless network. Turn it off when out of the house. Turn off the SSID. Turn on the MAC filter - again, this has limited benefit with additional headache. Oh, and I should not have to mention this, but make sure you change the password to your router.
I'll stop this here, but don't worry this topic will come up often I'm sure.