Thursday, January 26, 2006

I’m now on my holidays in Bali, which should explain lack of updates on my blog. It is rainy season here, thus the weather is quite cloudy and rains at least once a day. I personally think this type of weather is pretty much perfect for holidays, as it is not too cold and not too hot.

Cloudy Bali.
Surprisingly, thanks to strong Bali sun even in a very cloudy weather I could get sunburned. The hotels also give even 50% discount as it is off season and after recent Bali bombs, very few foreigners decided to chose Bali as their holidays destination and the occupancy rate of most hotels is below 30%. Overall, I enjoy my holidays a lot, yet it is not all pure holidays for me, as I still have to follow-up on my current projects.

My most urgent project with a very short deadline is outsourced development of a user interface for my client’s application. It is mainly PHP, advanced Java scripting, XML and MySQL, thus I can pretty much work on the project from my laptop at the hotel. I can even get dial-up Internet connection from my hotel located in a remote area of Bali and even GPRS connection from my mobile phone. It’s pretty much amazing to be able chat with your friends while sitting on remote beach few kilometers from nearest village or somewhere high in the mountains surrounded by monkeys.
My parents feeding monkeys at the temple (1 hour walk up the mountain).
Moreover, I could even shoot a photo with using my phone and send it directly to my friend’s e-mail. Five years ago this would be something unimaginable or at least would have to involve extremely expensive satellite phone, now it’s just matter of a smart phone that can run Java based chat application, e-mail client and can connect to Internet via GPRS.
Remote beach in Bali.
The good news is that I am not so geek to take my laptop everywhere, the bad news is that I need to leave it somewhere. Fortunately, I have a Kensington laptop cable lock with me, thus I can simply lock it in my hotel room or at a pool café.
My IBM ThinkPad laptop locked at the pool side.
Yet, this is all not so great, because laptop is not only the laptop chassis. Users of cable locks often forget that there are many parts of the laptop that can be removed in a few seconds. The following photo shows parts of my laptop that I could remove within less than 10 seconds.
IBM ThinkPad Laptop parts removed within 10 seconds.

It is a DVD drive that could be removed within two seconds, laptop battery removed within one second and hard disk removed after 5 seconds of removing a single screw. Clearly, even if laptop is locked with a cable lock, it is still possible for a potential theft to benefit. The total value of these parts is around 250$, not including the keyboard keys that also could be simply removed. Moreover data on a laptop hard disk can often be extremely valuable, more than laptop itself. Myself, I use PGP Disk to secure most sensitive data on my Windows partition and EFS for some less important files. I also use GnuPGP to secure data on my Linux partition. Some work related data that I don’t want to lose I regularly burn on CD-RW and save on USB disk.

I feel I pretty much know how to secure my data while traveling. Yet, the methods described here can be bit complicated for less advanced users, thus for those users who feel encrypting data on laptop is too complicated or not having any method of backing up data, I’d recommend keeping your hard disk at hotel’s safe deposit box, as it won’t be protected with your cable lock. If you don’t even have a laptop cable lock, I’d strongly recommend buying one. It may not protect your hard disk, but at least it will discourage theft from stealing a complete laptop and most thefts won't probably know how to remove a hard disk.


Willy Ekasalim said...

Waow your parents was in Indonesia, hope they enjoy the holiday in Bali :). Thank you, it is a very good tips on how to secure our digital property while traveling.

Maya said...

Great suggestions! I'm glad that I 'found' your blog today :-D Very useful and informative posts you've written. Thanks...I'm trying to buy that Kensington cable cause I almost got robbed in my own shop weeks ago and I had a new laptop on a table somewhere in there too. Can't risk it for next time...

nuniek nur sahaya said...

yeaaa bali is awesome. i love that island. i love indonesia and i love bali. nice post. thanks

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