PHOENIX (AP) If you're taking your laptop on an airplane, there are some steps you should take to keep your computer safe.
Here are 10 tips from Luke M. Ford, founder of My Computer Works, a provider of help desk and computer support services for businesses and consumers.
Use a well-made, well-padded case to carry your laptop in. Never check it as checked baggage during air travel.
Make sure security applications and software updates are current anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware.
Limit confidential information transmission, such as any credit purchases and reservations or anything with a Social Security number. Unfamiliar networks are always potentially dangerous.
Set up a remote Web mail account to enable e-mail access from any browser, such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or MSN Hotmail.
Bring an Ethernet (Cat5) cable with you on your trip, in case there is no wireless connection available and you have to hook up to that little box next to the phone that you'll find in most hotel rooms.
Use a system password on your laptop to help slow down the novice thief.
Use file passwords when available on confidential files.
Do not set your computer down and leave it out of sight (especially in the airport bathroom).
If you must leave your laptop unattended in a car, put it in the trunk where it can't be seen. But remember that extreme temperatures are not good for electronic devices.
Don't send your laptop through the airport X-ray conveyor belt until it's your turn to walk through the metal detector. That way you'll be able to pick it up promptly when it comes out the other end and prevent anyone else from walking away with it.