First, a Little background information...
Locks lower risk
it, any kind of lock you use in your life, be it a bike lock, door lock or the
lock on your car can be defeated if you have enough force, enough tools or a
combination of the 2. The choice for
selecting any lock in your life is really about risk. As you increase the strength of the lock, the
risk of theft goes down, so you need to decide how much strength is appropriate for your device, your environment and your budget.
How does a thief select a target?
Theft is a
crime of opportunity. To minimize the
chance of getting caught, a thief will select his target carefully. The key words here are EASY and FAST. They want to grab the goods with little or no
effort. (easy) They want to do it in very little time so no one notices. (fast)
The goals of
your anti-theft device (in order)
device LOOK difficult to take... If it
looks too hard to steal, most thieves won’t try. This is known as “visual deterrence”
and it’s just as important as the physical strength of your lock.
device ACTUALLY be difficult to take... If your lock
is hard to defeat the thief knows it will take too long, if he can defeat it at
all. He is more likely to give up if it’s
taking too long or perhaps skip it and look for an easier target.
2 Important Features You Need in a Laptop Lock / Computer Cable lock
1. Cable thickness
Now it’s unlikely that an
average thief is strong enough to break even a thin steel cable, so really
tools are the question here. You want a cable that can't be cut by whatever the casual thief has in his pocket. Here are a couple cable sizes and the tools needed to cut them.
- 1/8 in. (3mm)
cables: Many retractable locks use this size.
They are very convenient, but not very secure. These can be cut with a small pair of basic wire
cutters or even a folding pocket multi-tool.
- 5/32 in.
(4mm) This is probably the most popular cable size used for laptop locks. They can be cut with good pair of hand held
wire cutters in not too much time.
- 7/32 in. (6mm) Difficult and time consuming to cut without professional grade cable cutting tools.
Conclusion: Choose a lock
with a cable that is at least 6mm
2. Size of the
The size of
the lock housing is important when a thief tries to defeat the lock by force. This is similar to moving a heavy object with a lever. A longer lever applies stronger force.
In simple terms, If a thief
can apply 50 lbs of force to a 1 in. lock, then that same thief can apply 100
lbs. of force to a 2 in. lock. The longer the lock, the easier it is to remove by force. (see the
note below about “security slots”)
Conclusion: Choose a lock
with a short housing
About Security Slots
All of these
types of locks attach to what is generically called a “security slot” (aka “Kensington
Security Slot’) Now, force isn't likely to break the metal lock, but with enough force there is a good chance you cause the
security slot to deform and the lock will come out. So, the strength of the lock depends on the
strength of the slot built into the laptop.
Some manufacturers put metal plates behind the slot to make them
stronger and some do not.