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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household? 408

First time accepted submitter Dufflepod (3656815) writes "After yet another hardware purchase last week, I realized with some alarm just how drastically an enterprising burglar could increase the crapulence quotient of my life if they ever made off with my hardware. The house is alarmed, but much to my annoyance it isn't always set when people go out for any length of time. Ideally I want to 'alarm' the expensive items among my various PCs, UPS, NAS box, test equipment, and some of the sundry other gadgets & gizmos I require to stroke my inner geek. Over the past few days I have spent hours Googling for every combination of "anti-theft perimeter alarm radius motion detector vibration wireless" etc etc.. I have found various possible solutions, though the cost of some of them does make my eyes water (eg SonicShock @ €150/box). Has anyone out there decided to bite-the-bullet and protect their kit with decent alarms, and do you have any suggested 'do's & don'ts'?" So how would you secure valuable items, as opposed to securing the entire place?
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Products For the Over-Equipped Household?

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  • Don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:44PM (#47019199)

    Yeah, don't.

    You can install FindMyWhatever on some items, but for the most part, you're wasting your time.

    Thieves look for targets of opportunity. Make your home less friendly. Place a camera in plain view and out of reach. Put up a beware of Doug sign and get a Glock window decal.

    If someone comes for your electronics specifically, it's an inside job. You can avoid that by screening your friends better.

    In the meantime, just do regular backups offsite.

    • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:46PM (#47019227)

      It kind of boggles my mind that after spending how many thousands on geek stuff/tech toys he balks at another 150 to try to protect them...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Key word there is "TRY"

        Would OP pay $150/device if it WOULD protect his valuables - IMHO - yes.

        Would I pay $150/device if it had a 1% chance of protecting it - No, unless device is $50/100k plus and not insurable.

        If the goodies are commodity items (PC, NAS, etc) and the main value is the data on them - IMHO far better to have the physical parts insured and the data backed up off-site as will cost a whole lot less than $50+/item to attempt to keep it from being stolen in the first place.

      • Especially curious because desire for tech toys is one of the major justifications for embarking on the major PITA that is a DIY security system...

        Sure, if you work with expensive gear on the 'fancy jeweler' or 'datacenter' scale, that makes security part of your job, or at least something you have to actively outsource. At smaller scales, some off-the-shelf alarm system might pay for itself by making your insurance company happy and lowering your premiums.

        Rolling your own, though, is unlikely to be a
    • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Funny)

      by stewsters ( 1406737 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#47019263)
      You gotta watch out for that Doug.
    • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FuegoFuerte ( 247200 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#47019271)

      I disagree about the Glock window decal... That tells a certain percentage of burglars "hey, I have guns in my house... come steal them." Yeah, they could be in a safe, but that safe might not be bolted down, or they might not be in a safe because safes are expensive. So do without the decal.

      Totally agree with the camera though. Another option is to realize that if you're that concerned about your stuff, your life is probably pretty miserable. Keep a good itemized list with pictures and serial numbers, make sure your insurance company has a copy of that list and your coverage is sufficient, and go on about your business. Maybe sell some of it and get out more.

      • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AdamThor ( 995520 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:09PM (#47019491)

        Copying down serial #'s for your equipment is the action nobody ever takes. It's the low-hanging-fruit when it comes to theft preparedness.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Copying down serial #'s for your equipment is the action nobody ever takes. It's the low-hanging-fruit when it comes to theft preparedness.

          That and actually making sure your insurance covers your stuff, which requires the documentation and photo evidence. Also keep proof of purchase materials like receipts. So many people throw those things away... GAAA! If for no other reason keep them as long as the warranty or five years in case you get audited for any reason.

    • by kryliss ( 72493 )

      Where exactly does one find a Beware of Doug sign?

    • The glock sticker might not be a swell idea. Weapons are a particular target of theives. A friend bought a gun for personal protection. Guess what the thieves stole when they broke in?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        That's unfortunate. Your friend is now responsible for any harm caused by not securing his gun. He'll never know it, and probably isn't evolved enough to care, but he's likely to be responsible for murder.
        • Re:Don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by lagomorpha2 ( 1376475 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:34PM (#47019725)

          He's no more responsible for any acts committed by criminals than the gun itself is responsible for "causing" murders. You may as well say that if you don't shoot a burglar in your home and instead let him escape you're responsible for any homes he breaks into in the future because you could have stopped him.

          The only people responsible for crimes are the criminals committing them.

    • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:56PM (#47019341) Journal

      Understand how thieves work and think. I've live in bad neighborhoods (bullt holes in the walls bad) before without worrying about my place getting burgled thanks to leveling on the second floor. Seriously. A staircase to climb is sufficient deterrent for a sufficient % of criminals looking for a quick score.

      Plus, a thief looking for a quick boost doesn't want to spend much time in your place. The electronics I care about are kept awkwardly large and heavy, while a couple of valuable-seeming small items are left scattered about.

      I don't have jewelry, and some robbers will ransack the place until they find the goods, so I leave about $200 in cash in a drawer where it's easy to find. According to the experts I've read, that's an ironclad defense. The thief will take that wad of cash as his victory and leave promptly, as long as the place doesn't seem nice enough that he keeps looking for more.

      • I, too, spend years living in a pretty rough neighborhood. (Two houses down from me, someone ran an old Chevy through the middle of a guy's living room on purpose, because he wasn't happy with the drugs they sold him. A few houses down the street, the other direction, I heard a single gunshot -- and found out the next day the guy had an argument with his wife and decided to make sure he had the last word, using his shotgun.)

        In 6 years there, though? I never had anyone break in once. (Some teenagers did

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        So I think its long enough ago that I don't have to worry about telling the details of this story..... anyway, more than a decade has passed.... (am I getting old? Someone told me I am middle aged now....damnit). In any case, it illustrates your point:

        So there was a point where I was making a lot less money at my day job, and tired of how much I was spending on pot. I was a drug dealer for about a month. It ended for entirely unrelated reasons to this story (no I didn't get arrested; I did have, lets say, s

    • Yeah, we all know Doug is not to be messed with. Especially if he doesn't shower.

    • >If someone comes for your electronics specifically, it's an inside job. You can avoid that by screening your friends better.

      His friends, or the hookers he's having over. As mythosaz points out, these things are almost always inside-jobs. When a friend who lived in a dodgy neighborhood was robbed, the first thing the cop asked was "have you had any broads over." Now I don't condone calling women "broads," but this tells us what the police are seeing.

      Screening your associates, and having insuranc
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      The Glock window decal may not mean much... it just means the burglar will shoot first, or escalate things to an armed home invasion. Dogs, on the other hand can be a good deterrent... even a 10 pound wiener dog can bark enough that it might get attention, provided the dog isn't the type that yaps at everything that moves.

      My primary concern with my home security is the meth-head, smash/grab type of thief. To protect against that, I encrypt all hard disks and backup media, as well as have some offsite stor

    • Place a camera in plain view and out of reach. Put up a beware of Doug sign and get a Glock window decal.

      Better yet, get a real dog and Glock instead. If someone ever breaks in, I guarantee they'll be a lot more effective than any sign.

    • Re:Don't. (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:47PM (#47019857)

      Thieves look for targets of opportunity. Make your home less friendly. Place a camera in plain view and out of reach.

      Here are a few more tips:
      Keep in mind the 4 D's: Deter, Defend, Delay, Deceive

      * Install motion sensor lights on the front and back of your house.

      * Install a fake camera. For deterrent value, a fake camera will work as well as a real camera, but will cost far less. It should have a bright blinking LED to make it more noticible. You can buy realistic decoy cameras for less than $10 on Amazon.

      * If you install a real camera, make sure it is good enough to actually identify the perp. Otherwise, what's the point? Install several fake decoy cameras as well. If the perp is trying to avoid the fakes, he is more likely to be seen by the real camera.

      * Put a "Beware of Dog", "Vicious Dog" or "Dog on Premises" sign on the gate to your back yard, whether you actually have a dog or not.

      * Put up a security alarm yard sign and window stickers, even if you don't have an alarm system. Yard signs and stickers are available on Amazon, eBay, etc.

      * Get some old, well worn work boots, size 14 or larger. Leave one pair on your front porch, and another by your back door.

      * When you leave home, leave a radio playing on a talk station. Set the volume so it is slightly audible from outside your home.

      * Set up timers to turn lights on and off when you are not home.

      * Using an alarm company is a waste of money in my experience (most police depts will not respond to their calls), but you can install your own sensors and alarm.

      * If you have an alarm that frequently goes off accidently, get it fixed. Otherwise your neighbors will ignore it.

      * Valuables should not be visible from any door or window.

      * Put wood dows or PVC pipe in the slide track of each window and sliding door. These should fit snuggly, so they are not easy to dislodge by someone reaching through the broken window. Make sure everyone in your home knows how to remove the stop in case of a fire.

      * When not home, lock internal doors. This will prevent an intruder from moving quickly around your home.

      * Leave out some decoy valuables, such as an old laptop with no HDD, or some fake jewelry. Decoy valuables should be left in a conspicuous place, but not visible from outside.

      * Frost or laminate your garage windows, so a perp cannot see if your car is gone.

      * If you have a safe, bolt it to the floor with a bolt that is only accessible from inside the safe. Cut the bottom out of a cardboard box and put it over the safe to hide it.

      * If you have a an usused safe or lockbox, fill it with bricks, lock it, and put it in a conspicuous location.

      * If you have a second story, don't store a ladder in your yard or shed.

      * Trim any trees that can be climbed to reach a second story window, or make sure those windows are secure.

      * Use plants with thorns, such as roses, in front of your windows. Keep them trimmed below the window sill, so neighbors can see anyone breaking in.

      * Go through your wallet and purse. Do you really need to carry more than one credit card? Write down the account number and phone number for each card, so that you can cancel them quickly if they are stolen.

      * Make your possessions easy to identify. Paint the handles of your tools bright orange or lime green. Laser etch a custom design on the back of your phone or laptop.

      * Take photos of your valuable possessions, and recored any serial numbers.

      * Scan any important documents, and save the images off site.

  • Simple solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by beaviz ( 314065 ) * on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:50PM (#47019261) Homepage Journal

    Backup your data. Everything else can easily be bought for the price of a few years security.

    • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Informative)

      by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:03PM (#47019435) Homepage Journal


      Instead of an alarm, use an insurance policy to protect the gear. It's cheaper, and most policies are tied to the monetary value of your stuff when you bought it. But we all know tech stuff devalues over time, and much quicker than most items. So if you have a loss, your insured and replaced items are more valuable than the originals.

      Where you might be more interested in security hardware is if your gear is often in a more public place: library, dorm room, etc. But you said "house".

      Instead of physical protection, consider electronic detection. Install phone-home heartbeat software on your kit, so that if a thief takes it, it will reach back to your house periodically to check in. You can have APIs like GROWL alert your iPhone if a device fails its heartbeat. (Assuming you can put up with hundreds of false alerts.)

      Or you can simply relax. If you can afford $50,000 worth of gear, you can probably afford to replace $50,000 worth of gear.

  • by JD-1027 ( 726234 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:52PM (#47019287)
    1) Very consistent off site backups for data
    2) Full inventory of items you own
    3) If theft occurs, use home owners insurance to get your money back. You'll probably end up with a free hardware upgrade in the process.

    What is better?
    a) 100% chance of giving up your time and money now securing your items.
    b) (very low)% chance of having to give up time if a theft does occur

    The cost of securing your items may balance out any deductibles you have to pay to have home owners insurance cover the lost items.
    • Exactly what I came here to say. Insurance is usually the best defense against unlikely monetary losses. Lost data often cannot be replaced, so you need offsite backups to ensure your data won't be lost of destroyed.

      As a bonus, this plan not only addresses theft but also vandalism, fire and any other sort of damage covered by your insurance policy.

  • A dog would be a fine choice. Not only will the dog provide companionship, but assuming you acquire a canine of some size, most burglars will try to find other places to rob. Any of the bulldog breeds are generally friendly and sociable dogs, and intimidate the heck out of would be intruders. As a bonus, there are lots in the shelters and they can often be adopted at a discount. Just know that this alarm system requires a significant amount of daily maintenance: you have to play with your dog if you wan

    • Emu (Score:5, Funny)

      by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:01PM (#47019419) Homepage

      Not too sure about this. I do not know the statistics, but all competent thieves know how to handle dogs, even packs of big dogs are no trouble for the determined thief. Sometimes in fact is is better to go with the tiny loud ones.

      But I hear people really interested in protecting their shit are getting Emus, Emus are very territorial, and no one comes prepared to fight off a hyper aggressive 200 pound turkey (which can outrun them 3 times over). They also survive very well after getting shot, apparently, for some reason.

      • But I hear people really interested in protecting their shit are getting Emus, Emus are very territorial, and no one comes prepared to fight off a hyper aggressive 200 pound turkey (which can outrun them 3 times over). They also survive very well after getting shot, apparently, for some reason.

        That sounds fine for the back yard, but I'm not sure about having (basically) a small Velociraptor running around *inside* the house...especially, if you're doing any coding [].

      • Competent thieves know how to handle dogs. They move along to then next cat person's house and give the dogs a wide berth.

        Statistically, dogs do more to reduce your chances of being burglarized then electronic alarms.

        • Statistically, dogs do more to reduce your chances of being burglarized then electronic alarms.

          Anecdotally verified by a conversation I had with an insurance adjuster, who told me my large breed dog was the "Best security system money can buy!"

      • They also survive very well after getting shot, apparently, for some reason.

        If they're anything like Turkeys it's because their central nervous system is roughly the size of a quarter so it's difficult to hit anything vital.

    • big ass noisy dog does wonders.

  • by vinn ( 4370 )

    What about some kind of DIY thing? Get a Raspberry Pi, use the GPIO pins to run some wires from the cases of each device (something thing like telco cross-connect), drive it and if the circuit breaks then send out an email or something. Bonus points for integrating a camera and snapping photos at the same time the wires break. Similarly, if the device is an always on kind of thing, just use some kind of network monitoring.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, much too simple..

      Set up webcams all around the house, each tied to a raspberry pi, with wired interconnects (bad guys might have jammers), and battery backups. Run all the images to a central image processing facility where you do image recognition and recognize the pieces of equipment, and calculate their exact position by comparing among multiple views. Develop an algorithm that looks for "theft" type movement of the device (as opposed to dog pulling it off the shelf or earthquakes), and when that a

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:55PM (#47019325)

    A loud noise sounds! Your neighbours all ignore it - probably a false alarm - and the burgler goes about his business. Even if someone does call the police, plenty of time to grab the obvious valuables and load up his car to escape before the police could arrive. It can't hurt, but don't depend on it.

    Some sort of camera system recording to a remote server (encrypted, of course) might help. It wouldn't deter any thieves, because they wouldn't know about it, but it would give you some tiny sliver of hope getting things back. Maybe you'll get lucky and the police will recognise someone with priors. Don't expect them to send out the forensics team and run prints against the database unless you are rich and/or famous, but it'd be better than nothing.

    Also, offsite records of all serial numbers, and apply indelible security marks in visible places. Good for patrolling eBay to see if your stuff turns up, proving ownership and such. Plus you can report it to the manufacturers, who usually have a list of stolen serials - that way if the sucker who buys the stolen goods ever tries to get a warranty claim it'll be flagged.

    • Set up a neighbourhood watch scheme, and have everyone buy webcams. But have the webcams pointing to somebody else's house. That way, a thief has to do much more work to get away without being caught on camera.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:55PM (#47019331) Homepage
    Buy insurance for the cost of stuff and backup the data. Data can always be downloaded again Preferably from an off-site backup. Hardware can always be bought again.

    But I guarantee you that any security system that actually prevents theft should cost you more money than reasonable insurance would cost. It should also cost more money than the thing you are protecting. You know those Storage Wars shows? When they find a safe, it it usually worth more than what is inside it.

    If insurance costs more than the stuff is worth, than that means you live in a high crime area and should move someplace safer.

    But in the USA or other stable country, under no circumstance should it ever be a cost effective to secure your home possessions. Insurance should always make more sense.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      I do like using locks as a way to keep honest people honest. It isn't 100%, and a determined thief can still get the item in question, but it stops opportunists.

      That way, if a thief does get past some basic security, then I have done my part legally, and can file a claim in good faith.

      Insurance is a must, but it doesn't hurt having at least a little bit of security. One doesn't need to lock all their computers in metal cages, but a Kensington cable is a polite reminder to someone that the item in question

  • Crapulence (Score:5, Informative)

    by oldmac31310 ( 1845668 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:56PM (#47019343) Homepage
    does not mean what you think it means. If you don't know what it means, don't use it.
    • Came here to post your comment. Thanks for saving me the time, although now I wasted it posting this comment. Easy come, easy go.
    • If you don't know what it means, don't use it.

      Remember that old Barbara Stanwyck movie where she's a streetwise singer on the lam hiding out with a bunch of nerdy lexicographers who are just coincidentally trying to add modern slang to their encyclopedia?

      I don't know why I just thought of that now. Oh well. Please carry on with the lesson.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:56PM (#47019361) Homepage

    First of all, you balk at the cost of some of these solutions - yes, they are expensive and yes, they'll be mostly for added assurance that IF someone breaks in and IF the alarm wasn't set and IF the thief is even interested in it and IF the thief then decides to take it (lot's of if's). If your setup is mobile (eg. you're a DJ or mobile contractor) then those solutions are useful. But for the rest, they are merely added insurance and typically useless.

    I'd say, use an alarm system that you can connect to (some of the DIY systems do run Linux) and use some type of motion sensing timeout to set the alarm or use BT to check if someone is still in the house etc. etc.. There are a lot of cheap and creative solutions to this problem.

    Most thieves won't break in if you have an alarm (sticker), there are other, lower hanging fruit. A thief won't break in when you have a dog (again with the fruit thing). A thief will only take what's small and valuable (what's easily sold, what's easily carried). Most thieves aren't smart nor tech savvy and doesn't know that little black box costs $5000 but they'll sure destroy it regardless of whether there is an alarm attached to it (especially if there is an alarm attached to it).

    I'd say, stop worrying, take backups of your data off-site, get homeowners or renters insurance. The laptops/tablets/phones will disappear in any case, the UPS/PC/NAS most likely won't unless there is a group and they are actively clearing out the entire house (posing as movers to the neighbors). Thieves are also very destructive so regardless of what they take, they may destroy whatever you're trying to protect and a destroyed NAS is just as good as a stolen NAS. Theft recovery systems don't work because the police won't put in the legwork (see the recurring stories on MacBooks and iOS devices being located by the customer). The insurance will pay you back for the 'stuff', they can't recovery your data however and that is the case for fire, flood and other damage as well.

    • For shits and giggles, i removed the burglar bars in my high-crime area and installed laminate glass. It's tested up to Missile C specs (2.5 pound 4 foot 2x4 launched at 40fps, which means yes it will deflect bullets--in fact, it'll accept a 3 inch ballistic sphere at 100fps without the sphere creating a large enough hole to enter the house). This type of glass is a standard residential offering: tempered glass takes more abuse before cracking, while laminate glass cracks quickly but can resist explosiv

  • The usual (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:01PM (#47019423)

    Try to get the other occupants to set the alarm when you are away. Get an alarm that has the ability to set it via a cell phone. Keep your bushes and shrubs cut back and don't give would be thieves a place to hide. Also choose prickly bushes up close to the house. Good out door lighting. Motion detector activated lights are good as it won't piss off the neighbors as much and save electricity. Also make sure the lights are high enough that someone can't just unplug or disable them.

    Don't put stickers on your house advertising you have guns, or what brand alarm you are using. Guns are a popular theft item. More so than your computers I would guess. Having an ADT sticker (or what ever brand alarm) simply tells a good thief what they need to do to circumvent your alarm. Most ADT alarms can be defeated by simply cutting the phone line. Almost none have a cellular card in them.

    I don't know if you or your family are dog people, but dobermans are fantastic family dogs. I have one who is very well trained. He's very friendly to people when I tell him it's OK. But Allah, God, Buda, Eris, Xenu help you if you come in the house uninvited. I also have two other dobermans who are not as well trained as he is, but they follow his lead. When he doesn't like something, they don't either.

  • by MiniMike ( 234881 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:05PM (#47019443)

    the house is alarmed, but much to my annoyance it isn't always set when people go out for any length of time.

    Shock therapy ought to solve this.

    You just have to remember to shock them right after they fail to set the alarm, or they won't make the connection between the unwanted behavior and the punishment.

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:10PM (#47019497) Homepage

    Security systems might be worthwhile for your own safety, but not for protecting against burglary. Unless you're very lucky, response times pretty much guarantee anyone will be in and out before the police have even dispatched a unit.

    What you need isn't security; it's insurance. It's cheaper than monitored security systems, more dependable, and doesn't suffer from the risks of technical failures or circumvention (though ignoring it is more likely than circumvention). In the event of a burglary, your things will be replaced. (Make sure your policy covers replacement cost, not depreciated market value). And keep your important data backed up!.

    (Disclaimer: YMMV, and selecting a policy requires due diligence.)

  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:11PM (#47019503) Journal

    I know it is not what you are asking, but the much more simple solution is to just get a decent renters / home owners insurance policy with a premium that you can afford and a level of coverage that will allow you to replace everything. The added benefit is that if you need to replace it, the odds are the old gear will no longer be available and you will get to purchase newer, better gear. FWIW, my renter's insurance policy with State Farm costs me something like $150 every six months, and has up $20,000 in coverage. That's more than enough to replace a couple of computers and some television sets.

    If your concern is data loss, you are approaching this the wrong way. You protect against data loss with offsite replication.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:13PM (#47019521) Homepage

    I think it's important to keep in mind that there's a point at which "more security" stops making sense and "more insurance" becomes a better option. I've had clients get overly-obsessed with security, trying to buy software that can locate/control your lost/stolen items remotely, locking everything down for physical security, etc. Then when they look at the project to secure everything, I point out that it'd be easier to insure everything instead. Along with everything else, there's no perfect security. You could go through all the effort and expense of securing things, and it could still get stolen.

    Aside from that, consider whether you can just reinforce security around a closet and lock everything in there. And then train people to arm the house alarm before leaving. Even the most secure door isn't going to keep your house secure if people keep propping it open.

  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:13PM (#47019523)

    Alarms simply tell you you've been robbed.

    A far more effective strategy is to ensure that anyone entering your house uninvited will find it impossible to stay long enough to steal your stuff.

    To do this, you want lots of *internal* sirens that run at 120dB+.

    If the intruders ears start bleeding as soon as they enter the building, they will retreat at a very hasty pace.

    That's how my alarms are configured. They ring me over the cellular network and generate an internal sould level that is intollerably loud (as I have discovered on the two occasions I forgot to disarm the system myself) :-)

    If he's going to get your iPad he might as well take some life-long hearing damage with him :-)

  • Build a moat. Oh yeah, get some boiling oil, too.
  • Weld together a stout metal rack mount enclosure with a big combination lock, either press bolts into the basement floor to anchor it or fill the bottom with a few hundred pounds of lead bars or sand. Odds are if your equipment requires more than 20 minutes with an angle grinder to steal they're probably going to just leave it.

    • Odds are if your equipment requires more than 20 minutes with an angle grinder to steal they're probably going to just leave it.

      But just to be sure, don't store your angle grinder near it.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:17PM (#47019567)
    There are two majors costs to any burglary, what's taken and the damage done. From people I know who have been robbed, the cost of repairing the damage outweighs the cost of a stolen laptop or camera that was taken.

    So, once a burglary has got in to your house most of the problem has already occurred. Even if your insurance pays there is a major inconvenience in making the claim, fighting the assessment and getting the repairs performed to your satisfaction. Best to prevent the whole possibility of that happening.

    How do you keep bad people out of your house? Alarms, cameras (oh joy! you can watch the video of your home being wrecked), trackers - all irrelevant and with little deterrent value. If you want to stop people even trying to get in to your home, get a dog. A big, noisy dog.

    If you can't get a dog (here comes the geek bit), get a recording of a dog. Hook it up to a PIR and an Arduino and have it play when anyone approaches the property. If you can arrange a stereo playback, process the soundtrack to make it appear as if the dog is moving around the house. If you want to go for extra "realism", rig up a weight attached to a motor that thumps the front door - the higher up the door, the bigger the dog appears to be - as if the dog had its paws on the door. You need LOUD and you need LONG. A recording that stops after a few seconds won't convince anyone. Especially if it replays exactly the same track each time.

    Finally, keep the pitch of the barking low. Nobody's scared of a squeaky little mutt. But if you slow it down, the animal sounds a lot larger and scarier.

  • Have steel-hardened doors, etc. If it looks like difficult access, they will go to neighbor. Just don't leave door open, garage-door open, etc. Build a safe room. Work from home, don't go on vacation, and only have food delivered. Screen all food with a paid food tester. I just make sure I have crappier stuff than neighbors.
  • The first and best way to avoid being robbed.

  • Since you've already heard about getting alarms, insurance, making backups and inventorying your electronics, computers or priceless antique cans, you might want to think about upgrading your door locks - assuming you're not renting, of course. Did you get them re-keyed when you moved in? If you're like most people, you didn't get around to it. Why not have the locksmith come out and do that and install new locks at the same time. Maybe reinforce the door jam if necessary around the deadbolt, and see if he'

    • If you make your house look a little harder to break into than your neighbors', it probably won't be you that gets robbed.


      In my experience, most thieves are lazy opportunists (otherwise, they'd have, you know, jobs), so if your house looks like a fortress, but the house next door does not, they're not even going to bother setting foot on your property.

  • Cover the items you want to protect in duct tape. The shitty looking silver kind. Or a bunch of stupid stickers from a dollar store.

    Obviously doesn't work for TVs but awesome for boxes where you only need to see a small portion of its face.

    People are visual creatures and thieves operate fast. They're trying for low hanging fruit and aren't going to appraise every piece carefully.

  • The reason isn't really security, it is mostly to hide the wire monster from my wife's delicate sensibilities and to further drown out the fan noise. One of my closets had an AC duct, which I basically enclosed in a little room to have a "consumer" grade server room (I close the duct in the winter, my temps are fine). The little room has a "crawlspace" panel in the plain old drywall wall, which is pretty low-key and not at all hard to crawl through for the rare times I need physical access. It cost me ab
  • Ask any cop. The best home security is a Dog. Especially one of the crazy breeds like a Border Collie (I have one) or German Shepard. They're so wired they'll bark when someone is on the sidewalk across the street. Burglars avoid houses with dogs. It's just too much of a pain to deal with. They're trying to be quiet and dogs are anything but.

  • Motion detector triggering MP3 playback

    (Loud cheery voice) "Intruder detected. Self-destruct sequence initiated ..."

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:55PM (#47019911)

    Burglars mostly look for easy to sell, small, valuable items : cash, jewelry, etc... They usually won't stay longer than a few minutes.
    Do you really think a burglar will bother with a UPS or any of these big, heavy, boxes that only a few people want ?
    They may however damage some of your stuff as they mess around your house searching for hiding places but anti-theft products won't help you with this.

    As for the remaining cases : insiders and real professional burglars who know exactly what to take, unless you become completely paranoid, you won't stop them.

    So : backup your data offsite, get a good insurance, do the minimum so that you are not the low hanging fruit (basically what is mandated by most insurance contract), keep calm and carry on.

  • by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:56PM (#47019923)

    Data. Use an offsite backup service or do like me and set up an offsite backup with rsync over ssh to a remote location under your control. All my drives or home folders are encrypted so even if the boxes do get stolen I won't have to worry as much. As long as my data is safe who cares about hardware that insurance will pay to replace?

    This strategy also protects you from floods, fires, etc. Not just theft.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"