Tech Life

Vigilance Trumps Vigilantes: Tips to Prepare You to Have Your Tech Stolen

When my wife and I stopped for dinner just outside St. Louis, we never thought it would end up costing us thousands.

breakin2-1-of-1But that’s exactly what happened when thieves broke into our RV and stole thousands of dollars’ worth of tech equipment, including laptops, camera gear, and my mobile recording studio (which is why we haven’t had a PC Mike podcast in the last two weeks). You can read and hear more about the actual break-in here:

Fortunately, I’ve exercised vigilance when it comes to taking steps to prepare for a tech emergency like this.

As I continue replacing equipment and dealing with the aftermath of losing so much tech, here are some simple – yet very important – steps and programs that really came into play when our RV was burglarized:

  • Password managers: As soon as humanly possible I found another computer and logged into my LastPass account to change all my passwords. I did a story about the importance of password managers that can be found here:
  • The right software: By using software like Orbicule (Mac only), users can remotely access critical information, even take pictures of whoever is using or trying to use your computer. Backblaze is another one, plus it’s available for Windows. Yes, there are costs involved, but think of it as a really, really cheap insurance policy.
  • Use the cloud: What’s more important – the equipment or what you actually do with it? The answer is obviously the content you’ve created – from business expenses to photos and everything else. That’s why storing in the cloud is crucial, whether it’s through Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or another cloud storage.
  • More physical security: One of the first things my wife, Jennifer, mentioned in the aftermath was the need for more secure storage. We’re looking into the Stack-On PS-508 Extra Wide Strong Safe with Electronic Lock ($89 on Amazon) and other similar pieces of security.  If you keep tech devices in your car, truck, or RV, consider a dash cam like Windshield Witness. We have one in our RV and it captured a shot of the person believed to have been involved with the burglary and it also captured audio from the break-in.
The video from our dash cam showed this man walking back and forth, peering inside and then disappearing off to the left, seconds after someone entered the vehicle from that direction. Under his left arm he is carrying what appears to be a hammer or some sort of burglary tool.

By the way, this doesn’t have to be limited to laptops. The PC Mike blog recently did a piece about so-called “theftie” apps. If someone steals your smartphone or tablet – or even tries to use it when you’re not around – it takes a picture of the perpetrator and emails it to you. You can read that full post here:



Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.