Thwart laptop thieves by shutting off your wi-fi

Most of us don’t think twice about lugging a $2000 object to a public place and then leaving it for five minutes to grab a coffee refill — with no other assurance that it won’t be stolen than that there are other people around. I’ve started being a bit more careful since laptop theft has gone up around here, but it’s just as easy to forget that laptop rustlers don’t just hang out in cafes. And if they’re savvy, they may even employ wireless signal trackers to pinpoint the location of laptops hidden under car seats, in trunks, or in garages.

It seems (although I’m not sure how true this is for different types and makes) that some laptops keep their wireless on for a set time after being shut or told to sleep — probably because people often remember something they needed to look up, and pop the laptop back open. Laptop thieves make use of cheap wi-fi strength indicators available at any Fry’s to find a likely car and then, I suppose, bust it open the usual way.

People are advised to shut down their wi-fi before putting their computers to sleep, or else fully shut down the machine. Seems reasonable enough, but why do I suspect most people won’t take this advice?