Protect Your Keyboards, Mice and Cables from Theft with a Flat Washer

You are using lockdown security cables to protect your PCs, but your accessories — keyboards, mice, and other cables — are still vulnerable to theft. You can use one of these specially built products to lock down the cables, or you can use a 20¢ flat washer from the hardware store to protect these components from minor mischief.

Close-up of mouse cable protected by flat washer

A posting on FriendFeed from Andrew Shuping caused me to do a web search for this technique, and I was surprised that it wasn’t mentioned. The only thing that you need is a standard flat washer. The size of the washer is key — the hole in the middle needs to be big enough to pass the cable through twice but not so big that the end of the cable will pass through the hole in the flat washer. A half-inch diameter hole is about right. Click on the images to see the larger versions.

The Setup

  1. Create a loop with the keyboard or mouse or USB cable.
  2. Pass the loop through the flat washer.
  3. Pass the security cable through the loop.

Note that this technique doesn’t deter a determined despoiler because it can be defeated by dissecting the cable, but for will work in simplest case. If someone really wants the keyboard or the mouse and is willing to cut the cord in half to remove the flat washer, they will get the component. They will also have to patch the cable back together to make it useful, so odds are it isn’t worth it.