Command Line Warriors is running a campaign to get Linux users to encrypt at least their /home directory by Christmas 2008. It’s a really good idea, since if your laptop gets stolen, without encryption the thief may gain lots of personal data about you or others … possibly enough to steal your identity. And that would suck more than losing your laptop.
Before you get around to encrypting your /home (and other “data” partitions if you keep sensitive stuff outside /home), here’s a tip that is quick and easy to implement right now. If you use Firefox, turn off saving passwords and forms, or secure your saved passwords with a Master Password. You can do it by going to Edit-Preferences-Advanced-Encryption(tab), click on the “Security Devices” button and select “Software Security Device” from the tree-list and enable it, set a password. This way if your machine gets stolen, the thief won’t be able to simply start Firefox and retrieve the passwords to all your valuable online accounts.