Yahoo Messenger Travel Security Risk
Use 7-zip. Free strong AES-256 encryption.
I'd recommend it for any sensitive data you may store ANYWHERE, email, hard drive, backup drives or otherwise.
Chris must not have used a desktop login password. Or was his laptop on?
I have mine lock after X minutes of inactivity.
AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)
There are a number of things other than not checking the password box you can do to protect against this.
* Use firefox with the 'master password' checkbox ticked. this means that your password is saved, but encrypted and other users will need the master password to get in. If they happen to get to your computer while it's on, they might be able to access your gmail account but not change its password.
* Use an encrypted disk with software like TrueCrypt, if you're really paranoid. If your computer is off, no data on the drive should be recoverable without the password.
Additionally, if you want somewhere handy to keep your web passwords, foxmarks does a very nice service where they sync your bookmarks and passwords (encrypted of course) so that if you lose your laptop you can recover them later.