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Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Points to Increasingly Brazen Laptop Thefts as Reason for Firms to Rethink Mobile Computer Security

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(BOSTON, Mass. – Nov. 12, 2007 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Reports over just the past two weeks underscored the ease and brazenness with which thieves can steal laptop computers. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, said the unrelenting pace of laptop computer theft is a symptom of poor security choices. According to Siciliano, smart organizations have yet more reason to rethink the measures they take to secure mobile computing devices. He pointed to MyLaptopGPS™.

“At least seventy thousand personal data files have possibly fallen into the hands of criminals as the result of laptop computers reported stolen in just the past two-week timeframe,” said Siciliano. “But laptop computer security is in fact an affordable, feasible proposition. Those who store their customers’, employees, and other constituents’ sensitive data on mobile computing devices owe it to these people to avail themselves of security technologies from companies such as MyLaptopGPS, which tracks stolen laptops with Internet-based GPS and allows users from remote locations to delete files on stolen machines.”

CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. A longtime identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.

The St. Petersburg Times reported on Oct. 28 that one man stole 150 laptops from various corporations’ offices in five states during the time period of 2002 through the spring of this year. Arrested in April, the “Khaki Bandit,” according to reports, gained access to office buildings by closely shadowing security personnel’s entry. Once inside, he allegedly stole the machines in plain sight of nearby workers.

Reports continued to indicate that laptop theft is rampant. The following laptop thefts, all reported during the past two weeks, put more than 70,000 people at risk of becoming victims of identity thieves and other financial fraudsters:

  • The Nov.8th edition of The Charlotte Observer reported the loss of a laptop computer belonging to the Cabarrus County Emergency Medical Services. Names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers for about 28,000 who had received are at the healthcare facility were stored on the lost device, according to the article, which reported that Cabarrus County spent $17,676 just to print and mail letters of warning to those whose data may now be in the hands of criminals.
  • A Nov. 5th story in The Ticker, City University of New York’s campus newspaper, reported the theft from that learning institution of a laptop containing more than 23,000 financial aid–receiving students’ names and Social Security numbers. The article noted that the security of password protection varies widely.
  • On Oct. 30th, “WZZM 13 News” reported that up to 18,000 current and potential students of Big Rapids, Mich.–based Ferris State University were at risk of identity theft; a laptop computer stolen from an admissions recruiter’s car contained their names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, email addresses, academic information, and student identification numbers.
  • According to an Oct. 29th report from “KGMB9 News,” a laptop belonging to the U.S. Postal Service and stolen in August contained confidential data on nearly 3,000 postal employees in Oahu, Hawaii. The report indicated that authorities who waited to inform the affected employees did so because they hadn’t known of the file’s existence on the lost machine.

Organizations that need an affordable, simple solution for laptop security may turn to MyLaptopGPS™. The product combines Internet-based GPS tracking — which, for tracking and retrieving stolen laptops, is more effective than other forms of GPS — with other functionalities to secure mobile computing devices. Users launch MyLaptopGPS’ features remotely, protecting data even while the machine is in a criminal’s hands. Once connected to the Internet, the software silently retrieves, and then deletes, files from machines as it tracks the stolen or missing hardware — at once returning the data to its rightful owner and removing it from the lost computer.

MyLaptopGPS also offers SafeRegistry™, a comprehensive system for inventorying entire fleets of mobile computers. A downloadable demo of MyLaptopGPS is available.

“Robust security for laptop computers makes good business sense,” said Dan Yost, chief technology officer at MyLaptopGPS. “Financial and other contingencies that arise from the theft of even just one laptop computer can be prohibitive. The cost alone of informing those possibly affected can reach into the thousands of dollars. MyLaptopGPS is the logical alternative.”

The October 2007 issue of Bank Fraud & IT Security Report, a newsletter published only in hard copy, ran “The Seven Layers of Laptop Security,” an article by Siciliano and Yost. A white paper adaptation of that article is available from MyLaptopGPS.

Readers may view YouTube video of “NBC 7 Chicago” footage featuring Yost delivering comments for a televised news report that covered the April 2007 theft of two laptops that stored 40,000 Chicago Public School teachers’ Social Security numbers. To learn more about identity theft, a major concern for anyone who has been affected by the theft of a laptop computer, readers may go to video of Siciliano at VideoJug.

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About MyLaptopGPS

  Since 1984, Tri-8, Inc. (DBA MyLaptopGPS.com) has specialized in complete system integration. From real-time electronic payment processing software to renowned mid-market ERP implementations, the executive team at MyLaptopGPS has been serving leading enterprises and implementing world-class data systems that simply work. With MyLaptopGPS™, Tri-8, Inc. brings a level of expertise, dedication, knowledge and service that is unmatched. MyLaptopGPS™’s rock-solid performance, security, and reliability flow directly from the company’s commitment to top-notch software products and services for almost 25 years.

About IDTheftSecurity.com

  Identity theft affects us all, and Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report‘s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients. A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Mademoiselle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

For more information, visit Siciliano’s Web site, blog, and YouTube page.

The media are encouraged to get in touch with any of the following individuals:

John Dunivan
  MyLaptopGPS Media Relations
  PHONE: (405) 747-6654 (direct line)
  jd@MyLaptopGPS.com
  http://www.MyLaptopGPS.com

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
  CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com
  PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
  FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)
  Robert@IDTheftSecurity.com
  http://www.idtheftsecurity.com

Brent W. Skinner
  President & CEO of STETrevisions
  PHONE: 617-875-4859
  FAX: 866-663-6557
  BrentSkinner@STETrevisions.biz
  http://www.STETrevisions.biz

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

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