Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security: Potential Legal Costs of Laptop Theft Make Technology Designed to Combat it All the More Attractive

(BOSTON, Mass. – Nov. 30, 2007 – Reports have indicated that physicians and other health officials in the U.K. may be fined for losing laptop computers. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, said the development is unsurprising in light of the associated costs of mobile computer theft, but suggested that better responses to the growing, prohibitively costly crime exist. He pointed to MyLaptopGPS™, a high-tech foil to laptop thieves that tracks stolen machines via Internet-based GPS and enables organizations to retrieve and destroy important computer files even as the computers are in criminals’ hands.

“A large portion of the financial losses in the wake of laptop thefts is often attributable to legal fees,” said Siciliano. “This is especially true if sensitive data is on the stolen machine. And, for some reason, valuable data is often stored on mobile computing devices. It makes sense that governments are taking measures to dissuade the careless use of laptops.”

CEO of 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.

According to a Nov. 15th article in Network World, “Doctors and health officials who lose laptops containing patient information could face prosecution under new rules being considered by the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).”

Various estimates have underscored the frequency and high potential cost of laptop theft:

• Symantec has found that a laptop computer is stolen every 53 seconds, and that 97 percent of these machines lost to theft are never recovered.

• Research from Gartner Group has shown that the cost of laptop computer theft can exceed $6,000 for even just one machine.

• The Computer Science Institute/FBI Computer Crime & Security Survey has estimated the number to be an average of $89,000 per machine.

• The Annual Computer Crime and Security Survey estimated the average loss to be $250,000 in 2003.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that total losses attributable to laptop theft equaled more than $6.7 million dollars in 2005.

Legal liabilities in the wake of data breaches have precedent. In early 2007, a data breach at TJX Companies Inc. affected more than 45 million past customers of the U.S. retailer. Articles that later ran in, the North Andover, Mass.–based Eagle Tribune, and other publications suggested that TJX fielded numerous lawsuits as a result.

“Smart organizations are avoiding the headaches of laptop thefts,” said Siciliano. “They’re equipping their laptop computers with technology that helps to ensure the retrieval of missing machines and the security of the data on them.”

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.

“It’s understandable why those in possession of laptops belonging to their employers might be subject to fines when the machines go missing,” said Dan Yost, chief technology officer at MyLaptopGPS. “Even so, thefts often happen despite users’ best attempts to secure machines because the computers are bereft of robust security technology. MyLaptopGPS takes much of the risk out of laptop theft. While tracking the stolen machine, it retrieves and deletes the hard drive’s contents before the criminal can even get to them.”

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 below 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.


About MyLaptopGPS
Since 1984, Tri-8, Inc. (DBA 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.

Identity theft affects us all, and Robert Siciliano, CEO of 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.

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)

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557