(BOSTON, Mass. – Jan. 7, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Over the past month, laptop computers have gone missing from local, state, and national governments in alarming numbers. But the crisis presented an opportunity for government agencies to set a much-needed example of responsible mobile computer security, said Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert. Siciliano pointed to solutions such as MyLaptopGPS™’s, which couples Internet-based GPS tracking with remote delete-and-retrieve technology to protect lost machines and the data they hold.
“Imagine the good will that a well-publicized retrieval of data stored on a stolen government laptop computer would generate with public constituencies,” said Siciliano. “The alternative is ever-diminishing public trust in the competency of its government to secure the very information that citizens are required to provide.”
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.
In the past few weeks, a number of government-owned laptop computers have gone missing, placing thousands of citizens’ sensitive data at risk of identity theft:
- On Jan. 1, The Breach Blog reported that a laptop computer belonging to the United States Air Force (USAF) had gone missing from a USAF band member’s home on Nov. 19, 2007, at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Data stored on the computer included sensitive information such as social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and telephone numbers of active and retired Air Force members.
- On Dec. 28, the Associated Press and others reported that Philadelphia, Penn.–based Promissor Corp. had lost a Minnesota Department of Commerce–owned laptop computer to thieves. Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and state license data on 219 Minnesotans were among the data, protected only by password, on the stolen machine. Promissor, a company that contracts with most states to handle licensing for the real estate, mortgage and debt collection industries, waited two weeks to notify Minnesota officials of the theft, according to the article.
- Also on Dec. 28, the Associated Press reported the theft of several laptop computers belonging to Davidson County offices in Tennessee. The data breach affected Social Security numbers and other personal information on more than 337,000 registered voters in the county, officials quoted in the report believed.
- Telegraph.co.uk reported on Dec. 17 that a laptop computer “containing details about the new security system protecting the British Parliament [had] disappeared from its security department.” The machine went missing from the home of a high-ranking member of the government body, the report said.
“It is clear that the mobility and convenience of laptop computers makes them popular for the storage of sensitive information such as Social Security numbers and birthdates,” said Dan Yost, chief technology officer at MyLaptopGPS. “This is precisely why mobile computers are popular among thieves also.”
MyLaptopGPS 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, as well as a full line of highly renowned SafeTags™, which are police-traceable property tags designed to secure iPods, cell phones, BlackBerry devices, and other mobile property. A downloadable demo of MyLaptopGPS is available.
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.
According to USA Today, theft of personal data more than tripled in 2007. Readers may view video of Siciliano below discussing this news on the new “FOX Business” network. To learn more about identity theft, a major concern for anyone who’s lost a laptop computer to thieves, readers may go to video of Siciliano at VideoJug.
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.
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.
The media are encouraged to get in touch with any of the following individuals: