(BOSTON, Mass. – June 30, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) The costs in 2008 attributable to laptop theft and its consequences are on track to exceed $1 billion by the end of the year, a running tally by laptop tracking firm MyLaptopGPS strongly suggested. In the face of these mounting costs, according to widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano, affordable, simple-to-use technology designed to deter laptop theft and protect the information on them gives smart organizations the advantage.
"The pace of laptop theft continues unabated, threatening at any time to cripple governments or the system of commerce with just one large enough theft," said Siciliano. "Meanwhile, the accumulated costs in identity theft and other crimes attributable to countless smaller-scale laptop thefts leave the public already questioning the security of worldwide databases and financial systems. Smart organizations understand this and take measures to prevent laptop theft and mitigate its fallout when it does happen."
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 through consumer education workshops that explore security solutions for businesses and individuals. A longtime identity theft speaker and author of "The Safety Minute: 01," he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, NBC’s "Today Show," FOX News Network, and elsewhere.
At its website, MyLaptopGPS keeps a running tally of highly publicized laptop and desktop computer thefts and losses. The Realtime Estimated Damage Index (REDI) also assesses those losses’ associated costs by drawing on estimates from the FBI and other sources that reflect the likelihood that identity theft and other crimes will occur whenever a computer is misplaced or stolen.
On June 30, the REDI had recorded the loss of nearly 500 machines to date, with an associated cost attributable to just these few hundred machines on track to easily surpass $500 million by the end of 2008. Taking into account the countless unpublicized laptop thefts that the REDI does not record, the total cost attributable to laptop theft in 2008 was likely on pace to exceed $1 billion.
"The thefts of laptops just continue to pile up," said MyLaptopGPS’ chief technology officer, Dan Yost, who directed readers to a log of high-profile laptop thefts that the company records at its website. "With no end in sight, the potential of millions of stolen identities as a result, and the prospect of class-action lawsuits and voter backlash against institutions responsible for these lost laptops, the alternative of a less-than-ten-dollars-per-month preventative measure against laptop theft starts to make a lot of sense."
According to Siciliano, the state of laptop computer security is woeful. He pointed to a report in June of another several thousand data records gone missing to laptop thieves. He also noted a high-profile laptop theft that threw into question basic assumptions about the security of machines in the hands of national defense officials:
- The theft of seven laptops belonging to the U.K.’s National Health Service exposed about 30,000 patients to untold crimes, reported Contractor UK Limited on June 20.
- On June 13, the Daily Mail reported on the theft of a laptop computer belonging to a high-level anti-terror police officer in the U.K. Because of the officer’s preference of using his own laptop in place of one issued by the government, the information now probably in thieves’ hands was not encrypted.
"The apparently gaping holes in laptop security are in fact a cause for alarm," said Siciliano. "They throw into question safety protocols at the highest levels of government and law enforcement."
Siciliano encouraged readers to consider anti-laptop theft technology such as MyLaptopGPS’, which combines Internet-based GPS tracking — more effective than other forms of GPS for tracking and retrieving stolen laptops — 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.
"Our laptop fleet was certainly worth protecting," said Jim Sullivan, the network, systems and security administrator for FastForms, Inc. "We have procedures in place to help secure the machines, but we realized that we needed some key additional layers of security, such as covert tracking and remote-controlled data recovery and destruction. MyLaptopGPS’ solution is very easy to use, and we are quite satisfied. We would recommend MyLaptopGPS to any business seeking a simple solution to secure their laptops and data."
Additionally, MyLaptopGPS 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.
The YouTube video below shows Siciliano on "FOX Newschannel," where he discussed this year’s data security breach at Hannaford Bros. and provided consumers affected by the theft with the tips they needed to avoid paying for fraudulent charges to their bank accounts and credit accounts. 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." 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: