(BOSTON, Mass. – Aug. 22, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) In July, the theft of multiple laptop computers belonging to a Missouri-based cable provider left more than 9,000 of the firm’s current and former employees’ confidential data in the hands of thieves. The potential, crippling financial consequences of this and other laptop thefts, however, could easily be avoided, according to widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano, who directed firms to MyLaptopGPS, a laptop tracking and data recovery firm mentioned in the August 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine.
“Databases of individuals’ identifying information stored on laptops are prime targets for identity thieves, who recognize the exceptional value of such records,” said Siciliano. “Employment data is in fact tailor made for fraudsters. And every potential victim is also a potential plaintiff in a potential class action suit against any offending organization that leaves identifying information on its mobile computers. The alternative is simple: Equip mobile computing fleets with affordable laptop tracking capability and remote data retrieval and deletion technology.”
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.
On Aug. 13, The Associated Press reported on the theft of 12 laptop computers from the offices of Charter Communications Inc., a sizeable cable provider based in St. Louis, Mo. During the week prior to the AP‘s report, about 9,000 former and current employees received notification from the firm that their Social Security numbers, associated names and birth dates were on the stolen machines. The St. Louis Business Journal later reported that just one of the laptops contained all this employee data. Additionally, Charter Communications had “no reason to believe that the information has been or will be used improperly,” according to a company spokesperson quoted in the AP‘s news report.
“When a laptop computer storing confidential data on employees goes missing from a business office, the default assumption ought to be that the data is also at risk,” said MyLaptopGPS’ chief technology officer, Dan Yost, who invited readers to visit the MyLaptopGPS blog and discuss the Charter Communications data breach. “The default practice for organizations, in fact, should be to raise the odds of sparing the data from this risk — by installing laptop tracking technology on their fleets of mobile computing equipment.”
MyLaptopGPS maintains the Realtime Estimated Damage Index (REDI™), a running tally of highly publicized laptop and desktop computer thefts and losses. The 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 Aug. 21, the REDI indicated that these highly publicized events had accounted for 492 laptops having gone missing thus far in 2008. MyLaptopGPS keeps a log of these high-profile laptop thefts at its website. The REDI’s latest number translated to 2,546,917 data records and estimated financial damages of $500,230,549, a 40 percent increase in cost over the past three months alone.
“Our laptop fleet was certainly worth protecting,” said Jim Sullivan, the network, systems and security administrator for FastForms, Inc. “We had 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.”
Anti-laptop theft technology such as MyLaptopGPS’ 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. A user launches 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.
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 News Network, 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: