(BOSTON, Mass. – Sept. 5, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Thefts, reported over the last month, of laptop computers belonging to a large national brewer and a well known engineering school placed more than 200,000 unique data records in jeopardy. Despite spokespeople’s reassurances that related identity thefts were unlikely, the default thinking needs to be that identity theft is in fact very likely whenever a laptop computer containing sensitive data goes missing to thieves, according to widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano. He encouraged firms that wish to avoid laptop theft to consider MyLaptopGPS, a laptop tracking and data recovery firm mentioned in the August 2008 issue of Inc. Magazine.
"Whether or not it is encrypted or password-protected, data on stolen mobile computing equipment always puts those it identifies at risk of becoming victims of identity theft," said Siciliano. "Smart organizations recognize that to assume that the exception to this rule somehow will apply to their stolen or lost laptop computers is just not acceptable. Consumers intuitively understand this and will flock — in every instance that they have the choice to do so — to companies that ‘get it.’"
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 presentations that explore security solutions for businesses and individuals. Author of "The Safety Minute: 01" and a longtime identity theft speaker, he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, NBC’s "Today Show," FOX News Network, and elsewhere.
The thefts of just three laptop computers, reported by the news media over the past month, have placed in the hands of thieves hard drives containing more than 200,000 unique data records:
- In early August, The Associated Press reported that two laptop computers belonging to Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. went missing to thieves in June. "The company does not believe any fraudulent credit transactions or cases of identity theft have resulted from the laptop thefts," reported the AP. Together, the computers contained current and former employees’ Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and more.
- In late August and early September, a number of news media reported on the theft of a laptop computer belonging to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The machine stored "the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of" nearly 13,000 "applicants to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and another 1,100 people at" RIT, according to DemocratandChronicle.com, which cited a media statement indicating that "RIT cannot confirm if anyone has accessed this information," but "[c]urrently, we have no indication of any criminal activity regarding the personal information."
"The responsible organizations out there will admit that they really have no idea what’s happening to information on laptop computers once these machines are lost," said MyLaptopGPS’ chief technology officer, Dan Yost, who invited readers to visit the MyLaptopGPS blog, where his company provides further commentary regarding the incidents at RIT and Anheuser-Busch. "The fact of the matter is nobody knows, and the onus of responsibility for protection falls on the consumer once a theft occurs. This tends to upset customers, who then wish to take their business elsewhere. But organizations can easily dodge all this ill, and the ensuing loss of business, by simply investing in affordable laptop tracking and data recovery technology."
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. At its website, MyLaptopGPS also keeps a log of these high-profile laptop thefts.
MyLaptopGPS’ anti-laptop theft technology 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.
"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."
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: