Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Says Any Laptop Computer Theft Must Also Be Treated as a Breach of Data

(BOSTON, Mass. – Aug. 13, 2007 – Last month’s theft of a laptop computer from a high-tech security products manufacturer has resulted in a data breach. According to Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, the development at once underscored the danger posed by recent laptop thefts and revealed the need for better antitheft protection on mobile computing devices. He directed organizations to solutions from MyLaptopGPS™.

“Any laptop theft must be treated not only as a loss of hardware, but also of data,” said Siciliano. “Most criminals realize that a treasure trove of sensitive data resides on the typical laptop computer, and many steal them for this very reason.”

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.

On Aug. 6, SC Magazine reported that VeriSign, Inc. suffered a data breach traced to the theft of a laptop computer that a now-former employee had stored in a vehicle. Social Security numbers, salary information, phone numbers, and other data were among the identifying information on the computer’s hard drive. SC Magazine’s article quoted VeriSign officials saying that they had “no reason to believe that the thief or thieves acted with the intent to extract and use this information.”

“Any company whose mobile computing devices fall prey to thieves must assume that criminals know exactly why they’re stealing the hardware — to pilfer the valuable data,” said Dan Yost, chief technology officer at MyLaptopGPS, a company whose products and services secure laptops and the data stored on them. “Some thieves may indeed be stealing laptop computers to resell them on the black market, but their hacker friends prize the machines for the Social Security numbers and other sensitive data.”

A July 7th article in The Kansas City Star detailed how the theft of a laptop from another security-related firm, Securitas Security Services USA Inc., prompted the company itself to warn those whose identifying data was on the machine of possible identity theft. Meanwhile, several laptop thefts and losses have occurred, throwing into question the safety of untold thousands of individuals’ identifying information:

      • The July 27th

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      reported that the theft of a laptop computer belonging to American Education Services’ subcontractor Vista Financial Inc. compromised the identities of more than 5,000 student loan borrowers.

• On July 11, the University of Minnesota’s newspaper, The Minnesota Daily, reported the theft of a political science professor’s laptop computer containing information on students of her classes dating back to fall 2005. According to the article, the laptop was in a locked car at the time of burglary.

• On June 25, the Associated Press reported on the May 30th theft of a laptop computer belonging to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The machine, according to the article, contained identifying information on 439 injured workers.

Siciliano indicated that the answer is for organizations of all types to secure their mobile computing fleers with robust protection. One such system, MyLaptopGPS’s, combines Internet-based GPS tracking — which, for tracking and retrieving stolen laptops, is more effective than other forms of GPS — with other functionalities that users can launch remotely to protect 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.

A downloadable demo of MyLaptopGPS is available. Recently, Yost delivered comments for a televised news report pertaining to the loss of laptop computers containing the Social Security numbers of numerous teachers at Chicago’s public schools. Readers may view YouTube video below of the “NBC 7 Chicago” footage.

Earlier this year, the theft of two laptops from an auditing firm resulted in the loss of 40,000 Chicago Public School teachers’ Social Security numbers. The April 2007 issue of Chicago Union Teacher, official publication of the Chicago Teachers Union, ran an article by Yost (page four of linked PDF document) that advised readers on how to prevent laptop theft.

Readers may view YouTube video below of Siciliano on NBC, where he uses the example of a laptop stolen from to discuss the crime’s close relationship to identity theft. 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.

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:

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