United Airlines Passport Scanning Mobile App: is it safe?

How much easier international travel is for United Airlines fliers: They can now use their iOS or Android device to scan their passports.

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If a customer checks in with United’s mobile application for international flights, they can access the passport-scanning feature. One can check in within 24 hours of departure. Fliers will get an option to confirm their stored passport data or to scan their passport.

If a customer chooses the scan, the app will use the smartphone’s camera to capture passport information. United says this is “similar to a mobile banking deposit.” The flier can retrieve the boarding pass after the passport scan is verified.

United says that their passport scanning feature is very time-saving and gives fliers more control.

Since it’s launch, Ive been asked by multiple outlets in regards to its security and the safety of this application, as it pertains to possible data breaches. The company who created the apps backbone is “Jumio” and by all accounts, they seem top notch.

It’s important consumers never blindly download or use any application without doing some due diligence. This is what I found;

Jumio states: “Jumio is PCI Level 1 compliant and regularly conducts security audits, vulnerability scans and penetration tests to ensure compliance with security best practices and standards. To demonstrate PCI compliance a yearly on-site validation assessment by a QSA is carried out. Jumio carries the security controls established to achieve PCI compliance over to PII data which is of comparable sensitivity and has extended the scope of such controls to cover and protect all systems used to transmit/process/store PII data. Doing so, provides Jumio with a coherent and independently tested set of security policies/processes/controls and enables Jumio’s customers to gain confidence that their data – be it credit card or PII – is handled in a secure manner throughout its lifetime.”

This is great. Now let’s hope my airline, Delta, signs on too!

And again, know what you’re getting into with any app because the Wall Street Journal ran a report in 2010 warning people of app developers’ missing transparency. And yes, we’ve come a long way in 4 years but 101 popular applications for iPhone and Android were examined. It turned out that 56 actually transmitted the mobile device’s unique ID to other companies. This was done without the user’s consent or even awareness.

Forty-seven of the apps transmitted the device’s location. Five of the applications sent gender, age and other personal data to outsiders.

This shows how intent that online-tracking companies are at collecting private information on people. Kind of makes you think of that song, “Every Breath You Take,” by the Police, especially the part that goes, “I’ll be watching you.”

Trackers know what apps the user is downloading, how often they’re used and for how long, the whole works. And there’s been no meaningful action taken to curb this. It’s all about money. (Isn’t everything?)

The more “they” know about the user, the more targeted ads will come the user’s way. If they know you love shoes, ads about shoes will pop up. However, all this “transmitted” personal information can also be used for ID theft and other criminal purposes.

Solution:

Be aware. Don’t just blindly downloads and use an application. Do your research, read the terms and conditions and/or terms of service.

The user must weigh the risks and benefits when downloading the next application. In addition, download only from a reputable app store—after you’ve read user reviews and the app’s privacy policy regarding how much personal information it will get into and share.

Other tips include avoiding conducting smartphone transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi connections and keeping the software current in your smartphone: keeping up to date on its operating system, security software and browser.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Using your Mobile to protect you from criminals

The Good:

5WYour mobile phone number is almost as good as your fingerprint: very unique to you, and as a second factor authentication device via text message, acts as access control through which to access certain web sites.

SMS two factor authentication as it’s know is the sending of unique one time pass codes that turns your mobile phone into a recipient of a onetime password or “OTP”. Generally there’s no software to install and it’s just a matter of registering your device with the website. OTPs are sent to smartphones upon entering your username, than a password or after you click a button on the site requesting the SMS OTP

A fraudster trying to infiltrate your account would need not only your password and user name, but would also need to physically have your phone. This is a great layer of security. SMS two factor authentication can be used with site like Facebook, Twitter, your bank, Gmail, Paypal and others.

Web sites link your mobile number with your account for your protection. So next time an online company wants to send you a “code” via your smartphone, don’t get annoyed; feel secure instead, because that’s how the company knows you are you. In fact, companies will likely brand you as a highly suspicious user if you refuse to include your mobile device’s number as part of your registration.

The Bad:

Keep your guard up because fraudsters won’t be stopped from trying to succeed at their plans, however, and they know that the smartphone poses unique vulnerabilities to the user. For instance, people are more likely to click on a malicious e-mail link because the phone’s small screen makes it harder to detect suspicious web site addresses. Criminals are forever trying to get passwords and hack into accounts and wreak havoc. As technology continues to evolve in favor of the honest user, so does the technology of crime.

Your role is to always try to stay one step ahead of the criminals. There are ways you can protect yourself and never let crooks get ahead of you:

  • Never use the same password for more than one account or web site, even though it’s more convenient to have one password for multiple sites. Every app and web site should have a unique password.
  • Every access point you encounter should be safeguarded with a WiFi VPN service such as Hotspot Shield VPN that encrypts your wireless internet and surfing activities. This way, when you peruse cyberspace at hotels, airports and coffee houses, all of your activities are protected from hijackers.
  • Ignore password request e-mails or security alerts, especially on your smartphone, as they are almost always fraudulent.
  • Do you know if your phone (or iPad) is uploading your private data to cyberspace? Find out by installing an app security scanner.
  • Never use third-party apps on your device (or “jailbreak” it). Never let your kids use your phone, either.
  • Your device should be kept up to date with the latest operating system. System updates usually include security enhancements.
  • When installing Android apps, read their security notices. Understand how your sensitive data will be exposed with these apps—before you hit “Okay.”

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

“Predictive Analytics”: Technologies that read your Mind

There’s an app that can practically read your mind via your mobile device. The technology is called predictive analysis, and Google’s Now app is at the forefront. Other apps that utilize predictive analysis include Grokr and Osito: predicting the smartphone user’s next move.

2WHow does this work?

Snippets of information are assembled via an algorithm, leading to a prediction of the user’s next behavior.

An example would be combining snippets of calendar entries with the user’s location data, e-mail information, social network postings and other like information.

The user is then presented with assistance that the app “thinks” is needed. The support-information is called a card. A card might, for example, remind the user about an event whose information was entered previously.

The app will then add directions to the event or show weather conditions at the location—even advise raingear.

Benefits

  • The Now app can “understand” context and filter out irrelevant information, making searchers easier than ever.
  • The Google search engine can now respond to more than just individual keywords and can seemingly grasp the meaning of a search query. This algorithm is called Hummingbird and impacts 90 percent of searches.

An example is that Google can compare items upon request or dig up facts about various things. For example, just type in the name of a famous landmark—once. If you seek trivia, you’ll get answers, but if you then seek directions, Google will know that you want directions to this landmark without you having to type in its name again.

  • Future locations of the user can be predicted (based on locations visited previously), not just the current location.
  • Recently, Google and Microsoft researchers came up with a software, Far Out, that can figure out a user’s routine via GPS tracking. This data is then assembled so that future locations of that user can be predicted.
  • The configuring can even adjust to correlate with the user’s changes in residence or workplace.

As advanced as all of this seems, this is only the start of a new wave of technology that can “think” for us—a big benefit to those whose lives are so hectic that they’ve become absent minded, and for those who simply enjoy the idea of having to do less mental work.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

5 Ways To Protect Your Mobile From Prying Eyes

Do you know how to keep your phone from the prying eyes of exes, strangers, cops, other officials and even your own spouse? Here are tips to keep your mobile safe and secure.

5W#1 Common Sense

When it comes to the police, cooperate; this will lessen the chance of mobile confiscation. Though you aren’t required to talk to the police without an attorney present, and don’t need to fork over your passcode or give up your phone just because they ask for it, don’t be a pest, either. In general, police need a warrant to search your phone.

#2 Lock down your Phone

Encrypting important data is crucial for those who want to keep prying eyes—be they the police, a vindictive ex or a nosy coworker—from gaining access to their mobile device. The method of encrypting varies from one mobile device to the next, but here are some guidelines:

  • Android and iOS phones come with native data protection for encrypting. Take advantage of this. Remember, other models also offer encryption features, and the user needs to learn how to access these features.
  • Lock your SIM card so nobody can access the SIM without a known PIN.
  • Don’t always use the same phone; switch them up.
  • Protect any videos or photos you’ve taken with the mobile by saving them, then sharing them immediately to provide a backup.

#3 Store in a Cloud

Cloud storage enables you to store your data (videos, pictures, files, etc.) in a virtual storehouse which can be purchased or leased through a hosting company.

To store photos or videos, enable Camera Uploads on DropBox (Android, iOS). You can do the same with Google Drive. Each mobile device has a different way of shunting your valuable data to a cloud for cyber storage.

For Facebook enthusiasts, cloud storage can also be done via your mobile’s Facebook app.

iOS users can use AutoSnap to upload any image that’s taken with it to Facebook, DropBox, Twitter and Instagram. Just link the app with any social accounts that you have.

#4 Live broadcasting Yourself

  • Livestreaming puts anything you record on your phone onto the Internet; here, the phone acts as an inputting tool rather than a storage tool.
  • Justin.Tv (iOS, Android) is the leading livestream app, and the service is free.
  • UStream (iOS, Android). This livestreaming app focuses more on quality than on easy access. The service offers many broadcasting options.
  • Veetle (iOS, Android). This company is smaller than Justin.Tv and UStream, but has an advantage: free, easy integration with social media, plus some other perks.

#5 Use a VPN

When surfing the web on your local computer, mobile or tablet on a free, unprotected public network in a hotel, airport or coffee shop, your data is vulnerable to “sniffers.”

That’s where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in to protect your data between your laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android and an internet gateway. This kind of VPN creates an impenetrable tunnel to prevent snoopers, hackers and ISPs from viewing your web-browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network.

Hotspot Shield VPN is a great option that protects your entire web surfing session, securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public internet networks (both wired and wireless). Hotspot Shield’s free proxy protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS—the protected internet protocol.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

7 tips to a secure mobile device

Have you ever received an email like this…I did: “Robert, last night I was at a concert and I must have dropped my phone because I lost it. But then something awful happened. My friends knew I was with my other friend, and she got a call wondering if I was OK. Apparently whoever found or stole my mobile posted all my naked pictures to Facebook. I’ve finally got access to Facebook and I’ve deleted most of them, but it’s been a harrowing experience.”

5W

There are just so many things wrong with this. It’s amazing to me how lazy some people can be with their mobile security—especially if their devices have, ahem, “private” information on them.

  1. Passwords: Mobiles need to be password protected and automatically locked after one minute. A four- to six-letter/number password is sufficient.
  2. Erase on too many password attempts: Enable the option for when someone tries to enter a password in excess of 10 tries, the device erases the data. If you have kids, you may not want to activate the erase option.
  3. Lock/locate/wipe software: Many devices have a feature that allows users to locate the device in the event it’s lost or stolen. And added bonus is it allows you to lock it down (it should already be locked after one minute!) and erases the data remotely.
  4. Security software: Know that mobiles are targeted by virus writers in the same way PCs are. While there are millions of viruses targeting PCs, there still tens of thousands targeting mobiles.
  5. Wireless security: The 3/4G connection on your devices is relatively secure—but the WiFi is definitely not, especially on a public WiFi network. Hotspot Shield VPN is an excellent option to protect your data on an unsecured network.
  6. Update your operating system: Whenever you get a notification that an updated version of your OS is available, it’s often because there was a security vulnerability discovered. Download the update ASAP.
  7. Beware of SMiShing: Whenever you receive text messages to access an account, update your OS or offering cheap goods, be suspect. Really, if you aren’t expecting the text, hit delete.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

NFC app on androids facilitates automation

Near field communications (NFC) is the exchange of information between two devices via wireless signal. For example, a wireless signal emitting from your cell phone can act as a credit card when making a purchase. In the case of a mobile wallet application, those devices would be a mobile phone and a point-of-sale device at a checkout counter.

And NFC does so much more on Androids. A program called Trigger, which is available in Google Play, allows you to create customized automation tasks for numerous everyday things we do.

Bored of putting your phone on silent every time you get into the office? Tired of turning off Bluetooth to conserve battery every time juice gets low? This app interacts with your surroundings to configure settings on your phone automatically. Combine triggers and actions to create tasks, then activate the tasks that you create with conditions that you set!

Here are examples of what you can do:

In your car: Use Bluetooth as a trigger to open GPS and launch your favorite music app.

On your nightstand: Program an NFC tag to set your ringer to vibrate, dim your display and set an alarm.

In your home: Configure mobile data to turn off when your phone detects your own WiFi signal.

The current triggers are as follows:

  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi
  • Battery level
  • Location
  • Time triggers

And here are a few examples of the actions that you can perform:

  • Change WiFi, Bluetooth, mobile hotspot, airplane mode, auto-sync, GPS (root users) and mobile data settings.
  • Change your volume or notification tones.
  • Change your display brightness, timeout, auto-rotation or notification light settings.
  • Check in on social media like Foursquare or Google Places.
  • Send messages using Twitter, SMS, email or Glympse.
  • Start or stop applications (root required for stopping applications), dock modes, open URLs, speak text or navigate to an address.
  • Set alarms or create calendar events.

There’s even more, but suffice to say this app allows you to easily program your device to do the actions you manually do regularly.

So go ahead and create your own combinations to automate your life. The only limit is what you can come up with!

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Mobile, wearable and now…implantable technology?

It began with the laptop.

7DThe laptop was the first portable internet-connected device that freed up millions to create a mobile workforce. Next was the smartphone, which didn’t really take off until Apple opened it up to developers and allowed the creation of applications that made the smartphone what it is today. Apple did it again with the tablet, and now Android tablets and smartphones have an even bigger stake in the game than ever before.

Today we have wearable technology in the limited release of Google Glass, which is a wearable computer with an optical, head-mounted display in a smartphone-like, hands-free format that can interact with the internet via natural language voice commands.

Now we have smartwatches. Samsung has a smartwatch, and Google, Apple and Microsoft are buying up companies that have patented smartwatch technology or are hiring engineers to create it. Smartwatch technologies are supposed to work in tandem with mobile phones and computers to become the third leg of the “smart” ecosystem.

And with wearable fitness gadgets that sense heartbeat, pulse, the number of steps you take, and the quality and duration of your sleep, it’s just a matter of time before technology gets in your head…literally.

CNET reports, “Google has a plan. Eventually it wants to get into your brain. ‘When you think about something and don’t really know much about it, you will automatically get information,’ Google CEO Larry Page said in Steven Levy’s book, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives. ‘Eventually you’ll have an implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer.’”

WOW. We have had pacemakers for a while now, and there are chip implants similar to those in pets but now used to authenticate humans. But “Google brain”?

What do you think? Will you wear Glass? Do you have to have a smartwatch? Would you like to be able to think of something and have an implantable computer in your head to provide some additional resources to complete your thoughts? Technology is now “on” our bodies, and it’s looking more and more like technology is creeping “into” our bodies! Let’s hope our heads don’t get hacked!

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Understanding Your BYOD Policy

An employee may pay for their device and its monthly plan, but employees who use their personal devices at work should be required to adhere to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that sets the ground rules. If you choose to use your personal device for work purposes at any time for any reason, then your employer will more than likely want control over that device. This means like in a company mobile liability policy, the employer may have remote capabilities to monitor activity and in the event of loss or employee termination, wipe the data.

The day after you get your new and shiny mobile or tablet, chances are you’ll take it right to work and request the IT department set it up with your email and access to the company network. And as more and more companies agree to this, they are also requiring you to agree to their terms as well.

Expect an acceptable use policy. This is one that is governed by the company’s CIO and others basically telling you what you can and can’t do. Read it carefully because once you sign it, your job will be on the line of you don’t abide by it.

Running in the background will be an application that you will be required to download and install. This app may have a certificate authenticating you and the device to connect to the company network and run company programs.

The installed application should provide the enterprise the ability to essentially remotely control your mobile at some level. I wouldn’t be concerned about this unless of course you’re not abiding by the agreement you signed.

At a minimum expect the application to have the ability to locate your mobile if its lost or stolen via the phone’s GPS, lock your phone locally whether you want to or not, (by default you have to choose 1-5 minutes).  Mobile security software apps should also remotely wipe your mobile of all its data. Having encryption, antivirus and a firewall is a key factor in protecting data.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

Identity Theft Protection Expert and One You Security: Mortgage Fraud Crackdown Underscores the Susceptibility of Consumers’ Financial Identities to Theft

(SARASOTA, Fla. – June 24, 2008 – One You Security) Law enforcement activities surrounding mortgage fraud across the U.S. have resulted in the arrest of thousands, according to reports. The utility of Social Security numbers as means to obtain credit fuels the pervasiveness of mortgage fraud, said Robert Siciliano, widely televised and quoted identity theft protection expert and chief security analyst for One You Security, LLC, a firm that provides identity theft prevention education and strives to render subscribers’ Social Security numbers useless to thieves.

“Some of the most devastating instances of mortgage fraud involve identity theft,” said Siciliano. “Consumers not only have to be leery of questionable mortgage lenders, but also of others who might buy a home in their name. The usefulness of the Social Security number to identity thieves who aspire to attain the big payoff in mortgage fraud compounds this problem. But citizens are encouraged when they can take proactive action to make Social Security numbers useless to thieves.”

Chief security analyst for One You Security 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 business and individuals. A longtime identity theft prevention speaker, he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News Network, and elsewhere.

Operation Malicious Mortgage, an effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to curb mortgage fraud in the U.S., has resulted in more than 1,400 arrests since March of this year, according to a report dated June 23 in the U.K. financial website thisisyourmoney.co.uk. Following are recent U.S. arrests related to mortgage fraud:

  • Federal officials announced the mortgage fraud-related arrests of 67 people in the Chicago, Ill. area, a June 19thAssociated Press report in Crain’s Chicago Business revealed. Prosecutors alleged that some of the defendants were responsible for identity theft that helped in the obtaining more than $3 million in fraudulent home loans.
  • Mortgage fraud that allegedly resulted in a loss of more than $50 million in Michigan municipalities led federal authorities to charge 28 people there with related crimes, reported the Detroit Free Press on June 19.

Data from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has revealed that instances of suspected mortgage fraud have risen by 1,000 percent over the past six to seven years, reported the article in thisisyourmoney.co.uk, which went on to say the FBI’s financial crimes section has seen an 800 percent increase in its case load since 2003.

“The apparent spike in mortgage fraud reveals one more line of attack that thieves exploit to hijack the financial identities of consumers,” said Chris Harris, president and CEO of One You Security. “Those lines of attack that expose law abiders’ financial identities to the unscrupulous activities of criminals are in fact too many for consumers to track on their own. They need the assistance of an organization dedicated to protecting their financial identities and to feeding their knowledge of identity theft protection and prevention.”

Consumers who choose One You Security do so in part because the company does everything it can to help transform their Social Security numbers into something useless to thieves. They also subscribe so that they may receive identity theft education material such as newsletters and special alerts from Siciliano, designed to inform them of the latest data breaches and to help them avoid financial identity scams of all kinds, including mortgage fraud. The firm backs its offerings with a 100 percent service guarantee.

The YouTube video below shows Siciliano on FOX News Network, where he explains how thieves were able to crack the computers of Hannaford Bros., a grocery chain that operates 165 stores in the Northeast, to obtain the credit card and debit card numbers of millions of customers. A collection of videos at VideoJug features Siciliano sharing advice on how consumers can protect themselves from identity theft and fraud.

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About One You Security, LLC

Sarasota, Fla.-based One You Security‘s mission is to eliminate the threat and consequences of identity theft. For just $10 per month, anyone can sign up for One You Security’s identity theft protection service, a proactive, preventative approach whereby the company activates and manages its customers’ fraud alerts with major credit bureaus. Subscribers also receive full access to ongoing education from identity theft protection expert Robert Siciliano, chief security analyst for One You Security, which backs up its promise to protect clients’ financial identities with a 100 percent service guarantee. To sign up for One You Security, dial 1-800-434-2010.

About IDTheftSecurity.com

Identity theft affects us all, and Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, chief security analyst for One You Security, 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. Author of “The Safety Minute: 01” and 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 protection. 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:

Chris Harris
President & CEO of One You Security
PHONE: 941-342-0500 (x231)
chris@oneyou.com
http://www.oneyou.com

Robert Siciliano
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com
Chief Security Analyst for One You Security
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)
Robert@IDTheftSecurity.com
http://www.idtheftsecurity.com

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557
BrentSkinner@STETrevisions.com
http://www.STETrevisions.com
http://brentskinner.blogspot.com

Identity Theft Protection Expert and MyLaptopGPS: Computer Thefts Affect College Students and Highlight Need for Better Laptop Security

(BOSTON, Mass. – May 15, 2008 – IDTheftSecurity.com) Last month, reports of one laptop computer stolen from an IT company that caters to colleges across New York State left thousands of students at possible risk of identity theft and other crimes. But simple technology from MyLaptopGPS that resides on mobile computers could have greatly minimized the potential fallout, said Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft protection expert who urged educational institutions to equip their fleets of mobile computing devices with MyLaptopGPS’ antitheft security.

“Laptop computers are prime targets for thieves,” said Siciliano. “And with that comes the danger that identity thieves will then use the robust identifying information that universities and colleges tend to leave stored on the machines. Smart educational institutions protect their mobile computing equipment with theft prevention 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 business and individuals. A longtime identity theft protection speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX Newschannel, and elsewhere.

Late in April, multiple sources reported that a laptop computer had been stolen from New York State–based software company SunGard Higher Education, an outsourced IT provider to numerous educational institutions. The purloined machine left many thousands of current and former students at Meridian Community College, Buffalo State, Brockport, and Monroe Community College at risk of identity theft; according to reports, all these colleges had contracted for IT services with the firm, whose machine housed identifying information on their students.

“Why would I send my college student to school and then not protect her critical coursework, and even her identity, on her laptop at campus?” asked Fred Weamer, a father who installed MyLaptopGPS on his daughter’s laptop computer before she left for college. “MyLaptopGPS is a rock solid service and keeps my mind at ease while my daughter earns her degree.”

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.

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.

Readers may download a demo of MyLaptopGPS. A white paper is also available.

At its website, MyLaptopGPS keeps a running tally, the Realtime Estimated Damage Index (REDI), of publicized laptop and desktop computer theft and losses. The REDI also assesses those losses’ associated costs by drawing on estimates from the FBI and elsewhere reflecting the likelihood that identity theft and other crimes will occur whenever a laptop is misplaced or stolen. On May 15, that tally was 411 units and the cost associated with it $355,642,050, an amount representing a 70 percent increase in cost since the REDI’s launch just three months ago.

“Since February, thefts have been tracking to at least double in frequency over year 2007,” said Dan Yost, chief technology officer at MyLaptopGPS. “But, with the latest results of the REDI now in, the year-over-year increase in the financial consequences of computer theft may in fact be a tripling or more.”

The YouTube video below shows Siciliano on “FOX Newschannel,” where he discusses the recent data security breach at Hannaford Bros. and provides affected consumers with the tips they need 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.

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About MyLaptopGPS™

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.

About IDTheftSecurity.com

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.

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)
jd@MyLaptopGPS.com
www.MyLaptopGPS.com

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)
Robert@IDTheftSecurity.com
www.idtheftsecurity.com

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557
BrentSkinner@STETrevisions.biz
www.STETrevisions.biz