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   CyberCrime: Exploring the Dark Side of Technology
   Premieres every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Lifting Laptops

Laptop theft is on the rise at airports and hotels. Find out where the hot spots are, who's stealing them, and what they're after, Tuesday 4/9 at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Also airs 4/10 at 12 a.m., 4/11 at 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 9 p.m., 4/12 at 12:30 a.m., 4/13 at 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 4/14 at 1 a.m., 11 a.m., 7 p.m., and 4/15 at 12 a.m.

By James Hamilton, Web producer
April 9, 2002

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Technology of Speed WeekWith literally thousands of laptops being stolen every day, more laptops are getting ripped off than ever before. One group targeted by thieves, not surprisingly, is business travelers at airports and hotels. On "CyberCrime" this week we investigate this growing problem and find out what you can do about it. Below you'll find links to products, services, and tips you can use to keep tabs on your laptop when you're away from home.

Laptop anti-theft software

There is a variety of anti-theft software packages on the market. Most of these programs automatically send the computer's IP address and other information to an online service every time the computer logs on to the Internet. When a computer is stolen, the service tracks down the physical location of the computer using this information. The anti-theft service usually works in conjunction with law enforcement to retrieve your laptop. Here are the most popular products currently available:

  • zTrace
    An invisible software security application that traces the location of missing laptops for recovery. If the laptop is reported missing, the zTrace recovery team identifies the computer's exact physical location.

  • Lucira
    Uses two methods to pinpoint a laptop's location, then automatically transmits that information to the police. It also encrypts, sends, and destroys sensitive data on command.

  • The CyberAngel
    This program will automatically transmit the calling location ID -- whether it be a telephone or a network connection -- when the password entry system is violated. Using public databases, the service identifies the street address where the stolen laptop is being used.

Tips on how to protect your laptop

Travel safety consultant Kevin Coffey, who appeared on this week's episode, has an informative site on travel safety and security. Click on the links below -- from Coffey and other Internet sources -- to get tips on how to protect your computer.

Laptop loss statistics

Stolen computer databases

Many manufactures, consumer groups, and individuals around the world have set up stolen laptop databases. If your computer is stolen, register it with one or more of these groups. If your laptop is recovered by law enforcement, they can easily track you down if you're registered with one of these databases:

  • Stolen Computer Registry
    Formed by an industry consortium in 1992 to foil hardware theft and foster confidence in the purchase of used computers. The Registry does not charge for its services.

  • theRegistry
    An independently run database of computer systems, household and business items, and other assorted property that increases the odds of getting back an item that was lost or stolen.

    An international clearing house for information regarding lost and stolen items, missing persons, and acts of crime.

"CyberCrime" premieres every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Full Schedule >

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