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Risk

5/17/2006
05:56 PM
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PC Theft's Darwin Awards

All you fans of the Darwin Awards will like this. Just as the Darwins "salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who remove themselves from it in really stupid ways," a company called Absolute Software recently shared some of the more interesting cases of computer theft and recovery it has encountered over the past year.

All you fans of the Darwin Awards will like this. Just as the Darwins "salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who remove themselves from it in really stupid ways," a company called Absolute Software recently shared some of the more interesting cases of computer theft and recovery it has encountered over the past year.Here are my three favorites:

1) In Texas, Absolute Software's Computrace software, which resides on the hard drive of the host computer and can alert law enforcement as to the computer's location if it's stolen--like a LoJack for PCs--led police to an auto repair shop, where they found not only the laptop that had been reported stolen, but a stolen luxury SUV worth more than $50,000.

2) In October, a laptop reported stolen from a college in Illinois began calling in to the Absolute Monitoring Center, first from an Army barrack stateside and later from a post in Iraq. The user of the laptop had joined the National Guard and, once contacted in Iraq, said he had bought the laptop from someone at the college. The soldier promptly shipped the laptop back to the States, where it was returned to its rightful owner.

3) Two laptops reported stolen from a university in Florida began calling from the same location. Detectives discovered the suspect was a student at the university and was using the laptops to send out graduation invitations to his family and friends. When a detective knocked on the door and asked the student if he knew why he was there, the student confessed to the theft, even though it meant he wouldn't be allowed to graduate.

Absolute's technology covers all the heavy hitters in the PC market: Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, and, most recently, Fujitsu. The company, which has about 590,000 subscribers, offers technology that alerts law enforcement agencies once the absconded PC is located, and if it can't be retrieved, Absolute can wipe out the data on the PC's hard drive. The company's technology hasn't so far been successful in locating profits. For its third quarter, ended March 31, Absolute's losses doubled from the same quarter in 2005 from $500,000 to $1 million.

 

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