The headline "Laptop - Along with Hundreds of Thousands of Identities - Stolen" seems to be repeating itself -- over and over again -- these days. Whether it's an executive trusting the hotel cleaning staff or a name-brand auditor storing his laptop unsecured in his car (who, by the way, would ding his clients on an annual review for such carelessness) -- laptops and other physically insecure computers are getting lost and stolen by the truckload.
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It's no longer just an inconvenience to lose a laptop. Being careless in today's overly governed society now leads to business contracts being dishonored, laws being broken, and industry regulations being violated. Above all, it's putting a lot of sensitive information at risk -- both trade secrets and, more importantly, personal livelihoods. According to the Chronology of Data Breaches Reported Since the ChoicePoint Incident, as of this writing a total of 31,796,785 identities have been compromised due to lost or stolen computers! There are dozens of these incidents listed on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse site, and in many cases, it is unknown how many identities were put at risk.
For crying out loud -- why aren't people speaking out about this problem? More importantly, why aren't organizations doing anything about this problem? You want to do the right thing and keep your laptops secure? Read on.
Step 1: How it can happen
Step 2: How to crack a laptop
Step 3: How to secure a laptop
Step 4: Laptop security summation
About the author: Kevin Beaver, CISSP, is an independent information security consultant, author and speaker with Atlanta-based Principle Logic LLC. He has more than 18 years of experience in IT and specializes in performing information security assessments. Beaver has written five books including Hacking For Dummies (Wiley), Hacking Wireless Networks For Dummies, (Wiley) and The Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (Auerbach). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.