Absolute Advises Customers to be Prepared for Computer Thefts Amid Economic Volatility
Laptop management and theft recovery specialist provides consumers and organizations with protection against increased computer crime
Vancouver, Canada.– Absolute® Software Corporation (“Absolute” or the “Company”) (TSX: ABT), the leading provider of firmware-based, patented, computer theft recovery, data protection and IT asset management solutions announced today that it is has had an increase in the number of computer thefts reported to its Theft Recovery Team, part of which is likely due to the economic downturn. Absolute also highlighted a series of successful computer theft investigations including: recovering a British tourist’s laptop stolen while vacationing in the Netherlands; leading LAPD detectives to the recovery of 24 stolen school laptops; and identifying a security system installer alleged to have helped himself to high school laptops.
“We are seeing a rapid increase in the number of computer thefts reported to our Theft Recovery Team,” said John Livingston, Chairman and CEO of Absolute. “While some of this is due to our rapid subscriber base growth, we also believe this may be a sign of the economic times as crime rates tend to rise with economic downturns. Computer loss and theft is a major contributor to identity theft and data privacy breaches, which we believe is a top security risk at the best of times.”
Available on a subscription basis and delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) via the Internet, Absolute’s suite of Computrace® solutions are designed specifically to manage and protect mobile computing devices.
For larger organizations, Computrace inventories computers that have left the corporate network, remotely deletes sensitive information, recovers computers and offers post-theft forensic analysis. For home office users, small businesses and students, Computrace LoJack® for LaptopsTM offers theft recovery and identity protection through remote data delete capabilities backed by a Service Guarantee of up to $1,000.1
Absolute has also developed a powerful set of theft recovery tools, which include capabilities such as keystroke loggers, cameras, location tracking (Wi-Fi, GPS), remote access terminals, etc., that enable the Absolute Theft Recovery Team to augment their investigation. These tools are only employed post-theft with customer authorization and are used exclusively by Absolute’s trained professionals in order to protect privacy.
According to Lyle Singular, Absolute’s Vice President of Recovery Services and a 25-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police specializing in computer crime, “Having managed thousands of computer theft investigations, we have learned that there are some simple steps computer users can take to protect themselves from the increased prevalence of laptop theft. Never leave a laptop unattended, don’t carry laptops in tell-tale bags and don’t just lock it in your vehicle’s trunk - make sure you lock it in the trunk before you arrive at your destination, not when you arrive. Thieves monitor parking lots for this type of activity. It is also important to help police recover your computer and apprehend thieves by subscribing to cost-effective anti-theft solutions like Computrace and Computrace LoJack for Laptops.”
Below are several recent investigations into stolen computers conducted by the Absolute Theft Recovery Team in conjunction with local police forces around the world:
Laptop Stolen From Vacationer in the Netherlands Recovered
While vacationing at a resort in the Netherlands, a British tourist was the victim of a burglary. Having left a vacation rental suite secured with windows and doors locked, the vacationer returned to find that thieves had broken in and made off with her laptop and mobile telephone. A recent Computrace subscriber, she informed Rotterdam police and then reported the theft to Absolute.
Using information transmitted from the stolen computer, the Absolute Theft Recovery officer assigned to the case was able to trace the computer to a residence in Rotterdam where officers from Politie Brabant Zuid-Oost found the stolen computer. Also recovered during the investigation were a number of items stolen during break-ins at five other chalets in the same holiday park. Local police have charged the alleged thieves and the computer has been returned to its owner.
Investigation Into Stolen School Computers Yields 24 Computers, One Entomology Kit
On returning to work October 3, 2008 staff at a Los Angeles middle school were shocked to find that 32 laptop computers had gone missing. IT staff at the school immediately informed the Los Angeles Police Department, North East Division. Fortunately, the school had equipped the computers with Computrace, Absolute’s commercial-grade laptop management and security system. After reporting the theft to police, staff contacted the Absolute Theft Recovery Team.
The joint Absolute/LAPD investigation immediately led to the residence of a young woman who was found in possession of one of the stolen computers. She confessed that her boyfriend had given it to her. On confronting the boyfriend during an October 13 sting operation, LAPD recovered an additional 12 laptops; upon making bail, he revealed another 11 stolen computers. Investigating detectives also recovered a school projector, a microscope and other items including an entomology kit. Three suspects were arrested in total and the investigation continues.
Security System Installer Helps Himself to High School Computers
While auditing its laptop computer inventory during the summer school holiday, IT staff at a Louisiana high school noticed that a number of computers had gone missing. Out of service for months, it was difficult to determine when the computers had disappeared. Suspecting that a theft had occurred, staff informed the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Absolute Theft Recovery Team.
Information delivered via Computrace to the Absolute Theft Recovery Team led a trio of investigators to the home of a contractor who had been hired by the school to install a new security system. Prepared with a search warrant, the investigators searched the home but came up empty handed. Further information gathered with Computrace led the investigation to the home of the alleged thief’s mother, where the first of four laptops was recovered.
The former security system installer has been charged with Theft and Possession of stolen property.
How Computrace Solutions Work
The Computrace Software Agent that powers Absolute Software’s solutions is embedded in the firmware of computers from the world’s leading computer manufacturers.2 It can be activated by customers when they purchase a subscription with terms ranging from one to four years.
When a computer equipped with Computrace is reported stolen, Computrace sends a signal over the Internet to Absolute’s Monitoring Center, providing critical location information. Absolute then works with local law enforcement to help recover the computer. The stealthy Computrace Agent is capable of surviving operating system re-installations, as well as hard-drive reformats, replacements and re-imaging.
Backed by the Absolute Theft Recovery Team
All Absolute theft recovery solutions are backed by the efforts of the Absolute Theft Recovery Team. Staffed by former senior law enforcement officers with over 650 years of combined policing experience, the team uses information sent via Computrace to investigate computer thefts, document evidence and work with local law enforcement to physically recover missing computers and prosecute computer thieves.
Please note that indictments and criminal complaints are merely unproven accusations and the accused in all cases are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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