Lost your laptop? The CyberAngel brings it back
Featured Author - Laura Taylor
If you're like a lot of people, your laptop is one of the most important
of your personal or work possessions. If it got stolen or lost, you'd
want it back. A company known as Computer Sentry Software, Inc. has designed
an innovative option for laptop recovery. With laptop theft on the rise,
investing in an affordable laptop recovery package is well worth the investment.
According to Safeware
Insurance, a company that insures against theft, laptop theft rose
21% from 1999 to 2000.
Sentry Software, Inc. based in Nashville, Tennessee, was founded in
1996 by actor Robert Urich and Dyrk Halstead after Robert Urich's son's
laptop was stolen. Today, the company is providing it's services and software
all across the nation, having distributed over 50,000 licenses of its
CyberAngel Security Software.
The CyberAngel works through installation of client software on your
laptop and registration with a security monitoring server. Using a password
entry system, The CyberAngel communicates to the security monitoring
server whenever the password entry is violated, reporting the phone number
or IP address that the computer called from. The engineering assumption
for The CyberAngel is that at some point, the stolen laptop will be connected
to a modem or a network connection (LAN, WAN, Cable Modem, DSL Circuit)
on the Internet. Once the password entry system is violated, the Com Ports
are blocked from the "unauthorized user," preventing them any access to
online accounts or remote corporate servers. Additionally, when a violation
has occurred, The CyberAngel can encrypt selected directories to protect
confidential information and data residing on the hard drive.
is often the case that Computer Sentry's customers do not want their employees
to know that this product has been installed on their laptops, and they
work with IT decision makers who purchase their product to install the
software in a covert manner, such that the employees do not know that
security software has been installed on their system. A large percentage
of Computer Sentry's customers are concerned with internal theft, often
more than external theft.
CyberAngel runs in stealth mode, and is not visible in the process table.
The filenames are hidden, and only someone who understands where and how
to locate the hidden files will be able to find them. When The CyberAngel
password entry system is violated, the security features activate. The
unauthorized user is blocked from any dial-up modem capability, user selected
files are encrypted, and the software initiates communication to the security
monitoring server. The security monitoring server then generates an unauthorized
usage notification to the registered user / client.
Security Monitor Server
When the computer calls the security monitoring server to report an unauthorized
access, it is able to identify the phone number and / or IP address that
the computer calls from. Using a technology similar to 911 centers, The
CyberAngel is still able to determine the dial-out phone number, even
is the user has Caller-ID blocking. Since all phone numbers can be mapped
to a physical location, locating the laptop is usually very straightforward
after the phone number has been identified. When the user reports that
computer as stolen, reports are generated that identify the registered
name, physical address, and even a map that correlates to the phone number
and / or IP address that the computer called from. Computer Sentry works
with local police forces, supplying all the paper work and information
they need to do a search and recovery. Computer Sentry Software, Inc.
has been 100% successful in helping its customers obtain the needed search
warrant and subpoenas.
a recent CyberAngel recovery, North Little Rock, Arkansas police detective
Jim Scott said, "This made the recovery of the property amazingly easy.
If they hadn't had it [The CyberAngel] then we wouldn't have found it,"
said Tara Shepperson, Executive Director of the CyberCrime Task Force
of the Nevada Attorneys General Office. Shepperson went on to say, "We
get a lot of complaints about stolen computers, but often they don't involve
the loss of enough money to investigate because (law enforcement agencies)
are overworked. Software like The CyberAngel is the wave of the future
in fighting these crimes."
For organizations that deploy laptop recovery software enterprise-wide,
it is possible to obtain a savings on your systems loss insurance policy.
If you have an anti-theft device installed on your laptop such as The
CyberAngel, Safeware Insurance, will give you a 20% discount on its computer
loss insurance policy.
biggest drawback for the CyberAngel is that the laptop has to be connected
to a phone line or network connection in order to be tracked and recovered.
Another drawback is that if the disk has been reformatted before the laptop
connects to the Internet, the recovery software will be wiped out - however,
statistics from the FBI and Computer Security Institute show that 95%
of recovered stolen laptops are not reformatted, and the data and information
is intact. Right now The CyberAngel can only protect systems that run
on Microsoft Window's 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP platforms within
Laura Taylor is Relevant Technologies' President, Chief Technology
Officer and Founder. Her research has been sought out by the FDIC, the
FBI, the Whitehouse, and numerous publicly held Fortune 500 companies.
Taylor has been featured in a number of media forums including ABC
Business Now, CNET Radio, Boston Business
Journal, Computer World, and The Montreal
Gazette. Her research has been linked to, and published on a variety
of web portal publications and magazines including Business Security
Advisor, SecurityWatch, eSecurityOnline, SecurityFocus,
NetworkStorageForum, ZDNet, Datamation, MidRangeComputing,
Securify, and others.
is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.