in

This Blog

Syndication

Tags

News

AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Archives

AlertBoot Endpoint Security

AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Data Encryption Software: Man Snatches Laptop From Starbucks Customer

AlertBoot drive encryption software was made for instances like these: a man snatches a laptop computer from a Starbucks while witnesses were looking.  It must be something in the coffee at the franchise whose name was inspired by Moby Dick because this is the second documented case I've found where a laptop computer was snatched by a thief at a Starbucks while people were looking on.

  • Laptop stolen while vic visits the W.C.
  • Cable locks should have been used
  • Sidebar: Don't tie your laptop cable locks to table columns
  • Encryption: What if...?

Victim Goes to the Restroom...

The thief, a Keith Moylan, snatched the laptop when the owner of the computer went to the restroom.  Unfortunately for the thief, the victim had come to the coffeeshop with his roommate, who promptly raised the alarm when Moylan headed to the exit with the portable computer.

Several Starbucks customers gave chase to Moylan, who made his escape on foot.  He was later tracked and arrested by police who responded to the incident.  Moylan dumped the laptop near Starbucks which was recovered, broken.

This is not the first incident where a particularly brazen thief steals a laptop while someone's looking.  Around this time last year, a woman had her computer snatched right from under her as she was using it.  The perp was eventually arrested as well, but not before he had sold the device.

Encryption Software Advised.  Cable Locks Even More Advisable

In this particular case I'd say that a good table or a computer cable lock may have been the best solution.  Sure, laptop encryption is always a valid suggestion (more on this below), but it's specifically designed for data security.  If you're looking to prevent your laptop from being stolen, you're looking for something in the area of asset or physical security.

At a coffeeshop, this usually means a cable lock that ties your portable computing device to a fixed or nominally-heavy object, like a chair.

Sidebar: Try not to secure your computers to the column of pedestal coffee tables like the circular, slightly-squat types that are ubiquitous at Starbucks.  I've found from experience that the length of most cable locks allows one to "unhook" the cable from such tables by lowering the laptop to ground level, enlarging the loop that is formed by fishing the head of the cable lock through the end-loop, and then lifting the table.  If you're working at quiet coffee shop (read: sparse in customers/witnesses), you may face a surprise when returning from your restroom trip.

Ever since I've found this out, I fix my cable to the chair.  I figure a barista will stop a guy attempting to steal the chair, even if the laptop is out of plain sight.

I also mentioned a "good table" as a solution.  I'm speculating, obviously, but it seems to me that Moylan believed the laptop's owner to be alone since he struck when the vic went to the restroom.  Possibly, the laptop's owner and his roommate were seated side-by-side but at separate tables, and Moylan didn't know that someone would raise the alarm should he casually pick up the laptop.

A table that accommodates two or more computers (they exist at SBUX), or even bringing two single tables together, could have acted as a deterrent, since it would signal to potential thieves that the laptop was not left unattended.

Why Encryption?

Encryption would also have been advisable.  Ultimately, in this particular case, it wouldn't have mattered whether the laptop was encrypted or not.  However, we cannot forego the alternate possibility of the thief making a clean break without dumping the laptop.

It's superfluous to point it out, but disk data encryption is only useful if it's installed before a computer is stolen.  And, when you consider how much information we leave behind in our computers on a day-to-day basis (automatic login into Facebook and other websites, personal information stored in e-mails and other files, etc.), it only makes sense to protect one's computer, even if it's not a work-related computer (and makes even more sense to use encryption if it is one).


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2011/02/bayonne_man_snatches_laptop_fr_1.html

 
<Previous Next>

Data Security: Old Amazon.com's Passwords Valid Up To 8th Character

Drive Encryption Software: Cause Criminals Break Through Weatherboards

Comments

No Comments

About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.