Laptops theft prompts tracking moves

The number of notebook computers lost or stolen has trebled since 1997 costing Australian business more than $200 million.

With almost 30 notebooks reported missing daily in NSW, Police Minister Paul Whelan has dubbed it "one of the fastest growing crimes in the state".

Moreover, the recovery rate for laptops is less than four per cent.

One software company pitching its solution to stem the tide of stolen laptops is Business Security Systems (BSS) which has held meetings with both the NSW and Victorian Police.

The company's StopWeb product can detect the location of a missing computer as soon as it is connected to the Internet or a telephone line.

When installed a serial number is registered in a central database and as soon as it is connected to the Internet or telephone network it records connection details.

A spokesman said the company then works closely with police to recover the missing laptop.

Telstra is using the security tracking software after losing nearly $3 million worth of laptops in the past 18 months.

As reported in Computerworld (November 20, 2000 P1), Telstra lost more than 550 laptops single-handedly accounting for one-third of the cost of laptop loss and theft across government agencies .

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