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Verisign laptop theft serves as warning.

SafeBoot : 06 August, 2007  (Technical Article)
SafeBoot offers advice on securing critical data on mobile devices in light of the most recent laptop theft during the recent spate.
Tom De Jongh, product manager at data security and encryption specialist SafeBoot, offers thoughts on the recent data security breach from VeriSign. Tom feels there have been too many security breaches and companies really need to start sitting up and taking note:

'The VeriSign laptop theft is another in the long line of serious data security breaches and one has to ask why we are not learning? There are no end of security warnings in the media with laptop thefts from Marks and Spencer, Nationwide, the Metropolitan Police, Serco and now VeriSign, and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies such as VeriSign, a security vendor, should be setting the standard not creating good examples of not what to do! Not only has this created massive security implications for individuals, but is a huge embarrassment to the company.

'The theft of a laptop from a VeriSign employee has left vulnerable information in the public domain; names, social security numbers, home addresses. It can be tricky to prevent the theft of a laptop, but all that would be required to prevent the data being on display is a little bit of common sense.

'In a recent survey, SafeBoot found that nearly 25 per cent of workers had lost their laptops or had it stolen. This means 29 million workers in the UK are walking security hazards. It's no wonder the cost of ID theft to the British economy over the last three years has been estimated at £1.62 billion.

'Are the alarm bells ringing yet? VeriSign clearly dropped the ball and underestimated how simple it is to secure critical data. They should be practicing what they preach. The key is having a bit of common sense. Implementing an organisation-wide security policy which ensures that all devices (laptops, PDAs and USB sticks) are encrypted, and educating workers that all information stored on their hardware is encrypted, is of paramount importance to any company.'

Here are a few tips from SafeBoot to help businesses protect their laptops:.

1 Tablet PCs, laptops and desktop PCs should always use Full Hard Disk Encryption to protect all data stored on them - failure to do so is like leaving the keys in your car ignition.

2 PDAs are easy to lose and steal, so better be safe than sorry. Make sure you use PDA Encryption to protect sensitive data stored on your PDAs and its removable media cards.

3 Corporate networks are alive with 'illegal' devices, such as iPods, personal PDAs and USB sticks. Ensure that Device Control software is deployed to control these devices and their accessibility.

4 USB sticks are great for storage, but are a security nightmare - they can be used for corporate espionage (extreme case) or easily lost. Use hardware encrypted USB data storage devices to protect sensitive data and keep your company safe.

5 Finally, file servers are at the heart of any business. Protect and control the data stored on your file servers by using group and user based persistent File & Folder Encryption protocols.
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