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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.

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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.

Laptop Encryption Software Not Used In Pacific University Computer - Could Lead To Data Breach

Pacific University in Oregon is alerting students, faculty, and staff that a laptop computer was stolen from the home of a staff member.  It looks like laptop encryption software like AlertBoot was not used, although password-protection was in place.  Of course, once you know how little protection password-protection affords a person, you may be rest a little less easy.

On the other hand, it looks like the potential for damage may be limited.  Although the university's announcement stated that the laptop "contained names and some personal information," it also pointed out that SSNs were not stored, as far as they can tell.

I've noted before that personal information plus some particulars are enough to run an effective scam, phishing or otherwise.  However, the lack of SSNs means that damage can be controlled, if the affected are on the lookout.  Whereas if Social Security numbers were also on the missing laptop...well, there's a lot of damage that can be done with SSNs alone.

Full Disk Encryption on Laptops

A key thing to note is that it's believed that SSNs are not involved in the theft.  It's a fair assumption to make if the staff member never dealt with SSNs at all.  However, belief and knowing are two different beasts.  After all, sensitive information gets passed around all the time, and all it takes is one person to make a mistake.

For example, I remember receiving an Excel spreadsheet from a client once.  He had wanted to send me some information, which I did receive...plus more.  He never checked to see what was on the second sheet of that file, and it was stuff I was never meant to see (Excel has three sheets on each file, by default).  Things like this happen frequently.

When you consider scenarios like the above, it's just natural that the university and the staff member can't be exactly sure of what may have been on the laptop.

A true data security solution like full disk encryption would have been tremendously helpful in this case since it would have protected the entire contents found on the whole disk.


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.pacificu.edu/alerts/identity.cfm
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/missing_laptop_could_mean_secu.html
http://www.kptv.com/education/19035439/detail.htm

 
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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.