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US laptop thief Prosecuted - UK companies warned to be vigilant

A security company has warned companies of the need to be vigilant and encrypt their laptops, following the arrest and prosecution of a 33-year-old career criminal wanted in connection with more than two dozen multi-laptop thefts in five states across the US.

"Eric Almly - aka the Khaki laptop bandit - is known to have stolen an astonishing 66 laptops in the first three months of this year, until he was apprehended by investigators," said David Hobson, MD for GSS, who added that Almly is thought to have disposed of hundreds of laptops on eBay, the Web auction site.

"He was caught after wandering into the Florida headquarters of a restaurant chain and stealing 11 laptops in his shoulder bag and, even then, the security guard was outwitted by his smooth talking," he added.

According to Hobson, the prosecution of Almly - and the 12 year trail of laptop misery left in his wake across the US - clearly highlights the need to encrypt company data on notebook PCs.

"The many companies this talented criminal stole laptops from were lucky that he apparently wiped the hard disks before selling the machines on eBay. I suspect that, had he been minded to, he could have made even more money from examining and selling the data on the notebook PCs before selling them on," he said.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.