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Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible
by Gary Woods

This article isn't about the movie or TV series but what used to happen at the beginning of every episode. The agent would get their marching orders and then the tape would self destruct. Well usually this isn't what you want to have happened with your data, but what if your laptop stolen. I bet you'd love to have all that data go up in smoke so whoever was looking at your stuff now couldn't keep doing it.

There is encryption of course, but a lot or researchers are raising questions about how good encryption really is. There's a service called BackStopp ( by Virtuity that tracks laptops via the Internet, or locally via Wi-Fi or cellular service. If a device's owner reports that device stolen or if the laptop has moved from a designated space the service will respond by erasing the sensitive information.

But what about if a laptop's Wi-Fi or cellular connections have been switched I hear you say. Well in that case BackStopp uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to trigger the removal of sensitive data. Falling in the "that's amazing" category is a feature that can even use a webcam to photograph thieves.

BackStopp doesn't reveal to a thief that the anything is changing with the device until after all the sensitive information has been removed which makes the protection it provides even harder to avoid.

You can request a Free Trial online from Virtuity so if you've got something on your laptop you don't want to get in anybody else's hands why not give it a try?

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc