CyberAngel Swoops in for Extra Security
5/20/98 4:00 AM  
By Simon Watkins, PA News

   A computer security system which can telephone its owner for help if it
is stolen is launched in the UK today.
   CyberAngel is the brainchild of Dr Dyrk Halstead and actor Robert Urich,
better known as the star of Spenser for Hire than for his computer
   Computer crime is a growing problem with computer fraud costing around 
5 billion a year and hundreds of computers being stolen in the UK every
   CyberAngel is a software package which adds an extra layer of security
to a PC stopping unwanted guests from logging into your files.
   Any unauthorised use of the computer will prompt CyberAngel to telephone
CyberAngel headquarters and warn that security has been breached

Calling for help is not file access prevention.

   And even if a thief carries off the computer, the maker claims they can
still be caught.
   As soon as they plug the computer into a telephone line, CyberAngel will
again call CyberAngel headquarters and hand over the thief's telephone

Formatting the drive, re-installing the OS, or using the machine
in a non-networked environment will defeat this product.

   This can then be used to provide the address and even a map leading to
the thief's home all within a matter of minutes.
   The first the thief knows that he has been traced is when the police
come knocking.

Unless they hear the phone dialing, use a public telephone, or
use a step listed above.

   CyberAngel is distributed by Computer Sentry Security founded by Dr
Halstead, who came up with the idea for CyberAngel with Mr Urich after Mr
Urich's son had his laptop stolen.
   They hired a team of programmers to come up with a solution to beat
computer theft and hackers.

This directly implies hackers use theft of laptops as a means of
plying their trade. I think this is a bit unfounded, or stereotypes all hackers
based on the deeds of a handful.

   The CyberAngel system has already been adopted in the US by Federal
Express, Lucas Aerospace and the California Institute of Technology.

Comments From: Nicholas Charles Brawn 

[I believe there was a thread about a similar product (or indeed the same
 one) as to how effective such a product of this nature would be. The
 possible problems I can see in it performing its task include:

 1. What if the hard disk is removed from the actual computer and examined
    in a non-networked environment?
 2. What if the thief uses an os different to the one used by the product
    to access data on the stolen computer?
 3. What if they simply unplug the phone?

 To me, this appears a clear example of security through obscurity, which 
 we should all recognise as a very evil thing. 

 - Nick]