Before your laptop computer is stolen, who ya gonna call?

Robert Urich probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind, but the actor is an owner of a Tennessee-based company called Computer Sentry. Urich, who told Daily Variety that he’s feeling well following chemotherapy treatment for cancer, has partnered with a friend, physician Dyrk Halstead, to form Computer Sentry Software.

Owner notified

CSS’ first product is CyberAngel, a system that notifies a computer owner when an unauthorized user is trying to access his system.

Laptop computer heists are on the rise. According to published reports, the problem is especially serious among corporate spies digging dirt on competitors. One insurance company estimated that more than 200,000 laptops were stolen last year.

One commonly-used scam occurs at airports: A lap-jacker, loaded down with pockets full of metal objects, will detain a line of passengers going through a metal detector. Meanwhile, his accomplice will zip through the line and pick up an unwary business traveler’s laptop at the end of the conveyer belt.

Urich became aware of the problem when his son’s laptop was lifted from his college campus. The computer contained class notes and a term paper that was due.

Modem connection

CyberAngel, a software package that’s distributed free but activated for a fee of $39.95 a year, uses a modem to dial up a computer owner when a thief attempts to use stolen hardware. “It will lock out the modem so no information can be downloaded from your computer, and none can come in,” Urich explained.

The product also prevents unauthorized users from logging onto any computer system, not just one that’s been pilfered.

Urich says his company has contracts with Nation’s Bank, Mitsubishi Bank, and with modem manufacturer Atex. A campaign aimed at consumers is slated to launch soon, with Urich as pitchman.

The CyberAngel software can be downloaded from the Internet at http:/www.sentryinc.com/index.html.

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