Stolen laptop sparks anti-theft technology

A medical school student victimized by the theft of his laptop is about to launch a company selling anti-theft computer technology.

After the theft last September, Ravi Hariprasad, a student at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, entered his university's annual business plan competition. He typed up a proposal to develop CyberTrak Systems Inc., a company focused on combating laptop theft. At the end of this month, the company goes on the market.

"There's car security. There's home security. But really nothing has been done with computer security," said Hariprasad, 24, chief executive officer of the company, which was re-named Lucira Technologies Inc. on Aug. 14. "There has never been an elegant, easy-to-use solution."

That's changing with Lucira's SecurePC software, which can be downloaded from the company's Web site in about a second. If the laptop is stolen, a theft victim can report the laptop to Lucira, activating the company's system to track the computer.

Once connected to the Internet, a file embedded in the hard drive of the stolen computer will be able to provide information the company's Internet Cyber Recovery Center on the computer's Internet Protocol address and Internet service provider address. It also possesses an instant call-back feature that will notify Lucira of the phone number where the computer is being used. In turn, that will provide information on the phone number where the log-on occurred. The information can be gathered within about 15 minutes, and police are notified via fax of the computer's location.

"It's stealthy," said Ravi Ghanta, 25, the company's chief technical officer. "It's hard to find. It's easy to use. It installs in a snap and it works."

CyberTrak SecurePC is also virtually resistant to being dumped from a computer when someone clears a hard drive, Hariprasad said.

Hariprasad said CyberTrak SecurePC will be marketed heavily toward students. Pricing is still under discussion and will not be released until just before the Aug. 31 launch date, Hariprasad said.

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