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Text message alerts planned to stop notebook theft

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Laptop owners will soon be able to get text message alerts to warn them that their computer is being stolen.

The 'APC Lapdog' product is an attachment that fits into a notebook's serial port. It is the brainchild of British outfit Secure PC, and will either send a text message to a designated mobile, set off an alarm, or - in an office - tip off the network administrator, if laptops are moved without permission.

Sensors can also be placed around buildings to track the travels of laptops and desktops and prevent them being nicked.

It also has a feature that can delete files if the laptop goes walkabout, while there is a key fob that lets the owner track their laptop at a distance of up to 200 metres if outside. This works by the keyfob beeping louder the nearer it gets to the laptop.

Secure PC, which is based in Twickenham, says it has 4000 of the devices on order from the UK, and 17,000 from the US. The APC Lapdog will be available from the end of this week and costs £99. ®

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