Absolute Locates Stolen PCs for General Services Administration, Breaks up Theft Ring

The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government, which helps to manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies by providing products and communications for U.S. government offices, transportation, and office space for federal employees, and assists with cost-minimizing policies and other management tasks.

With sensitive federal data on devices, and the need for employees to be mobile to visit the various federal agencies, protecting the data on these devices was critical.

Challenges

When two laptop computers were stolen from the General Services Administration (GSA) office in Atlanta, just a few months after the agency had decided to load Absolute on all of its portable computers, the purchasing arm for the federal government was naturally concerned.

Solution

About two weeks after the laptops were reported stolen, the Absolute Monitoring Center captured location information when the thief used one of the laptops to access the internet. The Absolute Investigations team then contacted the Federal Protective Service (FPS), which secured a search warrant for the address corresponding to the phone line used by the thief to dial out.

Within 48 hours, FPS officers arrested a man in College Park, Georgia, where they found one of the stolen devices. The man, in turn, led authorities to an accomplice who had eight other stolen devices in his possession, including the other stolen GSA laptop. As it turned out, the two men ran a ring of device thieves. As was the case at the GSA’s Atlanta office, the men secured temporary contract work, then walked out the door with laptops.

“I’m pleased with the services offered by Absolute, and it’s important that we raise awareness about Absolute. Laptops can walk away very easily, so we need to make sure our assets are always protected.”

Karen Greenhow, Regional Systems Chief, GSA

Coincidentally, at about the same time, a third GSA laptop was stolen in an unrelated case. The Absolute Investigations team discovered this laptop in Columbia, South Carolina. The PC was recovered after FBI agents arrested the thief in Charlotte, North Carolina. None of the laptops, which cost the GSA between $3,000 and $5,000 each, were damaged and the information contained on the hard drives was retrieved intact.

Results

1
VISIBILITY
The GSA has visibility of their devices, regardless of user or location
2
THEFT REDUCTION
The GSA has seen device theft drop dramatically and recovered several stolen devices, ensuring sensitive data is protected