High-tech security makes a mark at CES show

From night vision to protectice data safes, CES digs into high-end residential security

The system works with a combination of Global Positioning System technology and GSM cell phone networks. The company, which is beginning production of its PocketFinder products, has not yet disclosed the price for the service.

There are competing services that use cell phones to track children, while others use built-in hardware in cars. But the PocketFinder doesn't require a cell phone contract or installation, Busch said.

"There are 38 million kids in America between the ages of 5 and 11 who can't carry a cell phone because they'll drop or lose it. And there are a lot more pets than that."

One company brought a long-standing product - updated for the digital age - to the expo. For 70 years, the Sentry Group has been in the business of making fire-resistant safes to keep valuables and business records out of harm's way.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is introducing a fire-resistant external hard drive enclosed in a safelike casing. The company also makes a combination safe capable of protecting paper records, DVD data and a built-in hard drive.

The data safes come in 80-gigabyte and 160-gigabyte versions. They will protect contents for 30 minutes at temperatures of 1,500 degrees, said Sentry Group spokeswoman Sondra McFarlane.

Americans' anxiety levels might not have changed as much as their lifestyles, she said.

"What's changed is that digital data has become more and more important to people," McFarlane said. "We decided to partner with (hard-drive manufacturer) Maxtor Corp. to encase their hard drives in our proprietary technology."

No list of modern worries would be complete without Internet hackers. As Americans transition to a more Internet-centered lifestyle - shopping and banking online - they are putting more personal information on computers and sending it over connections that might not be secure.

The use of more laptops, often in public Wi-Fi hot spots, carries new risks as well, said Shlomo Touboul, chief executive of Israel's Yoggie Security Systems.

The company's Pico device was designed to provide road warriors with the same level of security they have when behind their corporate firewall.

Pico is a Linux computer built into a USB thumb drive. It runs below the Windows operating system on a computer, which means information from the Internet runs through Pico before it gets passed through to Windows.

It also means an attempted attack would detect the Pico, a Linux computer, but not the more-vulnerable Windows system hidden behind the tiny firewall computer.

Pico runs 13 security programs to analyze Internet data, using its own processor so it does not tie up the main computer's resources. Once scanned by Pico, information from the Internet is passed on to the Windows system.

Not everyone will be the target of a burglar or a kidnapper. Violent crimes in the United States fell slightly from 2000 to 2006, while property crimes stayed about the same for the period.

But anyone who goes online can expect attempted attacks. "On the Internet," Touboul said, "you know it's probable."