. They're convenient, mobile, prestigious and powerful.
They're thief magnets also. Over 400, what's happening making use
of their data and how to proceed next.
A few of the laptops are simply lost -
left in cabs, at hotels, restaurants and at conferences and events. A number of
these laptops (but not all) find their way back to their lucky
Among others are stolen, which might be a bonus,
QualComm's CEO had his laptop stolen while he was conducting a
Press Conference. Reportedly, a few of QualComm's most effective secrets were on
that laptop, unencrypted and only protected by an bypassed password easily.
Department of State laptop containing advanced info on nuclear proliferation was
stolen from State's headquarters. Two administrators were fired along with other
personnel were reprimanded.
alone, why wouldn't that be appealing to
A large portion of the nagging problem is less on the hardware or
software end of things, it's in the HUMAN side. By raising our awareness most of
the vulnerabilities could be lessened greatly.
You can find 3 regions of
vulnerability: 1) Securing the actual laptop, 2) Securing the Data, 3) Getting
the laptop back.
1) Securing the actual laptop
There are cable
locks that can be attached to an immovable object to make it more difficult to
just pick up the laptop and walk away.
which also alerts the
Use a laptop
carrying bag that does not look like a laptop case. Having a laptop case that
says IBM or Sony is advertising that you will be carrying a highly valuable
commodity. Consider using a backpack with your laptop in it in a padded sleeve.
Just as there are pickpocket teams, one of whom distracts you by
"accidentally" bumping into you while the other steals your wallet, there are
"Laptop Lifters" one of whom will accidentally spill something on you while the
other walks off with your laptop. A good rule to follow is: any time there is a
diversion near you, put your hand on your laptop.
People usually feel
comfortable at conferences and conventions. After all, you are usually
surrounded by your peers, and there are often convention staff around to provide
security. Often the theft will take place on the second or third day, when IDs
for entry are not being checked as stringently, and many of the attendees are
NOT wearing their badges. Many times people will leave laptops unguarded on or
under conference tables during breaks.
Not only is this a loss of value,
it's also a real inconvenience.
Sometimes a stolen laptop will
be sent back to the manufacturer for repair by the person who had innocently
bought it from the thief. You may get your laptop back this way.
If it is
visible, you may lose your laptop AND have to pay for the damage to your car.
Rental cars are often the special target of thieves, at popular restaurants or
stores especially. Plus,