Jul 01 2008

Don’t lose your laptop at the airport!

Published by at 9:17 am under Encryption,General,Simple Security

I don’t know about other travelers, but losing my laptop while flying to or from a client site is one of my bigger fears. I have so much sensitive information on my drive that I’d panic if it was out of my site for more than the thirty seconds it takes to X-ray my laptop. And according to a new study released yeasterday by the Ponemon Institute, I have a reason to be worried. I like the line in this article, “close to 10,278 laptops are reported lost every week”. That sounds like a pretty exact number to just be close.

I agree completely with the advice given by the FTC: treat your laptop just like you would a wad of cash. It’s fairly easy for a thief to turn around and sell your laptop for a couple of hundred dollars. You wouldn’t leave a bundle of twenties sitting around on the X-ray machines conveyor belt, so why do people leave laptops lying around.

What’s possibly more important than the laptop itself is the data on the hard drive of the computer. If it’s your computer, not work’s, you might be in real danger of having to deal with identity theft if your computer is stolen. If it is your work computer, you’ve lost whatever you’ve done since you last backed up. And if you’ve got any sensitive business documents on the drive, you will probably have some explaining to do to your boss, not to mention any client data that went with it.

Disk encryption, whether whole disk or just a partition is one solution just about every traveler should be looking at. At least that way all you’ll be suffering is the lost work, not at having to report a compromise because you lost sensitive information. Not that anyone in their right mind would be carrying large amounts of credit card or personally identifiable information around on their laptop, right?

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Don’t lose your laptop at the airport!”

  1. JBOon 02 Jul 2008 at 8:13 am

    Wow that is a lot of laptops to go missing. I am about to take my irst flight with my laptop. I will certainly be taking it as hand luggage now and keeping it very close to my side

  2. anonyon 16 Jul 2008 at 8:58 pm

    In the “Dell Lost Laptop Study,” there is a footnote about how they got their information from airports.

    “Laptop loss frequencies were collected from a confidential field survey as either a direct weekly estimate or as a range variable as reported by airport officials. Exact loss frequencies were typically not calculated or available for review.”

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