The ITAM Review

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London’s ranked as gangland computer theft capital of EMEA

Airports are one of the most common locations for stolen laptops globally, with the majority of thefts taking place in the luggage / storage area followed by the terminal / boarding area.

Security vendor Absolute Software has used this week’s InfoSec IT exhibition as a platform to spin out a news story claiming that London has been handed the dubious honour of top destination for laptop theft in EMEA.

According to the firm’s Computer Theft Report the UK comes only second globally behind the USA in the laptop theft epidemic stakes.

The ITAM Review regards this very real problem as having a serious impact on enterprise’s ability to firmly control and corral their total data pool for some years now — and the situation has (arguably) only been made worse by:

  1. The comparatively low price of laptops and
  2. The capabilities of smartphones and tablets when used in conjunction with laptops to provide employees with very workable mobile office solutions.

Absolute asserts that only a small number of thefts actually occurred in the office (EMEA: 9.60%, NA: 7.45%). As workforces become increasingly mobile, company assets like laptops are regularly stored or used at home or while on the move. Thefts from residential properties (EMEA: 14.31%, NA: 12.41%) and from the back seat of the car (EMEA: 11.41%, NA: 16%) were some of the most common crimes.

Airports are one of the most common locations for stolen laptops globally, with the majority of thefts taking place in the luggage / storage area (29%) followed by the terminal / boarding area (22%). Ironically, 12% airport laptop of thefts take place in the security zone, it is claimed.

Perhaps surprisingly, in EMEA the majority of thefts (40.58%) were from an unknown location due to victims not discovering their loss until well after the device had been stolen or reported missing. In the case of corporate laptops, this downtime between realisation and report can be extremely dangerous to security, given the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands.

“The cost to business of purchasing new equipment without knowing where existing assets are, as well as the potential fines for data breaches can be very expensive,” said Stephen Midgley, Global VP at Absolute Software. “Regulations dictate a timescale from a breach to when customers must be notified of data loss. If companies aren’t aware of a lost laptop for days or weeks, compliance with regulation becomes a real challenge and limiting damage to a company’s brand and reputation almost impossible.”

“Speed is of the essence when it comes to a security breach – a lag in reporting theft could make the difference between successfully wiping data and encryption being cracked and crucial data stolen,” added Midgley.

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About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development and data analytics as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.

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