Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

In 2003, an estimated 1.5 million laptops were stolen worldwide. Today, that number has climbed to 2.6 million—a 70% increase in just a few years.

That’s one stolen laptop every 12 seconds.

Laptop computers have been involved in some of the biggest data breaches of all time. Recently 800,000 doctors were exposed to possible identity theft when a laptop holding their personal data turned up missing from the Chicago-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

As costs for laptops go down and their computing power goes up, laptops become more vulnerable as the days go on.

In yet another very interesting Ponemon Institute study, more than half of IT and security professionals worldwide believe their companies’ laptops and other mobile devices pose security risks, and only half of them have CEOs who are strong advocates and supporters of data security efforts.

Kelly Jackson Higgins’ article at Dark Reading gives a good summary.

And, in the United States, the situation is even worse, with only 40 percent of US IT and security pros believing their CEOs to be security supporters. When it comes to compliance with regulations, “US firms were also less inclined to consider compliance helpful to security of their endpoints.”

This report here, is both quite troubling and very unsurprising. It models the philosophies that produce what we see in the real world: data breaches are quite commonplace, decent security is quite achievable, and most businesses just don’t really care (until they discover the hard way). It is quite akin to a widespread lack of interest in wearing seat belts, with only those who experience accidents and are “already dead” deciding that, sure enough, it’s not very hard to buckle a seat belt yet the benefits are enormous.

Many businesses have a department, or at least a group or individual, that handles security. (Note that the report also exposes a woeful lack of collaboration with this section of the business). Yet “the security department” or IT department in general tends to find that upper management just doesn’t “buy in” with security efforts.

Dan Yost, Chief Technology Officer of MyLaptopGPS, states “It seems good to let the upper management take a serious fall when (not if) breaches happen. They choose not to support the buckling of seat belts, because it’s ‘not important’ or at least not a priority. It’s only fair that their necks be on the line during the next ‘accident’.”

Unfortunately your lack of security is in the hands of others. Take control. Protect your identity. Get a credit freeze. Go to ConsumersUnion.org and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.

Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft protection can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano, identity theft speaker, discusses Laptop Security on The Today Show.

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