Almost 2,000 Londoners lost electronic devices (1,967) on public transport in December last year, exposing them to the dangers of data theft

What Mobile
December 18, 2018

London-based insurtech Digital Risks has compiled and analysed data from TfL, Network Rail and UK Airport Lost and Found reports to reveal that:

— 1,780 mobile phones were reported lost in December last year, including 941 on London buses
— 106 laptops were reported lost in December last year, including 58 on the London Underground
— 116 tablets were reported lost in December last year, including 16 in London taxis

Digital Risks is urging Londoners to take care of their belongings over the festive periods, particularly those that contain sensitive data. These last two weeks of December are the office party peak and post-work proseccos can pose a real risk to work laptops and sensitive data storage devices as office workers carry them around town.

Westminster topped the list last Christmas for the London borough with the most lost phones. Is it a coincidence that the borough also has by far the highest number of pubs in London (425, with second highest Camden at 235)?

Losing sensitive data on a work night out could leave you with more than a headache to face the next morning as Ben Alexander, Marketing Director at Digital Risks, explains:

“If your phone, laptop or tablet ends up in the wrong hands, you and your company could be at risk of data theft, cyber-attacks and social engineering fraud, plus the potential for financial and reputational damage to boot.”

As well as securing your laptop or mobile phone, you should also take care of less expensive items that contain sensitive data, such as USB sticks or personal hard drives. Be mindful that under the new GDPR regulations of May 2018, if Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data is compromised, your business could be subject to fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or ‚¬20 million – whichever is the greater.

Ben Alexander, Marketing Director at Digital Risks says:

“And if you stumble across a stray data stick or USB charger, don’t be tempted to plug them in. Hackers are dropping these devices in public places, infected with with all manner of viruses and malware, with a view to taking control of a computer, uploading files, tracking browser history, infecting software and even giving remote keyboard control to a hacker.”

Digital Risks’ Top Tips for Protecting your Data this Christmas

1. Don’t store company data on a mobile device – Instead, use cloud-based SaaS platforms with robust, multi-factor authentication.
2. Encryption – Enable and use encryption-based services.
3. Use a password manager – These create and store complex, long-string passwords. If you feel a password has been compromised, you can quickly change all your access at the click of button
4. Turn on Location Finders – Some smartphones have a feature allowing you to locate your missing device, providing a location or it’s last online location.
5. Read Digital Risks’ article on “Lost and stolen gadgets could cost you more than you think”.

What to do if your device is lost or stolen:

1. Inform: Immediately alert your employer, the authorities and your insurer so that they can lock down access where possible and put in place contingency plans.
2. Track the device: Laptops, mobile phones, even car keys, can all be tracked via GPS – this information could be vital to you and the police.
3. Prevent personal information access: Change your passwords. Some devices allow you to delete your data or flag the device as stolen.
4. Deactivate: You won’t be able to track your device latterly, but this will help to prevent thieves from obtaining your personal information, resetting your device and adding a new sim.

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