Need a new laptop? Take a trip to Heathrow

According to recent research, 900-1000 laptops go missing every week at Heathrow ... that is 52,000 a year. Worldwide, 800,000 laptops are lost or stolen at airports every year.

Even more incredulously, the research also reveals that many travellers fail to take any steps to protect the information contained on their laptops. Nearly 60 per cent of the British respondents admitted that they did not protect confidential information, while more than half said that they did not back up data.

However, the observation that ‘takes the biscuit’ in the research is:  ‘42 percent of British travellers said that their computer went missing after they asked another passenger to keep an eye on it’.

I really want to believe that the research is not accurate but I suspect it is an indication of how lax professional people are with laptops - whether at airports, stations or motorway service areas.

It also reinforces the main challenge with achieving effective information security – people.  Every public and commercial sector organisation now has security policies, procedures and technology in place but people do seem to persist in being either careless or too trusting when it comes to being vigilant when using laptops and network-enabled PDAs when travelling on business.

Security is a recurring topic in the Government blog because it is so vital to building citizen trust in government services online.  From a Microsoft perspective, the security story relating to our technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and I hope you will find these links to practical information on how to secure data on laptops and other advice useful:

·        Encrypting data on laptop hard drives using Windows BitLocker

·        Getting the security basics right – Get Safe Online

·        Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing to improve security, privacy, reliability and business practices

A final reminder -  we are running a Microsoft Security Symposium for the Public Sector on September 16th in London.  You can review the symposium programme here and register online ... and, if you do attend, we promise to make sure you do not leave your laptop behind...

Posted by Ian

Comments (3)

  1. Rafey says:

    Isn’t it possible to have a "tracker" inside every laptop to recover it like stolen cars! Or may be some network technology to "destroy" laptop’s data once stolen!

  2. ukgovernment says:

    Vista BitLocker encrypts data on laptops so that even if/when they are stolen the data is protected from unauthorised access.

  3. I once had a laptop stolen whilst on a diplomatic visit to the UK. I only turned my back for a second to pour some tea and it was gone.

    Laptop theft is distressing. I am just glad I did not keep anything too important on the actual hard drive.

    Tip for others. Don’t keep sensitive and important stuff on your harddrive.

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