Theft of mobile devices on the rise, study shows

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A new report claims there was an increase in the number of stolen laptops and tablets being recovered in another country in 2012.

The 2012 Endpoint Security Report from Absolute Software highlights an increase in the global scale and frequency of mobile device thefts.

It also revealed a rise in the amount of laptops and tablets stolen in one country and recovered in another. The report claims devices have been recovered in an additional eight countries compared to the report 12 months ago, including Mongolia, Gambia, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

London was named as the number one location in the EMEA for theft of mobile devices for a second successive year, followed by Kampala in Uganda and Pretoria in South Africa.

Across EMEA, businesses and offices were cited as the top theft location, for both internal and external burglary. Theft from automobiles, excluding taxis, was ranked second ahead of theft from residential property – which had been number one in last year’s report.

Globally, the United States was named as the top country for theft of mobile devices, with Chicago the number one North American city, for a second year, followed by Marrero and Los Angeles.

Theft of devices from schools was the most prevalent crime for a second successive year in the US, with theft from residential property and businesses coming in ranked numbers three and four respectively.

According to the report, there has also been a noticeable increase in remote data deletes and sensitive data retrievals from stolen devices. The number of data deletes was found to be up 34 per cent year-on-year, with a 135 per cent increase seen in the amount of data remotely retrieved.

Derek Skinner, regional director of Recovery and Investigative Services EMEA at Absolute Software, said: “With data breaches and missing devices often highly publicised by the media and regularly incurring major fines, businesses face an increasingly complex challenge if they are to keep a closer eye on their devices. A lost or misused device can leave an organisation in a very vulnerable position.”

He added: “With reputations on the line, it is no longer simply the cost of the device but the wealth of sensitive data sitting within tablets, laptops and smartphones that is causing IT and business headaches. It is no surprise therefore that our report reveals a rise in remote data wipes. The sooner an organisation can secure a stolen device and render the data on it unusable to thieves, the easier it is for it to prove there hasn’t been a data breach.”

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See the full Absolute Software report

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