Typically, when we think about cybersecurity, we think about external threats to internal databases. We imagine hackers, identity theft, and financial gain. But, according to studies, threats to your own cybersecurity are much closer than you think. According to research company Gartner, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. And according to research from the University of Pittsburgh, laptops have a 1-in-10 chance of being stolen, but just a 2% chance of recovery.
Anyone who owns a laptop is at risk. Think of how portable your device is. How many times have you taken it to a coffee shop, or left it on the front seat of your car? If it’s stolen, lost, or compromised in some way, your confidential information could get into the wrong hands. Here’s some advice to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you.
You wouldn’t dream of leaving a small child unattended in a public place. You wouldn’t ever let a stranger take care of your small child, even for a short period of time. If you are in a public place, take your laptop with you when you run to the bathroom or out to the car, even for just a moment. When you arrive at a hotel or airport, don’t allow someone else (outside of security personnel) to handle your laptop. This may seem extravagant, but ensuring your device is with you at all times is crucial.
That sticky note near your trackpad with your password reminders is a huge no-no. If your computer is stolen, the thief now has easy access to your computer and any websites where you’ve used the same password.
Using an anti-theft software like GPS and Track can be a huge lifesaver, but must be installed in advance, of course. Additionally, record the serial number on your laptop and take photos, especially of any unique or customized features. Change your passwords often.
Allowing people you don’t know, or don’t know well, use your laptop to “just check email” or “Google something real quick” could be a huge breach of your own security. Hackers don’t need much time to get compromising information from your device.