A New Kind of Data Theft

Punched in the mouth for an iPhone? WSJ reports this morning that mobile device theft is on the rise (Fighting the iCrime Wave)…not just the data, but the entire device.  And not because they left it laying somewhere in the open – these devices are being taken by force!

How many of your clients are running around the country with iPads and iPhones, full of data, without passwords, encryption, or any sort of tracking application to wipe it clean in the event of a lost or stolen device?

I can remember not too long ago standing in a NYC subway in the evening, with my computer bag, wondering how many Macs are stolen when there just aren’t a lot of people around.  It seemed so simple to just grab my bag, push me off the platform onto the tracks, and run.  In this article a guy tries to chase the thief only to find himself knocked out cold on the platform, with a bloody lip.  With eBay and Amazon Merchant services, selling used electronics is so easy a high school drop out can do it.  And the resale value, in my experience, is pretty good.  I recently sold my Blackberry boat anchor for much more than I personally thought it was worth, in just a few days.

All of your clients have one of these devices…the device itself should be insured.  After all, it’s really not worth chasing a criminal through the subway to get it back.  But much more important is the data on it.  While most of these devices are quickly turned over for cash, much stress can be alleviated by having a data protection plan in place.  Make this part of your security assessment process – make sure your clients have passwords, encryption, and tracking software that will wipe the device clean.  Then encourage them to let it go if someone takes it from their hands, and just file the insurance claim for a new one.

© 2012, David Stelzl



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