Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
Burglars tend to go after high ticket items that can be immediately turned into cash. They may include electronics such as TVs, computers, game consoles or various kinds of stereo equipment. Jewelry has always been the favorite of the thief, and they know most women keep their jewelry box on their dresser or in the top or bottom drawer.
What many are beginning to realize is that the information on the computers or laptops that are stolen is worth much more than the hardware itself. The money today is in the data that is stolen that can be used to commit identity theft.
In the past few years, numerous data breaches have occurred simply because a laptop or PC was stolen from someone’s home. A Veterans Administration employee’s home was broken into and his work PC was stolen which had almost 26.5 million Social Security numbers of veterans and their families. That’s almost 10% of the US population on one computer! That PC cost the VA maybe $1000.00 to purchase, but the data loss cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate.
“CNN reports The personal records of thousands of soldiers, employees and their families were potentially exposed after a laptop computer containing the information was stolen over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the military says.
The security breach happened where the rental apartment of an employee was. The computer contained “names and personally identifiable information for slightly more than 42,000 records including names, Social Security number, home address, date of birth, encrypted credit card information, personal e-mail address, personal telephone numbers, and family member information.”
A theft of this kind in your own home, whether it is your company’s computer or your own can have a devastating effect. The key is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
1. Always lock your doors and windows no matter what time of the year it is.
2. Make sure all exterior ladders are locked up to prevent someone from accessing an upper level window.
3. Install a home security system that calls you and the local police when tripped.
4. Make sure your computers are locked down too. For desktops, it is a good idea to cable them to a desk or wall. For laptops they should be put in a safe.
5. Install encryption software on all PCs that makes the data unreadable and useless to the thief.