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News

Carelessness prevails with USB memory sticks

Credant Technologies : 20 January, 2009  (Technical Article)
UK survey demonstrates lax attitudes towards data security with USB sticks being regularly left in taxis and even laundrettes
Data leakage and data loss is at an all time high. It could be blamed on the ever-popular USB or memory stick which most people now use to download and transport large amounts of sensitive data. So it's no surprise to find in a survey released today by data security experts Credant Technologies that in the last year, 9000 USB sticks have been forgotten in people's pockets as they take their clothes to be washed at the local dry cleaners.

The survey was carried out across the UK, to gauge the frequency and ease with which mobile devices such as USB and memory sticks are lost or forgotten in strange places such as dry cleaners and also as a warning to people to be vigilant when downloading information to carry around with them as it does frequently get lost. A similar survey was conducted by Credant Technologies last September amongst taxi drivers in London, which showed that 6,193 handheld devices such as laptops, iPods and memory sticks are forgotten at the back of taxis every 6 months!

Michael Callahan - senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Credant Technologies said "We conducted this survey to show people how easy it is to lose data, even in their local laundrette and that none of us are infallible. If the data is sensitive or valuable then people should protect this information with encryption so no-one can access the data at any point - as it could easily end up in the wrong hands."

A warning message to the business community and individuals to be vigilant when travelling with their mobile devices has never been more relevant, especially as many of these devices now have the capacity to store as much as 10,000 Word documents, 11,000 pictures, 500,000 contact details or an amazing 1.1 million emails, making them an obvious target for identity theft criminals and hackers who can steal this information and assume the identity of the user both in their personal or business life.

Dry cleaners in the suburbs, on the commuter belt or based in city centres find the most USB or memory sticks. One dry cleaner in the heart of the City of London said he is getting an average of 1 USB stick every 2 weeks, another said he had found at least 80 in the past year.

Not just USB sticks left at the dry cleaners……but Rolex watches, credit cards, drugs and an envelope filled with diamonds!

When the dry cleaners were asked to recall what the strangest objects were that they'd found in the customers pockets most had found keys, money and credit cards, however one had found a gold Rolex watch and another in Hatton Garden had found an envelope filled with diamonds. All of which were reconciled with their owners along with their clean and pressed laundry.
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