There were almost 300,000 thefts involving computer equipment in the UK between March 2013 and February this year, according to new data compiled by security and communications firm ViaSat.
A series of Freedom of Information requests filed with police forces across the country revealed that 42% of the 290,651 thefts reported during the period occurred in London.
Electronic device and computer theft accounted for a third of all robberies in the capital compared to 17% for the rest of the UK.
However, it was individuals rather than enterprises who were most at risk. Only 6% of thefts were reported by public and private sector organizations.
ViaSat CEO Chris McIntosh argued that businesses should use thin client solutions so that sensitive data is not stored on the device/machine itself.
“Consumers also need to understand just what data security best practices are for businesses, and check that they’re being followed,” he told Infosecurity.
“For instance, if a bank manager takes down your financial details, are they inputting the data straight into their central server? Or at least onto an encrypted desktop or laptop? Anything less should be quite frankly unacceptable, and consumers shouldn’t be afraid to make that clear.”
Users should also be prepared for the worst and take steps to mitigate the effects of potential device theft.
“First, and most simply, consider what needs to be on a device,” McIntosh advised. “Photos are to be expected, but if you’ve taken a picture of a bill, credit card or other information for a specific purpose, make sure you delete it afterwards.”
Log-ins and passwords should also never be saved on mobile devices, he added.
“Finally, make sure you use the security that’s on a device – a password or PIN might be relatively simple to break for cryptographers, but anything that reduces the chance of an opportunistic thief getting at the heart of a device is a benefit,” said McIntosh.