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12,000 Laptops Lost Weekly At Airports

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the dignity-lost-even-more-often dept.

Portables 236

kthejoker writes "Apparently companies are even worse about losing our data than we suspected. From the article: 'According to a study of 106 major US airports and 800 business travelers published by the Ponemon Institute and Dell Computer, about 12,000 laptops are lost in airports each week. Only 30 percent of travelers ever recover the lost devices. Nearly half of the travelers say their laptops contain customer data or confidential business information.' Kinda scary..."

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236 comments

Insurance (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | about 6 years ago | (#24051595)

Perhaps they should have purchased insurance? .

After all, the workers know not to steal the ones with the insurance stickers.

Re:Insurance (3, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | about 6 years ago | (#24051623)

It's not about the hardware. Most companies don't care about the $2000-$3000 replacement cost. Its the data, or worse yet, having to disclose that you have potentially exposed customer data that they really want to avoid.

Re:Insurance (4, Funny)

TommydCat (791543) | about 6 years ago | (#24051865)

You've obviously never lost a company laptop... They definitely care and can show it by giving you an "off the shelf replacement" which turns out to actually be a Kaypro luggable ;)

I've observed a similar thing with replacement Blackberrys...

Re:Insurance (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | about 6 years ago | (#24051961)

They definitely care and can show it by giving you an "off the shelf replacement" which turns out to actually be a Kaypro luggable

I've observed a similar thing with replacement Blackberrys...

I think some of that depends on your importance within the team. One of my teammates lost his Treo 650 and they replaced it within days despite having a hard time getting one through Sprint. There were shortages at the time, so they bought one off Ebay--paying extra. They did it because this guy was a key member of the team. Had he been a junior n00b developer, probably not. He'd have had to wait a while.

Look at who sponsered the 'study' (5, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | about 6 years ago | (#24051943)

Really, let's look at who sponsored this study... Dell, and what do they have to gain from having businesses think that their laptops are all going to be lost?

Why, insurance from them obviously. They do have very good lost/accidental insurance cover (which I got on my current laptop because work paid for it)... but it costs money, and obviously makes them money overall.

So, take these results with a monstrous rock of salt.

Re:Look at who sponsered the 'study' (2, Insightful)

OldSoldier (168889) | about 6 years ago | (#24052431)

Really, let's look at who sponsored this study... Dell, and what do they have to gain from having businesses think that their laptops are all going to be lost?

So, take these results with a monstrous rock of salt.

Really? While I understand the nature of conflict of interest, on the spectrum of things that are open to interpretation, this one seems closer to "fact" than "opinion". You walk into an airport with a laptop, you walk out without one, boom... you're one of the 12,000.

Sometimes facts are facts regardless of who's spouting them. If I told you the next new Moon was August 1, would you "take that with a monstrous rock of salt" because I was in the outdoor evening lighting business?

Re:Look at who sponsered the 'study' (2, Informative)

B30-7A (1222610) | about 6 years ago | (#24052667)

I agree. I've flown out of Orange County a lot in the last three years and I swear every time I'm there for the 6:45 am mad rush I hear the base ball announcer dude come on the PA asking someone to return to security to claim a forgotten laptop. I'm thinking 12,000 is a reasonable number.

Re:Look at who sponsered the 'study' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052723)

Actually, you demonstrate that you don't understand. Facts might be facts, but were you get your facts from is important.

Yes, if you were in the outdoor evening lighting business, I would take anything you had to say about nighttime lighting with a grain of salt. I'd look for independent confirmation of the facts. You would be a biased source and therefore not credible.

Go actually read the study. Look at how the questions are phrased.

"Have you ever lost a laptop?" That's 1% of people who carry a laptop on business while flying, carry confidential information on their laptop, and have lost a laptop. Nowhere does it confirm these folks lost their laptop at the airport.

Re:Look at who sponsered the 'study' (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | about 6 years ago | (#24052791)

But there's a definite difference between "study" and "fact", which is what I think OldSoldier is not-so-clearly pointing out.
Even though you considered interpretation, you didn't consider the problem of data collection. This is assuming that we're trusting the 12,000 people that say their laptops were stolen. Probably an insignificant percentage in this case, but still a consideration for standard deviation.

My opinion is that interpretation even plays a role here. It's apparent that Dell sponsored this study, due to the fact that they averaged the number that were stolen. A more neutral number to report would be 8400, or the averaged amount lost and never returned.
My assumption is that the week time frame played a role in the numbers as well. Did the multiply a single-day's sample by 7? Hopefully not, as that would not provide any real scientific evidence. Did the sample all 365 days of a year and divide? Probably not since that would take too much time.

But "12,000 lost a week" sure does have a nice ring to it. Too bad I don't think "ooo! buy insurance!", but rather "stupid idiots!"

Always use protection (5, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | about 6 years ago | (#24051603)

Truecrypt or similar commercial offerings are available and reliable. Protect your data and ours.

Re:Always use protection (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 6 years ago | (#24051615)

Someone has to be sued first. No excuse these days.

 

Re:Always use protection (3, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 6 years ago | (#24051649)

The basic Debian and Fedora installs both offer full hard drive encryption as an option. It's a really good idea on any (backed-up) system with data that you don't want falling into the wrong hands.

Re:Always use protection (1, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | about 6 years ago | (#24051857)

Truecrypt along with Debian, Fedora, by extension Ubuntu are not solutions an enterprise can deploy reliably.

Truecrypt is mighty close but portability is a killer for any enterprise to manage.

Picture the scenario where a user changed the keys and then gets fired. With Truecrypt hopefully you have a copy of the master key so you should be fine. With encrypted LVM solutions things can get all kinds of hairy though.

I wish Truecrypt supported fingerprint authentication. Right now it looks like Computrace's LoJack for Laptops is still the best option for enterprise deployment.

Re:Always use protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052117)

It's easier to keep quiet than to wear gloves all the time. Hell, I could just lift one off the reader if I wanted the data that badly.

Re:Always use protection (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 6 years ago | (#24052377)

Good luck, modern fingerprint readers won't work that way as they don't have a contact point for the whole finger.

Re:Always use protection (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 6 years ago | (#24052133)

With encrypted LVM solutions things can get all kinds of hairy though.

LUKS [endorphin.org] (cryptsetup) actually has a mechanism for adding multiple keys, though if you let the user log in as root, they'd just change those keys too. Or hell, dd /dev/urandom over the whole thing.

But if they really wanted to screw the company over, why bother with all that when they can just "lose" the laptop on a business trip?

Re:Always use protection (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 6 years ago | (#24052415)

Thanks for the link, I've been trying to find a deployment strategy for enterprise wide encryption. Most of the systems seem rather clunky and not well thought out.

One of my test laptops suddenly started saying that the TPM chip cannot be contacted so the encrypted laptop is now useless and needs to be wiped to start all over. Fortunately it's just a test laptop so there's nothing on it to worry about but it definitely makes me nervous about deploying it for the whole company.

Fingerprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052769)

If a user gets fired, does the company chop off his finger then? I think giving your keys and paswords to your boss is a bit easier...

Re:Always use protection (1)

v1 (525388) | about 6 years ago | (#24052305)

and filevault is free, bundled, and only a button click away.

Information wants to be free... (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 6 years ago | (#24052535)

"Truecrypt or similar commercial offerings are available and reliable. Protect your data and ours."

Whatever happened to "Information wants to be free?" Or does that only apply to bootleg copies of Iron Man?

I'm confused.

Re:Information wants to be free... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#24052863)

"Truecrypt or similar commercial offerings are available and reliable. Protect your data and ours."

Whatever happened to "Information wants to be free?"

I'm confused.

And that information that wants to be free, includes, of course, the names and employers of the bastards who stole the f**ing luggage.

Re:Always use protection (2, Insightful)

wkk2 (808881) | about 6 years ago | (#24052675)

It is not just the users. I believe the airports and their security theater is at least somewhat culpable for the $20M in losses a week. I usually carry a lot of special cords and I always have problems. The last troublesome item was two back-to-back modular jacks wire as a T1 crossover. Security handled it like it was a tarantula. After scattering everything all over the place, a supervisor finally let me pass. It is a wonder more stuff isn't lost.

Encrypt everything. I just wish TrueCrypt had a feature that allowed the secret to be split between the user and a company web server.

This raises important questions (5, Funny)

merreborn (853723) | about 6 years ago | (#24051605)

...Why do they keep giving these 800 people laptops if they're each losing over 12 per week?

Re:This raises important questions (5, Funny)

whiplashx (837931) | about 6 years ago | (#24051677)

Reminds me of the statistic: Every 2 seconds an American woman is raped.

That poor woman...

Re:This raises important questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051743)

Those are some speedy rapists...

Re:This raises important questions (0)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#24051835)

Reminds me of the statistic: Every 2 seconds an American woman is raped.
That poor woman...

Those are some speedy rapists...

but they're kind too! i mean they bring her food, change her bedpan, and don't comment on the horrific odor she's got after being on her back for so many years!

Re:This raises important questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052451)

Reminds me of the statistic: Every 2 seconds an American woman is raped. That poor woman...

Those are some speedy rapists...

but they're kind too! i mean they bring her food, change her bedpan, and don't comment on the horrific odor she's got after being on her back for so many years!

This thread has taken an unsettling turn...

Re:This raises important questions (1)

greenguy (162630) | about 6 years ago | (#24051815)

Unless they're flying almost constantly, that means they're actually losing several per flight.

"I can't believe it. I lost another three laptops today!"

Ponemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051625)

Ponemon! Gotta Catch e'm All!

Re:Ponemon (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | about 6 years ago | (#24052099)

All the laptops?

Math (4, Insightful)

HunterZ (20035) | about 6 years ago | (#24051643)

Where the hell are the 40,000 unrecovered laptops a year going? Is there really that much of a market for used (stolen) laptops?

Re:Math (1)

whiplashx (837931) | about 6 years ago | (#24051695)

You mean 400,000. (12,000 * 52 * .7)

I call bullshit...

Re:Math (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 years ago | (#24052787)

Where did the 7 come from? 1200 per week would be 1200*52.

Well, actually, since 30% are recovered, it would be more like 30% of 1200 (840), times 52 weeks (43680 or so) roughly 40,000 laptops missing.

Re:Math (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 years ago | (#24052819)

I guess that should be 12,000 not 1200 resulting in 400,000 (436,800)

Re:Math (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051705)

For foreign security services, some of who double as corporate espionage agents, laptops with data on critical contracts, possibly classified material, logins and VPN software to connect to corporate and government networks, hell, even blackmail material, they're a gold mine!

The guys picking up the laptops might be run of the mill local criminals, but you'd be a fool if you were an intelligence agent and didn't have line on an easy source of info like this.

Re:Math (1)

XorNand (517466) | about 6 years ago | (#24051717)

Hrm? (12,000 laptops per week) * (30% recovery rate) = 436,000 laptops per year that vanish into the void. Sounds like someone got the decimal point wrong.

www.ebay.com (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#24051719)

.... and the answer is yes.

Re:Math (1)

deepgrey (1246108) | about 6 years ago | (#24051979)

Well, according to the article, sounds like some of them are being destroyed (destroyed?) by the airports...

They're not stealing the laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052295)

What makes you think they're stealing the laptops? The data on the laptops is probably much more valuable than the laptops themselves. Free, saleable hardware is just a bonus.

Doing the maths (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | about 6 years ago | (#24052619)

A figure of 350 is quoted for San Francisco (small print "Laptop loss frequencies were collected from a confidential field survey as either a direct weekly estimate or as a range variable as reported by airport officials. Exact loss frequencies were typically not calculated or available for review."; which I read as "we guessed").

That's 100 per week per terminal at SFO (ish). That's around 14 a day or 1 an hour. 40% were of these were at security - about 1 every 2.5 hours.

At airports that broadcast it, I'd guess that you get "can XXX please go back to security and collect their YYY" every 30 minutes or so. YYY is usually "bag"; although I've heard "laptop" (and on at least one occasion "shoes") as well.

So if the "loss incidents" includes people going back to security to collect stuff that they've left there it seems not unreasonable (although maybe a little high). If it's supposed to be some tealeaf legging it out of security the wrong way with someone's laptop I don't believe it - if that happened every 2.5 hours you'd notice it.

Re:Doing the maths (1)

HunterZ (20035) | about 6 years ago | (#24052659)

If it's supposed to be some tealeaf legging it out of security the wrong way with someone's laptop I don't believe it - if that happened every 2.5 hours you'd notice it.

They said only 30% of laptops were recovered, so...

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052751)

Yes... Math. Unfortunately, you are off by a factor of 10.

Re:Math (3, Informative)

toby34a (944439) | about 6 years ago | (#24052761)

It's called Unclaimed Baggage, and it's wonderful. I need to make another trip out there (only 40 minutes from Huntsville, AL. http://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/ [unclaimedbaggage.com]

Re:Math (1)

story645 (1278106) | about 6 years ago | (#24052801)

Scrap?

The lcd's alone are worth a ton and some of the other parts can be melted down.

I'll return ALL of the Laptops: +1, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051655)

in return for the single payment of Euro 100 Billion [youtube.com] .

Please, no U.S. Dollars.

Cordially,
Dr. Evil

P.S.: John McCain For Minister of Torture

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051671)

I have lost many items over the years from my luggage, i now carry as much as possible in my hand luggage. This leads me to believe baggage handlers are generally 'tea leaves'.

f1rst p0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051727)

well not really i guess im not fast enough lucky if i am but lulz maybe i should go into the career of attacking pineapples and throwing up on couches on the moon

Re:f1rst p0st (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052183)

Stay away from drugs, kids.

Miniscule (5, Informative)

mrroot (543673) | about 6 years ago | (#24051731)

That is nothing compared to the amount of passenger's luggage that is lost daily by the airlines [usatoday.com] .

But still, what kind of moron loses their laptop while traveling? I can't imagine letting it out of my sight or even out of my reach.

Re:Miniscule (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | about 6 years ago | (#24051991)

That is nothing compared to the amount of passenger's luggage that is lost daily by the airlines

They once lost my checked in bag on a direct flight from Chicago to KC. Direct flight--no hops! And worse, I checked the bag early. There was plenty of time to get it on my plane. Fortunately, it was recovered a couple days later.

Re:Miniscule (4, Interesting)

mrroot (543673) | about 6 years ago | (#24052277)

I have done some software development work for the Airlines, and one thing I learned is your bags do not necessarily follow the same path you do (yes even on a direct flight). The fact that you checked them early actually was probably your mistake because you gave them a chance to put them on a different flight.

And from my own personal experience it is frustrating trying to communicate with the baggage complaint desk person (could there be a worse job?) because the airline doesn't consider them lost, only delayed, and they are sure to remind you of that throughout the conversation.

Re:Miniscule (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 6 years ago | (#24052589)

"The fact that you checked them early..."

So get there early, and you're screwed. Get there too late, and you're screwed. And no matter when you get there, the airline is going to charge you $15 for each bag, which means you're screwed anyway.

And with all of the budget cuts, they're not even going to buy you a drink first...

Re:Miniscule (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052403)

You know, you put your stuff on the belt, walk through the detector, and they ask you to step aside for special screening without giving you a chance to collect your stuff. Or the detector beeps, and they need to ask you to step aside so they can check you with a wand. And all the while this is happening there is a crowd of people between you and your stuff. You can't see it. You can't tell the TSA agent to let you go so you can keep an eye on your stuff.

It is a miracle I have never lost anything at during security check.

Re:Miniscule (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 6 years ago | (#24052651)

There are definitely clueless kids that lose their backpacks in the airport, and they can get stolen if you so much as look away in a crowded airport and you're not touching the bag.

By the Numbers (2, Interesting)

perlith (1133671) | about 6 years ago | (#24052779)

I find it interesting 14% of those who responded to the survey classified themselves as a job role in "information technology". This is the third highest behind sales (24%) and management (20%). Not necessarily a result of job role, but rather, of company culture towards such losses.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052919)

This piece of data is very, very unlikely.

Lost? Insurance scam more likely (5, Interesting)

waynemcdougall (631415) | about 6 years ago | (#24051735)

My experience working in a hotel...

Business person (men and women) leave laptop in hotel room. Contact said person to return it.

"Oh, no, don't send it back - it's a year old - I claim on insurance and get a new, faster, better laptop. You can have it."

I can't help thinking an airport is a better place to "upgrade" your laptop - none of those pesky hotel staff trying to return it to you.

Re:Lost? Insurance scam more likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051849)

Very likely.

As an example, when one of my cow-orkers gets tired of his cellphone, he starts throwing it around to break it.

At the wall, floor, parking lot.

"I have insurance" he says. Then he gets the latest model.

--
BMO

Re:Lost? Insurance scam more likely (2, Insightful)

goofyspouse (817551) | about 6 years ago | (#24051937)

It also could be done to avoid the costs associated with recycling outdated hardware.

But, in this day and age, isn't every abandoned piece of luggage treated like a WMD? I would expect a lot more bomb squad activity at airports based on these (surely inflated) numbers.

huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24051751)

This story is bunk. It does not pass the sniff test.

600,000 laptops a year just floating around in thieves hands.. I don't buy it..

Bad science.. bad study.

The story doesn't say how many are recovered before the laptop loser leaves the building. it is probably 90%. I can live with 60,000 a year stolen.. but 600k.. blah.

Pokemon Institute (4, Funny)

andrewd18 (989408) | about 6 years ago | (#24051757)

published by the Pokemon Institute ... about 12,000 laptops are lost in airports each week

They're missing because I caught them all!

208000 laptops per year... (4, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24051799)

You know... that comes out to about 1004000 laptops every five years.

If we could only get airport personnel to increase their "output" we could scrap that pointless One Laptop Per Child project.
Those things cost money.
These would be like... for free.

Re:208000 laptops per year... (5, Funny)

fizzup (788545) | about 6 years ago | (#24052091)

I get it 12,000 laptops per week times 17 1/3 weeks per year means 208,000 laptops per year.

208,000 laptops per year times 4.8269231 years means 1,004,000 laptops in five years.

What are you on? Glue?

May be... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24052529)

Don't know...
Bus I rode today did smell funny. But buses always do smell funny.

Re:208000 laptops per year... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 years ago | (#24052373)

You still wouldn't be able to use these in the dust with no power outlet somewhere. The XO has that yoyo charger. Very important for many of the places they need to go. These would be more useful in schools right here in the first world.

Sure you could! (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 years ago | (#24052747)

Send them pre-charged.

When kids use up the battery, they can mail the laptops back to the first world where they will be recharged and returned to the kids - for a small fee naturally.
Its not our fault they are godless, electricityless lazy savages.
We are trying to HELP here, hello! They could get off their asses and help us help them.

You know... like... put those sockets on the walls of their huts so they could recharge the laptops themselves.
I mean... how hard can it be. You like.. need a screwdriver and thats about it...

BTW and FYI - All my posts in this thread were meant as sarcastic jokes. Since someone already branded me insightful, I find I might need to mention that.

In unrelated news... (3, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | about 6 years ago | (#24051807)

According to a study [...] published by the Ponemon Institute and Dell Computer, about 12,000 laptops are lost in airports each week. Only 30 percent of travelers ever recover the lost devices. Nearly half of the travelers say their laptops contain customer data or confidential business information.

In what I'm sure is completely unrelated news, the release of this report coincides with Dell releasing a new service - Dell Mobility Services Aim To Protect Notebook Data [crn.com] , and New Dell Services Help Users Hunt Down Missing Laptops [investors.com] .

Re:In unrelated news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052567)

Another PR firm gets a story through the awesome Slashdot editorial tripwire... somehow.

Relieved upon reading the article... (2, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | about 6 years ago | (#24051855)

I thought this was going to be another story about TSA outright stealing laptops. Glad to read it's about people misplacing them instead. Whew.

When I travel with a laptop, I make sure it's my only carry-on. I store extras in the front and inner pockets of the laptop bag. You're less likley to lose something if you've only got 1 thing to remember.

Re:Relieved upon reading the article... (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 6 years ago | (#24052331)

I can't imagine anyone checking a laptop. Carry on definitely the way to go. Watch a movie while you're at it.

Just for clarification... (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | about 6 years ago | (#24051875)

... the laptops have not been "lost". The owners simply don't know where they are.

I recommend checking eBay.

Re:Just for clarification... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 years ago | (#24052237)

But how does one know that it is thiers? Sellers are not going to post serial numbers. If there are decorations (e.g., stickers), then probably remove them or use company's photographs.

Hard To Believe (5, Insightful)

Alcoholist (160427) | about 6 years ago | (#24051897)

This number of lost laptops in airports is pretty hard to believe. Worldwide laptop production is like what, 60 million units? This article seems to be telling us that one percent of all the laptops made every year in the whole entire world are lost in U.S. airports.

It's a pretty big number given all the other ways a laptop can meet its end. Where are they all going? Is there some kind of giant warehouse somewhere?

No wonder mobile sector of the computer industry is booming.

Really lost? (1)

mrroot (543673) | about 6 years ago | (#24051913)

A lot of salesmen I know would be the type to "lose" their laptop, cell phone, etc when what they really want is a new one. Losing it is the easiest way to get what they want.

Seems a little high (5, Insightful)

visible.frylock (965768) | about 6 years ago | (#24051925)

12,000 / 106 = avg 113 laptops / airport / week.

Seems a little high. The pdf doesn't mention what was counted in "lost/stolen" laptops. Do they count every time someone couldn't find their baggage on the belt and reported it (and it just so happened they had a laptop)?

Only thing the pdf says about it is this:

Laptop loss frequencies were collected from a confidential field survey as either a direct weekly estimate or as a range variable as reported by airport officials. Exact loss frequencies were typically not calculated or available for review.

The article does say though that the study was sponsored by Dell supporting its ProSupport Mobility whatever. It claims that Ponemon conducted it independently.

Either way, encrypt your laptops, and try to setup RDC or somesuch, so you can prevent sensitive data from being cached. But encryption should stop casual thieves 99% of the time. I assume Dell's stuff they're selling [dell.com] is meant to wait until someone accesses the internet with a stolen laptop and try to track it that way. But shouldn't the top priority be to prevent data from being accessed in the first place?

What's more important? The data or the hardware cost?

Re:Seems a little high (1)

Zadaz (950521) | about 6 years ago | (#24052311)

What's more important? The data or the hardware cost?

To the owner of the laptop? The hardware cost.

Go and smash someone's laptop, but not so badly the hard drive is compromised.

Are they going to say "Ah, my data is safe. Thank goodness!"?
Or are they going to come after you for the replacement cost of the laptop?

Yeah, the former. While the data on many people's laptops is where they value is, most people don't think that way yet. Obviously.

Re:Seems a little high (1)

GeckoAddict (1154537) | about 6 years ago | (#24052477)

12,000 / 106 = avg 113 laptops / airport / week.

Without reading the article (this is slashdot after all), the study measured "106 airports and 800 business travelers". I'm sure these numbers were then extrapolated to include additional airports and business travelers.

I rent a laptop when I get there (4, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | about 6 years ago | (#24052053)

and VPN into my network here. (In defense, I keep NICE toys up here. Stuff the client doesn't need to know about.)

The client picks up the cost and I don't carry anything when I travel.

The safest place to keep my data is right at home.

When the job is over I wipe the drive anyway, hand it back to the rental place and catch a flight back.

Re:I rent a laptop when I get there (2, Interesting)

citylivin (1250770) | about 6 years ago | (#24052405)

I assume you install a new OS on those rented laptops too, open up the case to look for hardware keyloggers.. etc

Something you bought and secured yourself is way more trustworthy than some random laptop from a rental place.

Re:I rent a laptop when I get there (5, Funny)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 6 years ago | (#24052437)

Is it just me, or did the above post sound like it was written by a hit man? ;)

Re:I rent a laptop when I get there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052525)

I rent a laptop when I get there ... When the job is over I wipe the drive anyway, hand it back to the rental place and catch a flight back.

That works, as long as there is no hardware keylogger in the laptop.
What is so horrible about carrying a laptop on the plane? You can still keep all your data at home and VPN in if you want.

Seems to me... (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 6 years ago | (#24052055)

...we've got all the security personnel in airports watching the wrong group of people!

oddly (1)

nx6310 (1150553) | about 6 years ago | (#24052071)

unlike the laptops that can usually be retrieved, private information once made non-private, is sometimes considered priceless...how much loss does this result in for Persons and Establishments alike?

Am I the only one... (1)

xcham (200708) | about 6 years ago | (#24052151)

Who read that as "the Pokémon Institute" the first time through?

How were they recovered? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 years ago | (#24052171)

How were they recovered? Is it from phone software? Lost & Found? eBay?

Next year... (1)

kialara (145164) | about 6 years ago | (#24052185)

"Due to last years study being posted on the popular nerd site 'Slashdot.org', the number of laptops 'lost' weekly at airports went from 12,000 to 20,000 per week..."

I wonder how much the TSA has to do with this. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052197)

My company has a policy to not let your laptop out of your sight when traveling. That meant put it through the xray machine and wait for it to come out.

The TSA decided to do a random screening on me and take me away from the X-Ray machine one day. I said "Wait, where's my laptop?"

The TSA guy said "don't worry about your laptop, calm down." In the meantime, I turn around and it it pops out of the xray machine, unattended, laying on the conveyor belt, about 10 meters away from me.

I respond "I will not 'calm down.' It has confidential information on it and my company has a policy that it is not to leave my presence when traveling."

So he calls the police on me for being "irrational."

No, I'm not kidding.

lost or stolen (1)

codename.matrix (889422) | about 6 years ago | (#24052205)

Now are they really lost as in "don't know where I put it" or lost as in "somebody took it". I guess the title would say "stolen" and not "lost" if that were the case but how do you lose that many laptops ?

I have them .. (1)

wildem (1267822) | about 6 years ago | (#24052263)

I found most of them, and No ! You can't have them back.

You know you live in a decadent country when... (5, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | about 6 years ago | (#24052273)

"Los Angeles's LAX reported more laptop losses than any other airport, about 1,200 per week. Most of the airports said they generally keep the laptops for some period of times, then destroy them if they are unclaimed."

Destroy perfectly good computers??? Why??? Just destroy the drive, at most. Come on, how stupid can you get? Put them in schools, give them out to students, sell them to another country, but for Pete's sake don't throw them on landfills.

Lost or stolen (2, Insightful)

Haxx (314221) | about 6 years ago | (#24052281)

    I think "Lost" should be replaced with stolen. The numbers are absurdly high, if 624,000 laptops are going missing at airports each year then that is a threat to national security and the goverment should do something. This article is a troll.

Alladins Cave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052345)

Someone who isn't me, should install a tracking device on their laptop then purposely lose it only to find the mother load of lost airport goodies location! Imagine all the free goodies allready covered by insurance claims that obviously won't be making their way back to owners and straight to the nearest landfill.

How to recover a stolen laptop/notebook? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 years ago | (#24052365)

I know the chances of recovering is very low without phoning home method, but there ways to increase the chances even if it is very tiny. Check eBay, Craig's List, Google (e.g., with serial #), etc. (including international ones if stolen outside of USA). Report it to police, where it was stolen (e.g., airport), etc. Anything else else I missed?

Re:How to recover a stolen laptop/notebook? (1)

shermo (1284310) | about 6 years ago | (#24052469)

Carry it as carry-on luggage. Don't let it out of your sight. Prevention is better than a cure

WTF is wrong with people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052487)

I don't fly much, but when I do I am fiercely protective of my laptop. It's only out of my sight when I walk through the metal detector, and even then I keep an eye out to make sure nobody's going to try the 'guy in front of you holds up the security line while another dude makes off with your laptop that has already gone through' scam. And I don't even have anything of material or sentimental value on my laptop-- no customer data, no family photos-- it's just my property that I paid good money for, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna get careless with it.

How much of a dumbass do you have to be to either put something expensive in your checked luggage, walk away from security without collecting your laptop, or otherwise be so lax as to let someone make off with it?

Install encrypted (1)

Britz (170620) | about 6 years ago | (#24052601)

I just got myself my first laptop in 5 years. I need to compute on the rode again. Since I am a longtime Debian user the choice was easy. I got the current beta installer for Lenny:
http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ [debian.org]

And lo and behold: encrypting every partition was very easy to set up using it.

I imagine every current distro should have that feature build into the installer. Just look for it next time you install a laptop.

And if you have to use Windows there is always Truecrypt. So I don't see any reason why the data should not be encrypted.

Common sense (3, Interesting)

jrothwell97 (968062) | about 6 years ago | (#24052705)

I never let my laptop out of my sight anywhere - as has been said, prevention is better than a cure. Do not check it in, take it on as hand luggage. If security wants to check your machine to prove it's not a cleverly disguised stick of dynamite, watch them. Keep an eye on your luggage, and if you see someone opening up a bag and helping themselves to its contents, take a picture with your mobile phone or equivalent: otherwise, it'll be your word against the baggage handler's.

Another thing that tends to stop the machine getting lost/stolen is to take it around in a bag that is not specifically a 'laptop' bag. I stick my Eee PC into my bag, a fabric satchel, and while it does mean that cables get a bit tangled up, everything is safe and it's less likely to draw thieves' attention to it. It also has the added advantage of being able to wrap it around your ankle, so if someone tries to pinch it, you'll feel it tugging against your leg.

I'm going to blatantly pimp my site (again). (0, Offtopic)

rixster_uk (1216414) | about 6 years ago | (#24052771)

I'd like to hear more about any of your disasters at airports. I've no idea where I'm going with this but I thought it was a good idea at the time (oh and I wanted to learn django as well). Tell me here [scareports.com]

The numbers just don't add up (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24052893)

The numbers just don't sound right to me. I almost shut down an airport terminal once, because I forgot to tell the TSA agent that inside my laptop bag was also a Targus Chill Mat, which looks like an aluminum two-burner silver grill with wires sticking out of the sides. One of my children is severely handicapped and hooked up to complicated medical devices, so we have to go through the secondary intensive screening EVERY time we fly. Since we always have to go through the secondary screening process, our carry-on bags are opened by the TSA agents, and they're the ones who take the laptop out of the bag and put it on the conveyor belt.

The Targus chill mat sent everyone around us scrambling into panic mode, and the rent a cops with guns were circling it, staring at it and trying to figure out what the hell it was. Luckily they were in my husband's line of sight and he was able to explain what it was before they cuffed us and hauled us off to Guantanamo. My point is that if one Targus Chill Mat packed inside a laptop computer carry-on bag can cause this kind of commotion, I absolutely do not believe that there are 12,000 abandoned or lost laptops found inside of airports every week.

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