In today’s world, a lost or stolen laptop or phone can cause significant damage to your online security. It is especially so if the missing device is a business use device.
Sometimes you may be lucky, and whoever stole it may be a petty thief looking to make a couple of dollars by selling your device to the pawn shop. Other times, your device may end up in the hands of someone skilled enough to hack your computer and your accounts. The good news is that you can take a few steps to reduce the harm.
A laptop computer has a 1 in 10 chance of being stolen, and only 2% of stolen laptops are recovered.
If you ever lose your laptop or fear it has been stolen, here are some preventative measures to reduce the security risk.
What To Do If Your Business Laptop or Phone Goes Missing
Follow these steps immediately if your business phone goes missing due to carelessness or through a snatch and grab.
- Reach out to your managed IT service provider or your company’s IT department and inform them about the loss. That way, they can take care of security issues such as wiping or encrypting data and tracking the devices using tracking software. You’ll need to tell them your computer’s serial number to make tracking it easier. You may also need to contact HR since your personal identity may be at risk.
- File a report with the police and insurance company
- Lock your credit if you’ve ever used the computer or phone to conduct financial transactions. If the thief has access to your credit information, who knows what damage they can do to your finances.
- Criminals can learn a lot about you, such as where you live, work, and bank, by going through your browser history and your emails. So as soon as you have the chance, change your email password, and enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) on it if you haven’t. You should change your bank and social media passwords as well.
- Disable autofill from your browser. Suppose your browser is enabled with the autofill option. In that case, anyone with that laptop can access your account using the browser. You can access another device temporarily which you can use to turn off autofill. You can turn off autofill in chrome by heading to settings, password, and toggling the autofill switch.
- Inform your contacts and tell them to watch out for emails and SMS from you with suspicious links. Phishing and smishing are cybercriminals’ favorite tools, and they may decide to try to use your identity to do some damage to your contact list.
- Deauthorize the stolen device. Apple lets you remove devices logged in with your Apple id. Google has something similar that enables you to remove devices from your trusted device list. You can even remove devices from your Amazon account. So, disable the stolen computer’s access to these services using your temporary laptop. While at it, turn off auto-sync features so linked devices, such as the missing laptop, aren’t updated with new information.
- Once you’ve done all the measures above, you can recover data on your temporary or new laptop/phone. You shouldn’t have lost much if you back up your system regularly. If you need help restoring or recovering your data, you can always meet with the IT team for assistance.
How To Reduce The Chances Of A Stolen Laptop
There’s no predicting the actions of criminals. However, you can make yourself a less appealing target through the following steps.
- A fancy case draws attention. Instead, go for something simple yet stylish.
- If you have to leave your laptop in your car, then keep it hidden in your glove box, trunk, or under your car seat.
- The laptop should be the last thing you place on the conveyor belt when going through airport security. That way, you’ll be at the other end, waiting for it instead of putting it first and leaving it exposed.
- Never leave your laptop unattended when using it in public. Additionally, make sure your computer screen lock is enabled.
- Use a secure password manager so you won’t have to turn on the browser and device autofill.
- Make sure to store your laptop serial number somewhere you can remember. You can write it down and leave it in the glove box.
- Observe your company’s laptop, security, and backup policies.
- For two-factor authentication, consider using a physical security key, such as a YubiKey or Google Titan.
- To protect your hard drive, use full-disk encryption.
- Create automatic backups of your laptop’s data if you need to wipe it remotely.
Need Help with Mobile Device Security?
Learn how your Sturgeon Bay area business can secure your laptops, smartphones, and tablets with help from Quantum Technologies. Use our Contact form or call us at (920) 256-1214.