Prepare now for device and data theft

Digital device theft is a big problem. I’ve seen numerous stories about iPhones being stolen right from a person’s hand while the user was talking on it. Others have reported sitting in a coffee shop while having a conversation and having someone walk in, see the person’s iPad, swipe it, and before anyone can get out of their chair, be halfway down the block.

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You’d definitely be distraught if someone walked into your office and stole your laptop, which unfortunately very is common too. You’d be out several hundred dollars due to the loss of the hardware. But the reality is, that stolen digital device will cost much more in lost data if a breach occurs—and then, of course, lost time from having to recover from the data loss.

Protect the data and the device:

Dummy terminal: This means your device doesn’t have any data on it. All your data is cloud based or on a central server. If it’s lost or stolen, then the loss is only a hardware one.

  • Make sure any device or dummy terminal is password protected.

Situational awareness: No matter where you are, or as safe as you might think you are, there is a possibility your device will be targeted.

  • Never fight for material items. If thieves want it, they can have it.
  • Reduce the risks by keeping your devices close when riding the subway or on a bus.
  • Never put down your devices and walk away, such as in an airport or coffee shop.
  • Lock all doors in rooms where your devices reside, including in a home, apartment, dorm or office.

Lock/locate/wipe: There are numerous tools available to lock your device if it isn’t password protected (which it had better be!), locate via a GPS or internet/WiFi connection, and wipe the data remotely.

  • Determine if your device has lock/locate/wipe built in, or seek out a third-party application.

Backup data: This is essential and easy to do. Most of your data should already be in the cloud if you are using cloud-based services such as Google Docs.

  • Use Mozy, Crashplan, Carbonite or iCloud—or all of these—to seamlessly back up your data.
  • Use local external drives that copy data to one another.

Backup devices: Is your mobile your life? Then get another one. You need a backup. Is laptop theft a matter of life or death? If you’d have even one day of downtime because of hardware theft, then you need a second laptop.

  • Have all the data synched in the cloud.
  • Consider keeping the device plugged into the network and all your data in sync 24/7/265.

WiFi snooping: It isn’t just hardware theft you need to be concerned about. WiFi snoopers are as common as your everyday smash-and-grab thieves.

  • Protect your WiFi-connected devices with Hotspot Shield VPN. This is a free tool that will encrypt all your data as it travels over a WiFi network.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE [email protected] -to 411247.