Data Hung Out To Dry: 9,000 USBs Left in Dry Cleaners

Data leakage and data loss is at an all time high. USBs, or memory sticks, which are now used to download and transport large amounts of sensitive data, may be largely to blame. A recent survey by Texas-based data security experts Credant Technologies found that, in the last year, 9,000 USB sticks have been forgotten in pockets when people take their clothes to the local dry cleaners.

The survey was carried out in the United Kingdom (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. The survey was also designed as a warning to be vigilant when downloading information, as it does frequently get lost.

A similar survey was conducted by Credant Technologies recently amongst taxi drivers in London and New York and showed that over 12,500 handheld devices such as laptops, iPods, and memory sticks are forgotten at the back of taxis every six months.

Michael Callahan, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Credant Technologies, stated, “Although we conducted this survey in the UK, the idea was to show people everywhere how easy it is to lose data — even in their local dry cleaners — and that none of us are infallible. We’re convinced if we were to do the same survey in the US we’d get very similar results. 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.”

According to the survey, many mobile devices now have the capacity to store as much as 10,000 documents, 11,000 pictures, 500,000 contact details, or 1.1 million emails, making them an obvious target for identity theft criminals…

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