According to The Inquirer a new report by the Ponemon Institute, rather appropriately sponsored by Dell, has revealed that an astonishing number of laptops are lost at airports across the United States on a weekly basis.

Asking questions of 800 business travellers at some 106 major airports in the US, the Ponemon Institute also discovered that on average only 30 percent of those lost laptops are recovered. Which is worrying as just under half the people taking part in the survey admitted their laptops are full of confidential business data.

When you work it out over the course of a year that works out to some 624,000 lost laptops, just in airports. Around 300,000 of them full of confidential data, and 195,000 of those with no encryption or protection to keep that data from prying eyes in the event of such a loss. Only 60,000 will be statistically likely to have either whole-disk or file encryption in place. If you look at the figures in the report, 126,000 of those lost laptops will not even have been backed up before the owner left on his or her trip.

So, where in an airport are you most likely to get separated from your lappy? That's easy: the security checkpoint. If you want to be specific about it, the survey would suggest that the best place to avoid if you value your laptop would be the security checkpoint at Los Angeles LAX airport.

Chairman of the Ponemon Institute Larry Ponemon says "IT departments must re-evaluate the steps they’re taking to protect mobile professionals, the laptops they carry, and company data stored on mobile devices."

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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