Security Risks for Work Laptops
Of the 26% of workers who report having office laptops, 61% say they have critical, sensitive information stored on them. According to a study by CareerBuilder, a significant number of workers may be putting their company or themselves at risk by failing to secure their laptop, sharing passwords, or clicking on links from unknown sources. The study included responses from 3,800 workers nationwide.
In addition to office-related data and documents, a notable percentage of workers said their laptops house a variety of personal files. When asked to identify the type of sensitive information that can be found on their office computers, workers with laptops pointed to:
- Company information48%
- Client information27%
- Personal financial information18%
- Other personal information18%
Most workers also reported leaving their laptops unguarded:
- 57% of workers don’t have a laptop security device.
- 52% don’t lock their computer when they’re away from their desk.
- 25% have left their laptop unsecured overnight.
- Higher theft rates were reported among workers ages 18 to 24; 13% said they have had a work laptop stolen compared to 5% of all workers.
Asked about the accessibility of their passwords:
- Half of workers reported they memorize their passwords; 12 % keep their passwords at their desk, written on their laptop or in their computer case or purse/wallet.
- 27% of workers reported that a co-worker gave them their password.
- 15 % have shared their password with a co-worker. Those age 55+ were the most likely to share passwords, while those 18 to 24 were the least likely.
Other ways workers are putting their companies and themselves at risk:
- 9% of workers have downloaded a virus on their computer at work.
- 18% of workers have opened an attachment or clicked on a link from a sender they didn’t know.
- Eighteen percent of workers said they access corporate email through a smart phone; 5% have lost their smart phone or had it stolen.
CareerBuilder offers these security tips:
- Use hard-to-decipher passwords. Use a different password for home and work and don’t share them with anyone. Make sure your mobile phone requires a password as well.
- Never click on links or attachments from unknown sources. There’s a good chance there may be a virus lurking behind the scenes.
- Don’t leave your laptop unattended. Invest in a laptop security cable and lock your laptop when you’re away from your desk. Avoid leaving your laptop in your car.
- Keep up to date. Make sure your laptop computer’s security has the latest antivirus software to stave off thieves.
- Keep personal information separate. Store personal financial information and other files on your home computer.
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