Celebs suffer data loss after theft of laptops

Public attention has been turned onto the potential damage that can be caused by the theft of a portable computer, after two celebrities became victims of this crime, losing significant personal data in the process.

Hollywood star Keira Knightly was one of the high profile targets who had reported two laptops taken during a break-in, according to police. Obviously the data stored on these devices could be of significant value to the tabloid press and there are concerns that the criminals will be able to make financial gains from the private information, either via blackmail or direct sale.

This news has come shortly after it was claimed an as yet anonymous pop singer was coerced by criminals, after pictures stored on a stolen laptop were used as leverage.

In this second incident two laptops manufactured by Apple were stolen from the singer, who is said to be internationally renowned, after which images depicting sensitive scenes were used to blackmail the artist.

Data security expert Christ McIntosh, said that thanks to these incidents, public awareness about how criminals who steal laptops are able to exploit the data which they contain, will be increased.

Mr McIntosh pointed out that while most data loss scandals involve public or private sector organisations, these thefts prove that individuals can be just as much at risk from similar catastrophes.

Since many people store financial details, private pictures and personal data on laptops, any exposed computing equipment becomes a target for criminals, valued more than the basic worth of the hardware alone.

Mr McIntosh is insistent that the public has no reason to live in a constant state of fear, but believes there are steps that everyone should take in order to minimise the likelihood of being impacted by data loss or theft.

Password protection, encryption of data and browsing history deletion are just a few of the recommended actions to take, along with a policy of never noting down information relating to banking, so that if a laptop is stolen, it is of little use to the criminals.

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