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The number of laptops and tablets stolen in one country and recovered in another is on the rise.

Absolute Software's second annual Endpoint Security Report records that stolen kit that had not been nicked locally had been recovered in an additional eight countries as far afield as Mongolia, Gambia, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. In the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), London is the top theft location, followed by Kampala in Uganda and Pretoria in South Africa.

Across the EMEA region, businesses have become the top device theft hotspot, for both internal and external burglary. This is a change from figures covering 2011, where homes and cars were the top theft location for corporate devices.

Globally, the US came in as the top country for thefts of the kit, with Australia at number two and the UK at number three.

Schools were the single biggest scenes of laptop theft crime in the US but ranked at only number four in EMEA.

The study, based on data from the 6 million devices protected by Absolute’s Computrace software, also reports that enterprises are making increasing use of remote data deletion and sensitive data retrievals from stolen devices.

The number of remote data deletes has risen by 34 per cent, and the amount of devices from which data is being remotely retrieved has increased by 135 per cent, the study said.

Just under 5GB of data was retrieved from stolen devices in 401 file retrievals carried out by Absolute Software during 2012, a figure which compares to 171 data retrieval jobs last year, the report said.

The device theft data in Absolute's report is compiled from 12,705 theft reports it received during 2012, a figure that compares to 13,818 in its previous annual report, which covered 2011. Data deletion jobs rose from 4,812 in 2011 to 6,442 last year.

The endpoint security and computer management firm notes that organisations are under pressure to adhere to stricter data breach compliance, such as the European data protection laws. As a result, organisations are focusing less on hardware recovery and more on the security of the data itself.

“With reputations on the line, it is no longer simply the cost of the device but the wealth of sensitive data sitting within tablets, laptops and smartphones that is causing IT and business headaches," explained Derek Skinner, regional director, recovery and investigative services EMEA, Absolute Software.

"It is no surprise therefore that our report reveals a rise in remote data wipes. The sooner an organisation can secure a stolen device and render the data on it unusable to thieves, the easier it is for it to prove there hasn’t been a data breach.” ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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