Losing your smartphone or laptop can be a source of great anxiety. These devices are essential parts of our daily lives - they store important files, financials, apps and passwords that we rely on.
Their data is far more sensitive than the money in your wallet, due to all of your digital footprints. As such, if a device is lost or stolen, the implications can be grave.
Of course, it's not always the device itself that matters most; rather, it's the data stored on that device that matters most. Access to this data must be granted via cloud accounts or websites; it can be frightening to think of such sensitive information being stolen by a criminal.
Every year, around 70,000,000 smartphones are stolen. Unfortunately, only 7% of these phones are recovered by their owners. It is unfortunately common for workers to be robbed at work; 52% of all stolen devices are found in offices.
Even more serious is if a smartphone or laptop at work goes missing, potentially leading to data privacy violations and/or being used as the launchpad of a ransomware attack.
Lifespan Health System was fined $1,040,000 under HIPAA in 2020 for an unencrypted laptop theft.
It is imperative to assess the minutes following the loss of your device
Doing the right things in those first few minutes after a device goes missing is paramount, no matter if it's personal or business related. Acting quickly can reduce the chance that sensitive data will be exposed, helping reduce exposure risks.
What Information Does Your Device Posses?
A criminal can gain access to a wealth of data by simply taking possession of a tablet, smartphone or laptop. This includes:
- Photos & videos
- Any logged-in account on the device.
- Passwords saved in a browser
- Cloud storage access through syncing accounts
- Text Messages
- SMS-Based Multi-Factor Authentication Prompts
Action Items to Take Right Away After Losing Your Device
Timing is critical when dealing with the loss of a mobile device. Acting quickly can reduce the chance of data breach and minimize potential financial damages.
These are the steps you should take immediately if your device has been lost.
Activate the "Lock My Device" Feature
Many mobile devices and laptops come with a "lock me in" feature that enables remote activation. You should also enable "location service", so thieves won't be able to quickly crack your passcode if they turn that on immediately.
How about "find my device"?
You may notice a "find your device" option in this area. Unfortunately, this feature can only be used to locate your device if it is lost or stolen - making it an unwise idea to meet criminals face-to-face.
If the device is being used for work purposes, notify your company right away
Even if it's just to access work email from a personal smartphone, that counts. Many companies have an endpoint device administrator who can immediately revoke access to their network if needed.
Your company can act quickly if a device is lost or stolen by reporting it immediately. Doing this helps minimize the chance of data breaches.
Log Out & Revoke Access To SaaS Tools
Many mobile devices can be used to log into SaaS tools on an ongoing basis. SaaS stands for Software as a Service and includes accounts such as Microsoft 365, Trello and Salesforce.
Logging in to your account using a different device is the first step. Next, go to your settings' authorized device section and locate the missing device and log out if possible. Alternatively, if available, revoke access for that specific device.
Disconnecting the device from your account will prevent theft, so that no one else has access to it.
Log Out & Revoke Cloud Storage Access
When revoking access, it is essential to include cloud storage apps. Does your missing device sync with a cloud storage platform or not? Otherwise, the criminal could benefit from that connection.
They could upload malicious files that spread infection throughout the storage system. They have the capacity to reset your device in order to resell it, as well as delete files from cloud storage accounts.
Active the "Wipe My Device" feature
It is highly recommended that you back up your devices regularly. Doing so ensures you have a copy of all your files in case something unfortunate should happen to the device.
Could your device have been stolen or lost? If so, use the remote "wipe me device" feature to permanently erase all data from its hard drive. This will ensure that none of your personal information remains on the device.
Mobile Device Security Solutions
Mobile device management is essential for all companies, large or small. Get in touch with us to learn more about our endpoint protection solutions.