Laptop Theft on Campus

Five instances of laptop theft have been reported to MIT Police since August 16. All of these incidents occurred in MIT campus residences, with the laptops removed from rooms that were left open or unlocked.

Laptop theft can lead to not just inconvenience for the owner but also access to his or her personal information by criminals. Additionally, a substantial data breach could occur, depending on the amount and type of information the computer contains. For example, earlier this month a laptop that contained 7,000 student Social Security numbers was stolen from a college campus in New York City.

Costs associated with computer theft range from that of replacing the hardware and software to potentially millions of dollars for forensics, remediation for identity theft, and reputation management. The average cost of a data breach incident in the U.S. is $6.75 million.

Suggestions:

  • Keep your doors locked. If you live in a campus residence, that includes locking the door to your room.
  • If someone who you don’t recognize follows you into a residence or office building, ask the front desk worker to call MIT Police. The police would much rather respond and find that there is nothing wrong than not prevent a theft from occurring.
  • Register your laptop computer with the MIT Police by attending the next Security Tracking of Office Property (STOP) tagging sessions; they will be held on Monday, September 20 and Wednesday, September 22 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in Lobby 10. There is a $10 cash fee for this loss prevention measure. (Departments can use a cost object code.)

Safety starts with you! If you see something, say something – call the MIT Police at 617.253.1212.

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About MIT
IT Security Awareness Consultant and Communications Specialist at MIT

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