Notebook security in the UK is slack, with a third of users taking more care of their mobile phone than of their laptop computer, according to a survey published today.
An independent survey conducted by researcher Mori, on behalf of Compaq, found that 60 per cent of UK employees do not use a password when logging on to a PC or laptop. Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of the 2000 people quizzed in the poll do not take extra precautions to protect their laptop or its data when out of the office.
The alarming figures come after several high-profile laptop thefts. In March, a notebook containing sensitive information on Northern Ireland was stolen from an MI5 intelligence agent at a London railway station. A laptop was also stolen from an MI6 agent in the UK this year.
Read more: Laptop security varies across regions
The survey found that more than a third of users do not keep copies of confidential files kept on laptops, despite the fact that half of the respondents believed that laptops are susceptible to theft. One third of respondents even admitted that they took more care of their mobile phone than their laptop.
The research investigated use of passwords to protect data and attitudes towards laptop protection.
A quarter of those who use a password find it difficult to remember and write it down, while one in 10 people share their passwords with office colleagues. The survey also provided evidence of password overload, with more than one third of respondents now using about three passwords.
The growing number of passwords is having an impact on IT helpdesks, with up to 50 per cent of calls relating to users forgetting their passwords. This is despite the fact that 15 per cent of people use their own name for passwords.
In the face of these risks, Compaq offers some advice on notebook security. It says that stealing laptops from airport conveyor belts is on the increase, so users should delay putting notebooks on the belt until they're the next one through.
Compaq also advises users not to leave notebooks in cars and to lock them away when not being used. It said users should keep a note of the hardware type and serial number of a laptop and keep it separately, but should never write down passwords.
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