I saw this ad on Craigslist:
Stolen White MacBook – $1000 (berkeley)
Date: 2009-07-29, 1:57AM PDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
White MacBook stolen by two African American men near North Berkeley BART at 11:30 PM July 28, 2009. Willing to pay $1000 for the stolen laptop no questions asked as long as information is provided letting me know you have the laptop I want. Tell me the screensaver and the name of a few documents on the desktop.
Wow – $1,000 just to get your own laptop back, when you can buy it new for less. Clearly, this person is offering to pay ransom for his/her data. Specifically, for one or both of two things:
- to get the data back
- to prevent others from seeing it
As for #2, sorry, it’s too late. If there’s anything juicy on the MacBook – too bad, it’s already out there. As for #2, that may work .. or not. Which brings me to the often discussed point of laptop / notebook security: there is none.
Whether it’s thieves, industrial spies or Customs Agents at International Airports, just about anybody can dig into your data: it’s simply not safe to carry it around on an easy target like a laptop. Keep it in the Cloud instead.
When you use Web-based apps, you only have to replace the stolen / broken hardware, your data is still and instantly available to you as soon as you get online. The computer / iPhone / Startek Communicator are just access devices, they are no longer the trusted Vault where your data resides (and escapes from).