Watermark Retirement Communities suffers laptop theft


Late on Thursday afternoon people all around California were getting ready for July 4th celebrations the next day. What a better time to release notice of a stolen laptop then at that point. Maybe, just maybe, no one would notice.

Yeah, about that.

Watermark Retirement Communities Inc. is a company that provides retirement living facilities all around the US including New York, Florida, Massachusetts and California. Unfortunately for Watermark they lost a laptop on June . The laptop in question was locked in a car. A thief broke into the vehicle and took the machine along with other valuables. Now, I won’t belabour the issue that it is never a good idea to leave a laptop in your car. I will however, lose my cool in one particular case.

From the notification:

Since June 13, 2014, we have undertaken an investigation to determine what was stolen, as well as the likelihood that any harm would result. We have been advised by authorities knowledgeable in this area that the thief was likely interested only in stealing the hardware and will be unable and/or uninterested in accessing the information on the hard-drive.

Um, what?

Beyond relying on Occam’s razor, I’m curious as to how they could say that with a straight face. But wait, there is more. The information on the stolen laptop contained customer personal information including, name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth and social security numbers. But, never fear, “The laptop was password protected.”

At this point my head exploded.

This is doing a disservice to their customers by giving them a false sense of security. This sort of reaction comes up more often than I care to mention. A password is of little benefit if a bad actor has physical access to the system. Encrypt your laptops.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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