All Sections

Viagra, condoms and over 20,000 USB sticks left in dry cleaners by privacy-indifferent Brits

As if picking rubbish passwords wasn’t enough, it seems as if we can’t wait to give away our innermost secrets to total strangers – or at least the guys at the dry cleaners. 

Research from security firm ESET reveals that last November, 22,266 USB memory sticks and 973 phones were found in coat pockets by staff in over 500 dry cleaners. Other items that turned up in garments included several Viagra pills, condoms, £1,600 in cash and a dead rat. It’s unclear if these items were all found in the same garment or the findings are unrelated. 

Related: How to create a strong passwordESET security specialist Mark James said that while 55 per cent of devices were returned to their owners, this leaves 45 per cent – or 10,019 – that weren’t. 

James said: “It is a huge concern that so many devices are being completely forgotten about by their owners, particularly in light of the fact that stories about the loss of crucial information is creating news headlines every day. 

“In the wake of recent security breaches against high profile organisations it is time for people to start taking their own security more seriously. Data is of high value on the dark net and cybercriminals will always be on the look out for anything they can find.”

While James argues that it’s reasonable to assume that a percentage of the lost sticks could have contained sensitive data, it’s also a fair bet that if this was the case, stories may have broken in the news by now

You might be reading this while syncing several gigabytes of nudez to the cloud and think to yourself ‘USB Sticks? What are those, grandad?’ 

While cloud storage lockers are neat, convenient and theoretically limitless (provided you’ve got the cash) the upshot is, do you really trust Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and others not to look at your private details? 

Enter the humble USB stick, which guarantees prying eyes won’t see your files – provided you either encrypt them or don’t leave them with the guys who do your laundry. 

Comments