Laptop theft: a case study on effectiveness of security mechanisms in open organizations

T. Dimkov, Wolter Pieters, Pieter H. Hartel

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    Organizations rely on physical, technical and procedural mechanisms to protect their physical assets. Of all physical assets, laptops are the probably the most troublesome to protect, since laptops are easy to remove and conceal. Organizations open to the public, such as hospitals and universities, are easy targets for laptop thieves, since every day hundreds of people not employed by the organization wander in the premises. The problem security professionals face is how to protect the laptops in such open organizations. In this study, we look at the eectiveness of the security mechanisms against laptop theft in two universities. We analyze the logs from laptop thefts in both universities and complement the results with penetration tests. The results from the study show that surveillance cameras and access control have a limited role in the security of the organization and that the level of security awareness of the employees plays the biggest role in stopping theft. The results of this study are intended to aid security professionals in the prioritization of security mechanisms.
    Original languageUndefined
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT)
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

    Publication series

    NameCTIT Technical Report Series
    PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology, University of Twente
    ISSN (Print)1381-3625


    • physical security
    • penetration tests
    • EWI-17358
    • SCS-Cybersecurity
    • METIS-270719
    • Laptop theft
    • security awareness
    • IR-69903
    • Case Study

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