Study: Thousands lose cell phones, gadgets in taxis

Never mind hackers. Beware the taxi cab.

A new survey says about 12,000 electronic devices -- no doubt many of them unsecured -- were left behind in taxi cabs during a six-month period earlier this year in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore areas.

Pointsec Mobile Technologies , the mobile security company that commissioned the survey, said the big numbers might seem surprising in light of the many high-profile data breeches that have been publicized this year, but that losing such devices now has to be considered a fact of life. The question is how companies go about protecting data when such device losses occur.

The survey of 85 taxi companies found that about three-quarters of the lost devices were mobile phones and that about two-thirds of them were lost in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area. About 80 percent of the phones were eventually returned to their owners in the Washington, D.C. area, while about 65 percent were claimed in the San Francisco area.

PDAs were also left behind often, with 2,260 lost in the Washington, D.C. area and 306 in the San Francisco area. A higher percentage of these devices were reclaimed than cell phones.

About 350 laptops were lost between the two areas and all were returned to the owners. Of course, getting the devices back doesn't mean that the data on them wasn't compromised, Pointsec points out.

The results from the United States were part of a global survey of 2,000 cab companies. Among the more shocking numbers: Londoners forgot 54,874 mobile phones (over 2 per taxi) during a six-month period earlier this year.

Of course, people's forgetfulness isn't limited to electronic gadgets. False teeth, artificial limbs, a machine gun and diamonds were among the other items cited as being found in taxis.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Network World staff

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?