Northern Ireland news

Christmas revellers warned about leaving mobiles and laptops in bars

Christmas revellers are being warned that strangers could access their sensitive information if unsecured phones and laptops are left in bars. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

REVELLERS celebrating Christmas are being warned about leaving their mobile phones and laptops in bars during the party season.

Internet security firm Eset issued the warning after new research, involving over 600 bars across the UK, revealed that over half of the devices lost by pub-goers did not have security settings installed.

More than 138,000 phones and laptops are left behind by UK drinkers each year, with 64 per cent lacking any security to stop strangers accessing personal and sensitive materials, including bank account details.

Even worse – 60 per cent of people who had found a device in a bar confessed to having looked through it.

The good news is that Eset also found that 83 per cent of lost items were reunited with their owner.

Eset security specialist Mark James said: “As we head into the festive season, offices will be preparing for Christmas parties, which will inevitably involve alcohol consumption and people dropping their guard more than usual.

“This could also mean people taking work laptops and mobile phones along to parties and, based on the figures from our study, accidentally forgetting them when they leave for home. While the majority of the devices in our study do get returned to their owners, there is still a high chance that those with no security protection are accessed by intruders.

“As our laptops and mobile phones begin to carry more and more sensitive information and are linked to bank and work accounts, there is a greater need to protect them because the risks are much higher should the devices ever fall into the wrong hands,” Mr James said.

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