Cyber SecuritySecurity 101

The Evolution of Mobile Theft & Loss | MTLR 2020

The second edition of our theft and loss statistics report brings new insights on where mobile devices are stolen the most, and who is responsible for it.

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Did you know that the average time in which a person recovers a lost/stolen phone, laptop, or tablet os 4.6 days? Or that home invasions that result in computer theft are on the rise?

Learn this and more on the second edition of the Mobile Theft & Loss Report (which you can read here!), a yearly report we generate at Prey based on our user’s recovery stories and anonymous data.

With this information, we discovered insights on how the theft of phones and laptops take place; as well as the loss of other mobile devices.

What’s New in the Report

The second edition of MTLR introduces the first year-by-year data on device theft; as well as new information on average recovery times, and emerging threat trends.

Year-by-year Changes in Mobile Theft

This time, MTLR presents a year-by-year increase in break-in device theft events, with Home Invasions and Business Break-ins growing by +5.17% and +2.11 respectively; together with a decrease in device theft and pickpockets, -1.88% and -1.65% respectively.

A surprising trend that was displayed is how much theft-related events in schools and universities grew. Pickpockets in these locations grew by +6.37%, whereas common robbery went up by +10.51%.

A New Type of Threat: Opportunists

When the team filtered the content of each individual story, a new emerging threat group was identified: opportunists. These are not your average thief.

Opportunists are average people that share contextual relationships with the device owners, like at school, at work, or being their friend’s friend. These characters steal devices when an opportunity for it presents. They tend to be isolated events in which, for example, a dorm neighbor finds an open door and sees the chance to take a laptop with him.

These actors act silently, and under the protection of the device owner’s own low suspicion over them. These facts make them a very difficult target to predict.

Read the Complete Report

Grab a copy of this year’s MTLR to know mobile device theft and loss thoroughly, with a year-by-year comparison to last year’s report that shows the tendency in each theft type, and affected location. You will find:

  • Theft and loss statistics.
  • Most affected locations and threats.
  • Targeted devices and recovery times.

We will continue to develop new information on our industry’s trends, and to refine our analysis to ensure we keep general awareness on theft tactics accurate.

About the author

Nicolas Poggi

Nicolas Poggi is the head of mobile research at Prey, Inc., provider of the open source Prey Anti-Theft software protecting eight million mobile devices. Nic’s work explores technology innovations within the mobile marketplace, and their impact upon security. Nic also serves as Prey’s communications manager, overseeing the company’s brand and content creation. Nic is a technology and contemporary culture journalist and author, and before joining Prey held positions as head of indie coverage at TheGameFanatics, and as FM radio host and interviewer at IndieAir.