Laptop theft is on the rise New York Times In a 1998 survey of 458 corporations, government agencies and universities, 65 percent reported that laptops had been stolen from them within the last year. Laptop theft was the third most common type of electronic skulduggery, behind viruses (reported by 84 percent) and insider abuse (78 percent), according to the survey, which was conducted by the Computer Security Institute, an association of computer security professionals in San Francisco. Safeware, a Columbus, Ohio, company that insures computers, reported that it received 309,000 claims reporting stolen laptops in 1997, a 17 percent increase over the year before. About 100,000 desktops were reported stolen that year, the report said. The total cost of the thefts was put at $1.3 billion.