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News

MOD laptop loss figures revised upwards

Lumension Security : 21 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
Another Defence Ministry laptop has gone missing bringing the toll over the last four years to a staggering 747
The Ministry of Defence has admitted that a laptop containing sensitive information was stolen as an official checked out of a Liverpool hotel. At the same time, Defence Secretary Des Browne was forced to issue revised figures after 'anomalies in the reporting process' were discovered. He reported that the MoD had 658 laptops stolen in the past four years, almost double the 347 previously claimed to have gone missing. In addition, 89 laptops have been lost, and only 32 recovered.

Alan Bentley, VP of Lumension Security EMEA (formerly PatchLink):

"Theft and negligence are a fact of life and you can and should try and prevent it. However, the number of laptops stolen should not be a concern to the Government or the public. It is the data that was on the latest stolen laptop, which is the only important yardstick for whether this latest incident is a problem for the MoD. Auto encrypting the whole laptop whilst off line is relatively easy. The hard and therefore the most at risk part is knowing exactly what data is coming in and going out of your network from the end point.

"Data leakage is not just about prevention, it is about the confidence to report on all the information transferred to and from removable media. As sensitive data becomes more and more of a target, it is imperative that Government departments know exactly what data is held on what device.

"The only way to eliminate data loss from removable devices is to take control of the flow of inbound and outbound data from your endpoints and encrypt the data during transmission. However, taking control of data leakage is no mean feat. Government departments everywhere need to establish and enforce device control policies that assign permissions to individuals and devices."
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