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News

Multiple laptop theft demonstrates physical security is not enough

Lumension Security : 18 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
Locking portable computers in a secure cabinet proves inadequate as 6 laptops go missing from London hospital
Six laptops containing information about 20,000 patients have been stolen from a south London hospital. The computers were taken from a locked cabinet in a secure room at St George's Hospital in Tooting, earlier this month. It is reported that the laptops were password protected and personal information, such as postcodes, were hidden - although the patient's name and hospital number were shown.

Andrew Clarke, Senior Vice President International, Lumension Security comments:

"This latest data loss demonstrates the lengths that determined thieves will go through to get hold of personal data or indeed computer equipment. Whilst locking laptops in cabinets is good advice and a practice that most of us adhere to when going home for the evening, it does not provide stringent enough protection for the public's personal data. The cabinets are there simply to secure the hardware and shouldn't be seen as protection for the data itself.

"Public sector organisations need to take control of their data and monitor all the information that is transferred to and from removable media. By capturing a full copy of the data and providing a comprehensive audit trail, organisations will be able to see where data has been moved to and know if sensitive data is at risk. Policies can be put in place to ensure that only approved data is allowed to be stored on laptops. And, this data must be encrypted to ensure it can't be seen by the infiltrators."
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