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MoD laptop theft due to lack of employee training.

SafeBoot : 22 January, 2008  (Technical Article)
Readily available encryption technology not used on laptop containing sensitive public data which was subsequently lost.
Des Browne, Defence Secretary, has announced in a House of Commons statement that the stolen Navy laptop contained unencrypted data leaving 60,000 employees and potential recruits at risk of identity theft and, worse still, terrorist targeting.

Following this statement, Tom de Jongh, product manager, SafeBoot, a data encryption and mobile security expert comments:

'This is just another serious data security breach to add to the list and the government really should have learned from its past mistakes. It was revealed in Browne's statement that 347 laptops have been stolen from the Ministry of Defence in the last three years. This defies belief.

'Clearly common sense should have dictated that a computer left in a car overnight is dangerous. However, the main concern is that the data was not encrypted. It is not that the government is failing to put security policies in place, but whether it is enforcing them. Data encryption provides a transparent security safety net that does not interfere with an employees' work. So why when we have the technology available does this keep happening?

'Another call to action for the government is the education of public sector employees. Over the past few months, individual negligence has left citizen and government employee data at huge risk. These individuals are not only leaving themselves open to severe disciplinary consequences, but putting peoples' data and safety at risk. In a recent SafeBoot survey of 1,000 IT managers it was found that four out of five public sector employees ignore security policies laid down. This latest MoD revelation is really putting this statistic into context.

'Of course having a policy in place and educating employees cannot offer complete safety, but communicating policy properly to all employees and making data security part of the culture of government organisations is a big leap in the right direction. The government needs to get its house in order to ensure that we do not see any further examples of such severe incompetence.'
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