The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that it has suffered from multiple cases of lost data over the last two years with a recorded number of lost or stolen laptops totalling 340. They have also admitted that over half these were unencrypted meaning the receipient of the laptop could easily access information of the internal hard disks. Of the number stolen only 25 were actually returned.
This information has come to light after a Freedom of Information request by Lewis PR. Of the 340 laptops only a third were actually stolen the rest, numbering 220, were simply lost or misplaced by the users. However, more worrying, is the the admitted loss of additional data storage items - 593 CD / DVDs, 215 USB Memory Sticks, 96 Hard Disks and 13 Mobiles. All of these had sensitive data on that was not placed under some form of encryption. The effect of this data loss is not just the possibility that state secrets and operational matters of the MoD could fall into the wrong hands but the estimated financial loss exceeds £750,000.
Many experts have expressed suprise that the devices were not encrypted. Dave Everitt, general manager at Absolute Software, said: “There are so many examples of bad practice here, within the very organisations that should be setting the example for everyone else, it is shocking. The sheer number of devices that were lost or stolen from the MoD is evidence that for all the hackers and computer viruses in the world, simple human error is still the biggest security threat to our national security."
Another Mr Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure, said: “It's scandalous that such a large amount of equipment and data has gone missing. There seems to be a cavalier approach to the storage and protection of data. Who knows what damage could be done to the UK if this material gets into the wrong hands?” TRC Data Recovery are experts in the recovery of lost data from failed devices, we also offer secure online data backup facilities and proactive data management for clients both SME's and home users. Contact us for information and pricing