Private information exposed as over 2,000 UK Government technological devices stolen

Private information exposed as over 2,000 UK Government technological devices stolen

Viasat a global communications company has found that more than 2000 technological devices e.g. smartphones, laptops and external storage devices belonging to government members are at risk of exposing private information.

The research shows that security also needs to be stepped up for public sector employees as 39 devices are being lost or stolen per working week – or eight per working day – between 1 June 2018 and 1 June 2019.

The data provided is clearly showing that the UK should be doing a lot more now when securing data.

A shocking find from this data was that at least 1,474 devices were reported as being lost; 347 as stolen; and 183 were unknown. Of these devices, just 249 were recovered.

Steve Beeching, managing director of Viasat UK has insisted that encrypting devices is not enough when protecting data from hackers.

“Despite the progress made on encrypting devices, the fact that unencrypted government devices are still being lost is concerning, suggesting more needs to be done to ensure data is protected at all times.

"For devices this means total encryption – going beyond password protection to secure data at a hardware level. While the necessity for security is clear in areas such as defence and security, all government departments run the risk of a damaging security breach.

"It only takes one device getting into the wrong hands to give malicious actors access to sensitive content, whether top-secret information or personal data.”

FoI requested government departments for the date of their last audit by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). However, just 8 government departments came back that they have not been audited by the ICO.

Five of the eight departments that reported their last ICO audit, the most recent was the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which last audited in 2017. At the opposite end of the scale, the Ministry of Defence last recorded their audited in 2010.

The ICO audit data has been described as “worrying” by Beeching who feels more action needs to happen to prevent cyber-attacks by Nation State Actors and other individuals.

The report is available here.

Copyright Lyonsdown Limited 2021

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