Thieves steal UK government computers

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The UK government has been hit by over 150 cases of computer theft in the last year, newly released figures show.

Over half the cases occurred at the Home Office (one of the larger government departments), which recorded 95 incidents since January this year. Other departments suffering include the Department for Education and Skills, the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence.

But some experts say the figures are merely indicative of large organisations.

"Although on first count the numbers of lost or stolen government laptops and PCs look alarming, we do not believe the government is any different than any large corporation in the number of devices that are lost as a percentage of the installed base," said Peter Jaco, CEO of the encryption company BeCrypt.

Recommended policies advise that government laptops ad PC's should be encrypted to prevent any sensitive information form leaking into the public domain.

"The UK Government, unlike UK industry, has policies in place to protect national data assets with encryption products that have been approved for use within the UK Government by the GCHQ's Technical Authority for Information Assurance the Communication Electronic Security Group (CESG)," said Jaco. "This is just a timely reminder to everyone, whether in the Government or commercial arena, to encrypt their mobile devices to avoid losing confidential data and compromising their data security."

In April SC Magazine reported a Ministry of Defence laptop containing sensitive information was found in a dump.

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