NHS falls victim to another data breach

Staff Writer on

The NHS has had to admit to losing a laptop containing thousands of patient details.

A hospital Trust has become the latest public body to suffer a data loss. The Trust failed to encrypt 21,000 patient details on a laptop which was subsequently stolen.

In a letter sent out to patients following the theft, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust's chief executive Peter Murphy said, "The Trust offers all affected patients its sincere apologies for putting their confidential information at risk.

"Patients and the public should be reassured that the trust takes security and patient confidentiality very seriously. We are holding an investigation into how this incident occurred and its consequences and have suspended the member of staff involved until the investigation concludes."

However, this is unlikely to appease those who's details have been lost, who have already been commenting on blogs online about the conditions under which their details were stored.

The security firm Symantec recently began advising firms on how best to react to such losses, and has released a guide to coping with such an event, including the suggestion that businesses, "Lock down computers or mobile devices using software and physical means; eg use a secure password, use Control ALT Delete when laptops are left alone; encrypt data; use a Kensington Lock, etc."

Richard Archdeacon, Director Symantec Global Security, said, “Many of the recent high profile data loss examples could have easily been avoided but this doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to happen. However, by following these measures, businesses and the Government could avoid many of the high profile examples that have happened recently.”
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