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Navy USB loss shows government departments are still failing to adhere to secuity policies

Cliff Saran

A USB memory stick containing details of Royal Navy personnel was handed in to police after being offered up for sale, according to a report in the Observer.

The USB memory stick is understood to hold information on Royal Navy personnel, including names, ages and ranks. It also contained 'restricted' information on naval operations around the UK, as well as the whereabouts of Royal Navy officers. It was found at the Odyssey car park, near the river Lagan in Northern Ireland. The Observer said the device was offered for sale to a newspaper, which declined the offer, and was later handed to the police in Bangor, County Down.

Sean Glynn, product manager at endpoint security specialist Credant Technologies, said: "Public sector attitudes towards data security must change and the only way to do this is to make data security mandatory in all government departments and agencies. This latest USB stick incident clearly shows what has to be done."

In spite of policies established after the HMRC loss of two CD-ROMs containing confidential data, government department data security is still lax, according to Glynn.

However, he said peoples' attitudes to taking data from the workplace has been changing. "What we are seeing is a fundamental shift in peoples' attitudes towards moving data around, with many more people not thinking twice about porting data from their office PC or laptop to a portable device."


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