High street pharmacist Boots has lost thousands of customer bank details after a back up tape was stolen from the van of a security contractor.
The tape was stolen from Medisure, the company that administers Boots' Dental Plan. Medisure in turn employed a security company that handled one of the back up tapes and this was stolen from one of its vans on 3 April.
Boots said that Medisure has informed the Financial Services Authority about the theft and wrote to customers on 19 April.
A Boots statement claimed, "Because of the type of data tape that was stolen and the way the information was stored it is highly unlikely that any personal data could be accessed or misused."
Although Medisure did not say whether the data was encrypted, it did say in its own letter to customers that opening the tapes would require highly specialised IT equipment and could not be used on any home-style PCs or laptops.
"Reviewing this incident closely with the Police, they consider this to be an opportunist theft rather than a planned operation," Medisure said in the letter.
The case comes nearly a year after the Financial Services Authority (FSA) fined the Nationwide Building Society (Nationwide) £980,000 for failing to have proper controls to manage its information securely. It also follows the government's own loss of 25 million child benefit discs.
A security survey conducted by the Government this week revealed that security breaches cost UK plcs several billions of pounds.
Announcing the results of the survey, Business Minister Shriti Vadera said,: "New technology is a key source of productivity gains, but without adequate investment in security defences these gains can be undermined by IT security breaches.