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Bank of England loses 161 computing devices in three years

Bank cannot account for phones, laptops and tablets that have gone missing over the past three years

The Bank of England has lost a total of 161 mobile phones, laptops and tablets over the past three years.

With remote working being introduced at many organisations, mobile devices are being used by more and more staff, and with sensitive data on these devices, they must ensure precautions are taken to prevent losses.

As a financial services regulator, the Bank of England deals with highly confidential data and must set a good example to the organisations it regulates.

A freedom of information request by Parliament Street Think Tank found that in the three years from September 2018, the Bank of England lost 161 devices, including mobile phones, tablets and laptops. A total of 29 were reported stolen and 132 lost.

The figures show that things have improved over the three years, with 82 lost between September 2018 and August 2019, 54 in the following year, and 27 lost or stolen in the last year to August 2021.

Over the three years, the Bank of England lost 104 mobile phones, 51 laptops and seven tablets.

Edward Blake, area vice-president EMEA at Absolute Software, which focuses on securing endpoint technology, said: “With workforces now dispersed due to remote working, the use of personal phones and newly purchased laptops has gone up, and therefore so has the threat posed by hackers.

“If a lost or stolen device ends up in the wrong hands, the Bank of England could be facing consequences far more severe than the cost to replace them. For example, sophisticated cyber criminals can steal the data contained on these devices, access more businesses files, or intercept emails between colleagues, for the purpose of data theft, monetary gain, high-profile scams or ransomware.”

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