Feeds

Sneak thief steals state secrets in MI5 laptop

Careless. Very careless

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A careless M15 spy has lost top Government secrets after his laptop was pinched while he was buying a train ticket. The thief snatched the £2000 computer from between the agent's feet as he was rummaging in his pockets for change at Paddington station. The agent and two London bobbies gave chase through the crowded station, but the crook sprinted away and disappeared into Paddington's labyrinth of corridors. It is believed that the laptop, stolen on 4 March, is crammed with data crucial to the Northern Ireland peace process and other sensitive issues. A squad of 150 Special Branch and police are reported to be working round the clock to find the laptop, which belonged to a middle-ranking M15 officer. Last night a Government source said: "There is nothing in the laptop which threatens national security. "The information does relate to Northern Ireland. But it does not contain anything about possible IRA or breakaway terrorists' plans to resume bombing campaigns on the mainland if the peace process breaks down," today's Sun newspaper reported. A humiliated M15 insisted the material stored on the laptop was so well encrypted that it would be useless to whoever was in possession of it. But Mike Graves, European marketing manager for Internet security at Hewlett-Packard, told The Register that the information may not be as safe as the Government claims. "All encryption keys have a sell-by date. As long as the information is only sensitive for a short period of time, this is OK. But not for longer-term sensitive information," said Graves. "The time it takes to decrypt expires as computer power grows." The thief was believed to be an opportunist, not someone who targeted the bungling M15 agent, but the incident is yet another humiliation for Britain's undercover units. It comes at a time when M15 is struggling to stop former officer David Shayler from revealing sensitive information. And last year, M16 was unable to stop its former spy Richard Tomlinson splashing British agents' details over the Web.

  • In related news, LG Electronics also fell victim to thieves following CeBIT 2000. The company had its shiny new plasma display panel TV nicked in transit from Germany to another exhibition in India. LG must be kicking itself – it hadn’t applied for a patent of the core technologies on the device, Techrevolt reports.
  • ® Related Stories Web site names UK spies Secret Service eliminates ex-spy's Web site

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.