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British businesses are too complacent over IT security and risk becoming easy targets for fraudsters and other would-be cyber criminals, the British Computer Society warns.

The organisation says uk.plc needs to get its act together on security or risk growing cybercrime losses. The society, which seeks to raise IT standards and promote best practice, highlights risks such as corporate data being lost from company laptops in its BCS Review 2005.

The publication offers six 'golden rules' for mobile security. Tips include: not allowing employers to use their own mobile device to store company information; recording the serial numbers of all PDAs and similar devices (including memory cards) and making use of access control and encryption technology mandatory.

The BCS Review 2005 features various case studies, best practice guidelines and an analysis of various topical issues in IT. Biometric identification, offshore outsourcing, ecommerce and IT training and education are all discussed at length. But its primary focus is IT security.

Although the threat of external cyber-criminals looms high in the public perception, the BCS warns that internal miscreants pose a greater security threat. The review draws particular attention to workers that have access to sensitive data such as salary databases, takeover plans, product research and development information and the like. Sensitive information should be protected using "simple security measures, such as encryption".

Public Key Infrastructure is a technology that never took off as expected but the BCS reckons that "encryption is now more easily and economically enforceable with the overheads of complexity and time delays previously associated with the technology now reduced. Using a 'vault' concept to store encryption keys, vaults can be stored off-line on smart cards or convenient USB key ring devices. This approach also offers protection even for a stolen laptop," it adds. ®

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