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White House calls for improved laptop security

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In Brief Information security breaches over recent months have prompted the White House to issue recommendations calling for the encryption of data on laptops. New policy guidelines from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also call for agencies to introduce two-factor authentication in securing access to databases within 45 days. Government bodies will also be required to keep a log of information downloaded from databases and verify that redundant data is purged after 90 days.

The policy initiative is designed to protect the personal data of millions of citizens held by federal agencies following a spate of data thefts and disclosures involving federal agencies, such as the theft of a laptop containing the personal details of millions of veterans in May and the loss of a portable computer containing social security numbers of IRS workers and job applicants in June. The guidelines are recommendations rather than mandatory instructions, the Washington Post reports. ®

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