Eden laptop theft sparks ID theft fears
There's trouble in paradise after a third-party supplier lost a laptop containing the personal details of hundreds of workers at Cornwall's Eden Project. The theft of the PC from the car of a worker for Moorepay, the firm that handles the project's payroll, has sparked ID theft fears.
Information held on the PC included the names, addresses, bank particulars, National Insurance numbers for 500 workers at the attraction. It's unclear whether the payroll details of other firms were compromised by the attack.
Tim Smit, Eden's creator, told the BBC: "A computer containing the personal details of employees of a number of companies, including the Eden Project Ltd, has been stolen from the car of an employee working for a contracted payroll company. Suffice to say we are appalled at the lapse of security and are making sure that our personal data is never put in such a vulnerable position again," he added. Police are investigating the 1 June theft, which became public this week.
Security experts said the case highlighted the fact that a firm's security exposure was reliant on that of its suppliers. "As well as putting internal security measures in place - enterprises need to be more cautious regarding third party companies that they share sensitive information such as payroll details with," said Jamie Cowper, marketing director at data encryption firm PGP, "Without a thorough assessment of the threat status of companies such as Moorepay, existing security policies can easily be rendered useless." ®
Security and working
1. If the employee works from home as part of his normal contract, what on earth is ANY company data doing on the laptop, rather than being reached over VPN on a secure, shared drive? How about back-up of changed data etc.?
2. If working from home is extra to the normal working hours, sort out the resourcing, that makes this necessary, to make it unnecessary.
3. As said, data on disc can be encrypted on the fly (lucky MAC OS users have this available as standard software).
4. Many laptops now can be secured by requiring a fingerprint to enable booting.
5. As has been said, data that really must be taken off site can be on a USB memory stick that can itself be secured with passwords, encryption etc..
Too many people honestly believe that nothing on their laptop is sensitive or believe that their presentations hold nothing confidential and, if lost, can be recreated within a few hours (my partner for one), whatever you tell them, whatever horror stories they read.
hd encrption. childs play
such laptops SHOULD have hard drive encryption. even a basic auditor would be dumb not to ensure that was company policy. I can foresee that even with Vista, many companies just arent going to use BitLocker. 'too much effort' and 'you're very paranoid arent you?' would be the usual comments.
nine till five
Of course, Staff who can work from home as part of their contract should have a secure access. For the rest, if the employers didn't require staff to work well beyond their contracted hours they wouldn't be taking the stuff home to work on.