Feeds

Tax man praised for owning up to lost laptop

Encrypted PC passes leak test

Security for virtualized datacentres

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has become the latest organisation to apologise to clients as the result of a lost laptop.

A machine containing personal data was stolen from the car of an HMRC staff member last month, the UK tax department confirmed on Monday. The tax worker had been using the laptop for a routine audit of tax information from several investment firms.

The laptop held data on around 400 customers with high value individual savings accounts (ISAs) at five firms, the BBC reports.

HMRC said data on the laptop was protected by "complex password and top level encryption". The circumstances surrounding the theft are the topic of an internal investigation which may result in disciplinary action against the staff member involved.

HMRC said it alone was responsible for the laptop's loss. No third party contractor was involved, as has been the case with other lost laptop ID theft flaps.

Security experts said HMRC's voluntary disclosure illustrated changing attitudes and sensitivites about data loss reporting.

Jamie Cowper, director of European marketing at PGP Corporation, said: "With top level encryption making it virtually impossible to access the data held on the stolen laptop, HMRC had no real obligation or reason to report the breach. As such, this voluntary disclosure shows a refreshing level of ethical responsibility and commitment to its customers."

A printout of personal details and financial information of some people was also taken during the same theft, which happened on the night of 20/21 September. These people have been contacted by HMRC.

A woman, who passport details and address appeared on the print-out, is concerned she may now be exposed to identity theft. She remains highly critical of HMRC.

"This is highly sensitive material and shows a total disregard by HMRC for the nature of the information with which they are entrusted by client customers," she said. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.