Feeds

Tax man praised for owning up to lost laptop

Encrypted PC passes leak test

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.