Feeds

Tax man praised for owning up to lost laptop

Encrypted PC passes leak test

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.