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Man jailed over air traffic control IT kit eBay scam

Pushing Tin

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An engineer who sold £58,000 of kit stolen from the UK's National Air Traffic Control Centre on eBay to pay off a credit card debt was jailed for 15 months on Monday.

Andrew Woffinden, 43, of Fareham, Hampshire, a former IT worker with Serco, turned criminal in order to pay off his wife's credit card bills. During a sentencing hearing at Portsmouth crown court, Judge Peter Henry described Woffinden as a "threat to national security", because he had sold Swanwick base computers containing commercial and military flight data.

The judge discounted defence arguments that Woffinden had wiped the information after hearing that the accused lacked the requisite skills to do the job properly, the Daily Mirror reports.

Chris McIntosh, chief exec of hardware encryption firm Stonewood Group, said it was highly unlikely that national security was threatened by Woffinden's criminal actions. "National security is highly unlikely to have been compromised in this case, as top secret information must be protected by CESG-approved encryption products," McIntosh explained. "This means that if a laptop or USB is stolen, then the data on it can't be accessed without the encryption key."

"The only way that national security would have been put at risk is if Woffindin also had access to and was selling the encryption keys. Moreover, the laptops may not even have had top secret data on them," he added. ®

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