UK MoD Lost and Stolen Computers Down to 12 a Month

Back in 2008, I blogged about the UK Ministry of Defence losing control of 15 computers along with several USB memory sticks per month. At the time, the news caused quite a stir, with the MoD promising that it would be working to impress upon its personnel the importance of keeping control of its sensitive information assets.

Well, the MoD has released new figures for 2010, and I thought it would be interesting to see the security awareness progress made. According to this story in ComputerWeekly, the MoD lost 47 USB sticks and 57 computers and laptops in 2010, and had another 3 USB sticks and 85 laptops stolen, for a total of 50 USB sticks and 112 computers and laptops that went missing.

This works out to losing control of about 12 computers and laptops, along with 4 USB sticks, per month.

Slow progress, one might say.

Furthermore, back in 2008 when everyone was stirred up by the losses, the MoD promised that it was going to ensure from then on that the data in its portable information assets were encrypted. Alas, as this article in SC magazine from last summer indicates, this objective still has a way to go before it is achieved.

Well, there's always next year.

In another MoD-related story this week that does not cast the Ministry in any better light, apparently, emails were sent to 38 long career and long serving warrant officers (all with 22 years or more of service),  including one stationed in Afghanistan, informing them that they were going to be sacked as part of the on-going UK military's downsizing.

When made public, this caused widespread outrage and forced the Defense Secretary Liam Fox to publicly apologize to the soldiers and the House of Commons. Major General Richard Barrons, the assistant Chief of the General Staff, admitted this week that the case would likely negatively affect troop morale as well.

The British Army says that the emails should have been sent to the soldiers' commanding officers, who in turn should have broken the news to them in person, as has been done with 100 RAF student pilots this week.

It doesn't change the results one iota, but at least it is a bit more humane.

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