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Police terror trainers lose USB stick in street

Drive not encrypted

Article comments

The curse of the unencrypted memory stick has stuck Manchester Police, which has suffered embarrassment as a drive containing apparently sensitive information was found lying in the street.

The unsecured data on the drive related to training information on coping with riots, violent suspects, and public disorder. According to the Daily Star, the red top newspaper to which the drive was handed in by a passer-by, some of the information has bearing on terrorism training, including blast control, firearms handling and strategies for dealing with petrol and bomb attacks.

Despite the newspaper describing the loss as ‘dumping terror secrets on to the streets, much of the contents are what would be expected of the Greater Manchester Police Police Training Unit (GMP POTU), whose markings were on the drive.

More seriously, the drive contained a “comprehensive list of officers’ names, ranks and their divisions,” the newspaper said.

The stick was found near a police station which suggests that it was dropped by an officer leaving the building. As ever when such drives are lost, the problem was the drive has not encrypted. Clearly these technologies have yet to be percolate down to this department.

Companies selling encrypted USB drives have been handed yet another marketing opportunity and who would blame them.

"Companies should ensure all data copied to USB sticks and CDs is automatically encrypted, and the use of all non-authorised devices controlled.  This ensures that users can't turn off or work around the security" said a spokesman for Israeli security company Check Point.


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Andreea said: If they had used a simple encryption program like EasyLock that I have on my USB Stick then this incident would have never happened Nowadays encrypting sensitive data should be a security request as important as installing an antivirus or using a cipher for your suitcase

Yordanka Dragieva said: I believe the insider theft option should also be considered How does this happen that a lost USB is taken to the newspaper instead of the police station If I were a person to find this USB drive with the police initials written on top and it was located near the police station I would take it to the police Besides what could be more convenient than losing your USB driveI definitely agree on the encryption part though - it should have been protected

Juliette_msc said: Aside from the issues exposedwhat is equally worrying is organisations dont seem to be learning from others mistakes It is possible for information stored externally via usb to be encrypted automaticallytherefore if the worst happens it is rendered uselessMSC offer data encryptionprotecting clients confidential informationIn addition to this we advise employees have access to the precise information necessary for the taskId also ask why the information was removed in the 1st place

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