I have written often about the need for data security, both online and on your computer at home. Indeed, readers of this newsletter have also posted many comments about the safety of storing information on the cloud versus at home and in other places. These are all important issues but let's not overlook the biggest cause of data theft: human stupidity.
I suspect we can find hundreds of examples but the latest one in this morning's news is about a contractor who had stored data from two different housing companies on an unencrypted USB flash drive. The drive contained sensitive information about tens of thousands of tenants' accounts, including 800 records containing bank account details. He then accidentally left the flash drive in a London pub. Oooops!
Luckily, the USB stick was recovered and handed to police.
“Saving personal information on to an unencrypted memory stick is as risky as taking hard copy papers out of the office,” said Sally-Anne Poole, acting head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). “This incident could so easily have been avoided if the information had been properly protected.”
The two housing companies have agreed to ensure all portable devices are encrypted.
Indeed, encryption is a major tool for security purposes. If data is encrypted, many of these concerns go away. Who cares if a flash drive is left behind if the data on that drive is protected by industrial-strength cryptography? Encryption is easy to do and can be performed within seconds.
You can find hundreds of online articles about this latest act of stupidity if you start at http://goo.gl/KK3W0.
What's in your pocket?
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