Home Office disc found on eBay

Home Office disc found on eBay

Another security fiasco, but at least the data was encrypted

A Home Office data disc has been found hidden under the keyboard of a laptop purchased on eBay.

Staff at Manchester-based computer reseller Leapfrog found the disc, labelled 'Home Office: Confidential', when the laptop was brought in for repairs. The data was encrypted and staff informed the police.

Leapfrog managing director Lee Bevan said on 26 February, before the story broke nationally: "A customer brought in a laptop for a standard repair.

"When one of my technical team began to dismantle the laptop he found lodged underneath the keyboard a disc labelled 'Home Office: Confidential'. He came to me with it and I called the police."

The location of the disc suggests that it may have been smuggled out of the Home Office, but there is no information on the eBay seller.

"The public sector finally seems to be learning from repeated mistakes as the laptop and disc were encrypted," said Brian Spector, general manager at information security firm Workshare.

"Unfortunately accidents like this are not going to stop so we can only hope that other government departments follow the Home Office's lead and adopt full disc encryption.

"Technology that will easily safeguard such confidential data is readily available, and the public needs to know that the government is using it to ensure that all the information it holds on its citizens is secure."

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: "A laptop has been recovered. Inquiries are continuing."