AOH :: ISN-1143.HTM

Whitehall Fails to Plug IT Theft

Whitehall Fails to Plug IT Theft
Whitehall Fails to Plug IT Theft 

By eGov monitor Newdesk
11 July, 2005 

Most computers stolen from the Home Office, show Government statistics

Central government departments have reported to have suffered at least
150 cases of computer theft in the last six months, according to
official figures.

The Home Office alone recorded 95 incidents of computer items being
stolen between January and June 2005 =96 equivalent to a theft taking
place in the Department every other day.

By comparison, the Ministry of Defence reported 23 computer thefts to
date in 2005, down from a total of 153 in the previous year.

Ministers made the disclosures in response to a series of
parliamentary questions tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow
into incidents of computer hacking, fraud and theft in each

In a written answer, Doug Touhig, a junior minister at the MoD, said
the Ministry had also experienced 30 attempted computer hacking
incidents so far in 2005, having only reported 36 for the whole of

However the Minister gave an assurance that "none of the reported
incidents of hacking had any operational impact".

Most of these incidents were due to internal security breaches, rather
than external threats. Half of the cases were classed as "internal =96
misuse of resources".

Instances of reported computer thefts in other departments were in
single figures so far this year, and most recorded no cases of IT
systems being accessed illegally.

The Department for Transport said it had experienced 71 cases of
computer hacking in 2003-4, 31 in the following year and one incident
since April.

The Treasury, the Department for International Development and the
Department for Education and Skills said their IT systems had been
breached on one occasion in 2004-5.

Figures from the DfES show that in the two years since 2003/4, it
experienced 37 incidents of computer theft, all but one of which were
"perpetrated by insiders".

The Department of Health said it did not distinguish between losses
and theft of IT equipment, but said there were 44 such incidents in
2004-5, costing it almost =A340,000.

Figures provided by Health Minister Jane Kennedy put the total sum
lost by the Department over the last four years at =A3233,000.

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