Cyber fears as Parliamentary staffers lose almost 100 devices in two years


Parliamentary staffers have lost a total of 96 laptops, tablet computers and other gadgets in the last two calendar years, according to official figures.

The data, which was obtained by Parliament Street think tank under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, examined device losses by Parliamentary staffers over the calendar years of 2020 and 2019.

In total 41 laptops reported missing and 36 tablets. The remaining missing items included 11 phones and 6 skype headsets.

The data showed that there were 11 incidents of devices being reported as lost on trains, 3 left on a bus and 6 lost in a car over the two-year period. 

In addition, 16 devices went missing on estate and 13 reported missing off estate. 1 tablet was stolen in a hotel and 1 laptop was stolen on the London Underground across the two years.

In total over the 2-year period 19 devices were reported as stolen and 47 were reported as lost. Of the total devices reported missing only 17 were located and found.

Edward Blake, Area Vice President EMEA, Absolute Software comments: “Devices used to carry out parliamentary duties will contain goldmine of confidential data that could be lethal if it fell into the hands of cyber criminals. It’s critical that parliamentary authorities have the necessary systems in place to track missing devices, enabling them to freeze and wipe lost or stolen laptops, protecting public data from fraudsters.”

“If a lost laptop ends up in the wrong hands, the organisation in question could be facing a far more costly predicament than first anticipated. Sophisticated cyber criminals can steal the data contained on these devices, access more businesses files, or intercept emails between colleagues, all with relative ease once a device has been compromised.” 

“Therefore, it is more critical than ever to have a permanent digital connection to every endpoint, as well as the ability to lock, freeze or wipe the device if it is at risk of being compromised.”

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