Top Secret Brit Laptop Stolen


The theft of laptops with ‘top secret’ government and military data has become a punch-line in the UK.

There were 28 laptops lost or stolen in the last four months and 66 in total since January 1, 2009. Looking back over the last 4 years there were 658 that vanished. A major hunt is now on in London after a laptop crammed with secret data was stolen from inside the Ministry of Defense (MoD) nerve center. FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS!

How embarrassing taken from right under the noses of the MoD leadership in Whitehall. If the theft of the laptop was not bad enough, the USB type encryption key needed to unlock the highly sensitive files was also taken. The loss was said to have occurred toward the end of November but news of the event did not leak out until late last week and was not confirmed until earlier this week.

The laptop was said to belong to a high-ranking RAF officer. One agency is reporting that a source inside MoD stated, “This has the potential to become one of the most serious security breaches at the Ministry for a very long time.” A spokesman for the MoD said that “an investigation by MoD police is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

I wonder if anyone told the MoD that you can equip your laptops with GPS and have your laptop phone home and even delete sensitive data?

FACT: The current MoD budget is 36,702 million

FACT: MoDs principal objectives are to defend the United Kingdom and its interests and to strengthen international peace and stability

FACT: In 2006 on average one in ten laptops were stolen.

Kevin Coleman

21 Comments on "Top Secret Brit Laptop Stolen"

  1. Well I guess they can say good bye to getting the source code for the F-35 now.

  2. I was just in a meeting where this was discussed and a comment was offered that I could not resist posting.

    "At this point, I would not give the Brits the code of a kiddie-car much less the F-35"

  3. You guys act like its only the Brits. Yeah, like no computers have ever gone missing from the Pentagon or the dozens of other military installations we have around the world.

  4. Who could it be????Chinese, Russians, Israelis……

  5. It's a problem because there are incriminating photos of Him and his mistress on there.

  6. DualityOfMan | December 18, 2009 at 9:28 pm |

    The lesson here is an old one: physical security is the *first* rule of cyber security.

  7. stephen russell | December 19, 2009 at 3:46 am |

    I know in the US we had some stolen laptops.
    But none like the Brits.
    Encrypt data Time & set timelocks on codes.
    & lock laptops down

  8. depends on what was on the computer, then you can draw conclusions to who stole it. along with other security, try phony computers with false but, plausable intel if stolen it can mislead your enemy.

  9. Everyone in Blighty is facepalming right now. What kind of chucklefucks have we got working there? I walk past the MoD sometimes and wonder what's inside. Must be Zippo's Circus.

  10. Maybe someone should of thought of putting tracking devices in the lap tops for just such a thing to happen??. They make them why not use them????.

  11. Zippy that would be great except for when some kid (or worse) hacks the network and finds out where all the secret computers are, hmm where should the bomb go off?

  12. Gentlemen……..

    Please use the correct spelling. It is the Ministry of Defence not Defense.
    British Ministry, British spelling please.

    Thank you

  13. MOD Leadership? that's a misnomer if ever there was one. I'm usually the first to laugh at this kind of incident but is this as bad as the article actually makes out?

  14. Whilst the loss of these 'tops is humiliating the impact on gaining the F35 is another matter. The RN with an aircraft carrier in support of US operations is better than the lack of one and the RN want that F35B, with the RR engine so they need the Source Code otherwise it's just an exocet target. Eurofighter can't launch from carriers. As distrusftul as I would be in Yankee shoes of giving the MOD any kind of source code, I don' t think this would be the main reason for denying that information. The more likely cause is that the MOD gave the Saudi's everything they needed to make the Eurofighter. Despite the superiority of the F35, the Eurofighter's still not something we'd like to see in the hands of any potential foe and once in Saudi hands, that's where it may well be headed.

    You can have all the soft-ware security you need, but one foreign agent is all it takes to bypass the whole lot. Of course protecting the actual hardware is as important as the cyber-solutions. Thats a no -brainer.

  15. Tracking devices in laptops is obviously a good idea but equally expenisve and the desk-sucking blotter-jotters at the MOD are all about budget targets. Back to a three ministry system for a three service defence, I say.

    However, whilst is embarrassing it's not the end of the world, it's just another MOD fuck-up and we've been putting up with that for some time now. There are contingencies for when info gets into the wrong hands, it'll blow over. We just have to sack a few civil sevants. :D

  16. The likelihood is that the laptop was stolen along with the crypto token, but the report doesn't state if the passphrase was also compromised. There are no in-service MOD approved laptop crypto solutions that do not require a passphrase. This doesn't make the loss trivial by any means but does reduce the risk of a serious breach (assuming the passphrase wasn't on a Post-It of course!)

    As for the headline "facts", where does the 1 in 10 laptops stolen figure come from? Let me guess, a company that sells laptop security products. Since a number of high profile laptop and USB losses MOD have conducted extensive audits of such devices and the losses, while not insignifcant, are orders of magnitude lower — 130 out of 35,000 in 2007 (… I suspect similar figures apply to other defence (and defense ;) organisations.

    As for F-35 source code, so be it, I guess you'll have to fix it yourselves then :-)

  17. you know they should separate the secret data.
    example .
    data for project A.
    all the data should separate to atleast 4 part give to 4 person to save in laptop.
    incase one is stolen then the other 3 is safe

  18. Is it prudent security advise to suggest that the MoD equip "classified" lap­tops with GPS and have them phone home? In my experience such systems operate on proprietary networks run by the MOD. As such having them beacon might constitute a breach of policy and having a trusted communications link is may work in private industry, it is not the best security practice for defense and government related organizations, at least with nattional security related information systems.

    By the by, your facts are interesting, but it would be helpful if you cited your sources rather than expecting us to take you at your word.

  19. On Wednesday before Christmas all servers at my job were disrupted for a short time. Never have seen them all go down at same time.

    I come home and read Blackberry was also down for a period.

    Today I now read

    Unrelated but noticed in some of the popular mingames on myspace & facebook lately have people trying to get your name.. like to add as friend & neighbor to the game.

    Meanwhile in Online gaming, extortion & corruptions continue unabated.

    The spam machine rolls on, only hindered by some filters but continuously flooding the internet

    I can google or wiki most any information anyone would need to know about our strategies, troop placements, & tactics.

    Yet there is so little information available in areas our enemies exist.

    I would think with our community of techno geeks much of this would been resolved long ago…

  20. "Well I guess they can say good bye to getting the source code for the F-35 now."

    I would damn well hope that we don't get it, and that's coming from a UK citizen!
    We cannot be trusted with anything anymore and our MOD is a f**kin joke.

    I wouldn't mind betting we're selling off data in a shady manner either to get funds for nu labour, after all our NHS has been seliing off our medicine that was meant to go to our people to foreign nations to make a fast buck!
    And don't even mention the gold selling fiasco…

    We are a completely broken nation.

  21. "I know their must be a lot more cases like this one in the U.S but it gose unreported."

    It would help if you had a one single shredd of evidence to back up your accusations instead of just a hunch.

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