Day of data loss disasters

Yesterday it was the General Teaching Council that had to own up to a massive data loss cock-up, but today, there have been a whole host of admittals.

First up - and perhaps the most worrying - is the blunder that has led to a camera containing MI6 photos of terror suspects being sold on eBay.

An unsuspecting 28-year-old got a bit of a shock when he downloaded his holiday snaps from the Nikon Coolpix model he had bought online.

The chap from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, rang the police when he found photographs of suspects' faces, names and fingerprints, as well as shots of rocket launchers and missiles amongst his own pics.

The images are also reported to have included a pic of a "top secret" document giving details of the encrypted computer system used by MI6's agents in the field.

Special Branch is now investigating how the camera, which was bought for just £17, found its way onto the online auction site.

The Daily Mail is reporting that the police have seized the camera and also quizzed the poor punter during five separate visits to his home.

The Foreign Office said today: "We can confirm a police investigation is under way' but is refusing to say whether it was an MI6 agent who sold the camera".

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence is red-faced after it emerged computer files holding the records of thousands of serving and former RAF staff have been nicked.

The data includes appraisal forms containing birthdays, names, service numbers, and bosses' opinions of staff.

The information was stored on portable hard drives at the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at the RAF Innsworth site near Gloucester, says the Beeb.

There are mutterings that this is an inside job.

Abd last up to Kirklees Council, which is now dealing with another eBay blunder.

Security professional Andrew Mason was a wee bit shocked when he plugged in the Cisco Virtual Private Network (VPN) server he had bought and was connected straight up to private docs on the council's servers.

It even included the passwords.

Mason bought the VPN for less than a pound on eBay from manga-Fu, but it has now been traced by to services company Capgemini.

"It is like having a long ethernet cable from the council office to anywhere where I connected the device", said Mason told the BBC.

Kirklees Council is now investigating.


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