The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) lost an increasing number of digital devices over 2018-19, according to its response to a freedom of information request.
Submitted by USB drive supplier Apricorn, the figures show the ministry lost 354 mobile phones, PCs, laptops and tablets over the year, compared with 229 during 2017-18. The number of lost laptops alone increased from 45 in 2016-17 to 201 in 2018-19.
Similar FoI requests to the Department for Education and NHS Digital during September-November revealed that had lost 91 and 35 devices respectively to date in 2019.
“Whilst devices are easily misplaced, it’s concerning to see such vast numbers being lost and stolen, particularly given the fact these are government departments ultimately responsible for volumes of sensitive public data. A lost device can pose a significant risk to the government if it is not properly protected,” said Jon Fielding, managing director, EMEA, Apricorn.
All three organisations confirmed they use USB devices that are encrypted, with the MoJ saying that all USB ports on laptops and desktops are restricted and can only be used with individuals have requested that the ports be unlocked.
Fielding added that there is a need for hardware encrypted storage devices to be provided as standard and whitelisted on the IT infrastructure.