Bank of England loses 161 electronic devices

by Rebecca Tomes

The Bank of England lost 161 electronic devices between September 2018 and August 2021.

The data has been obtained by Parliament Street Think Tank through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. A total of 25 devices were lost or stolen just in 2021 alone.

In 2018 a total of 70 devices were reported missing or lost and 12 were reported stolen. In 2019, the number decreased, with 46 missing and 8 stolen. In 2021, a total of 16 devices were reported lost and 9 were stolen.

The highest number of missing devices were mobile phones, with a total of 57 lost or stolen in 2018, 30 lost or stolen in 2019 and 17 in 2021.

Laptops were the next highest devices to go missing. In 2018, 14 laptops were reported missing and 6 stolen. In 2019, 17 laptops were reported lost and 6 stolen and in 2021, 3 laptops went missing and 5 stolen.

This year The Bank of England was accused of moving too slow, according to experts, who say it needs to get a grip on the financial sector’s plans to outsource customer data storage. The loss of so many devices raises concerns that banks are not doing enough to keep data secure.

Edward Blake, Area Vice President EMEA, Absolute Software comments:

“With workforces now dispersed due to remote working, the use of personal phones and newly purchased laptops has gone up, and therefore so has the threat posed by hackers.”

“If a lost or stolen device ends up in the wrong hands, the Bank of England could be facing consequences far more severe than the cost to replace them. For example, sophisticated cyber criminals can steal the data contained on these devices, access more businesses files, or intercept emails between colleagues, for the purpose of data theft, monetary gain, high-profile scams, or ransomware.”

“Preventing this requires a robust system to ensure the latest encryption and security updates are installed to track, freeze and wipe devices in the event of loss or theft, keeping hackers locked out.”

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