The curse of the unencrypted memory stick has stuck Manchester Police, which has suffered embarrassment as a drive containing apparently sensitive information was found lying in the street.
The unsecured data on the drive related to training information on coping with riots, violent suspects, and public disorder. According to the Daily Star, the red top newspaper to which the drive was handed in by a passer-by, some of the information has bearing on terrorism training, including blast control, firearms handling and strategies for dealing with petrol and bomb attacks.
Despite the newspaper describing the loss as ‘dumping terror secrets on to the streets, much of the contents are what would be expected of the Greater Manchester Police Police Training Unit (GMP POTU), whose markings were on the drive.
More seriously, the drive contained a “comprehensive list of officers’ names, ranks and their divisions,” the newspaper said.
The stick was found near a police station which suggests that it was dropped by an officer leaving the building. As ever when such drives are lost, the problem was the drive has not encrypted. Clearly these technologies have yet to be percolate down to this department.
Companies selling encrypted USB drives have been handed yet another marketing opportunity and who would blame them.
"Companies should ensure all data copied to USB sticks and CDs is automatically encrypted, and the use of all non-authorised devices controlled. This ensures that users can't turn off or work around the security" said a spokesman for Israeli security company Check Point.