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By | John Leyden 21st April 2005 15:31

Man unearths MoD secrets at rubbish dump

Ditched laptop security breach

A Hampshire man has found sensitive Ministry of Defence plans on a laptop he was given at a rubbish dump. Martin Dunn, 31, was foraging for computer parts when a woman gave him a bag containing a laptop she was about to ditch, The Sun reports. A subsequent investigation of the PC revealed "70 top-secret files" giving details of contingency plans at Army and Navy bases about what do in the event of a terrorist attack.

This data should not have been so easily accessible, according to Peter Jaco, chief exec of encryption specialist BeCrypt. Mobile devices can easily be lost or stolen, so data held on them should be encrypted to adhere with the Data Protection Act and to avoid a compromise of national or individual security, he added.

An MoD spokesman said it had initiated an inquiry to establish whether or not the laptop was official MoD equipment. The MoD has procedures in place to ensure equipment being disposed of doesn't contain sensitive information, he added.

In 2002, the MoD admitted 594 laptops had been either misplaced or stolen from the ministry during the preceding five years. The statistic came in answer to a parliamentary question prompted by a series of reports about spies leaving laptops in black cabs and other such mishaps around that time. ®

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