June 13th, 2008

On the Bandwagon

Posted in The Job - General by 200

This week saw the story of the Top Secret Al Queda Security Report being left on a train by some top knob security chappie who is now on gardening leave.

There is intense rivalry between the civilian police security folk & the James Bond Spooks, not wanting to be outdone the Assistant Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset, Rob Beckley, has arranged for his 15 minutes of fame by having his job laptop stolen from his chauffered car whilst attending an event in London.1

Of course we have no idea what was on the laptop, presumably emails from the Home Office and lots of meaningless statistics, and there is no doubt that the official line will be that ‘at no stage was security compromised’. We do know that the laptop is used to access all the force’s computer networks & systems. Whilst chiefs probably haven’t got a clue how to use the force systems (they have staff officers for that), they can, in theory, log in to, for instance, the Command & Control system which gives access to the details of every job the force deals with, together with all the personal information contained therein on the community of Avon & Somerset & beyond.

Rumours are that the laptop wasn’t encrypted, it was probably accessed by typing in the Chief’s favourite football team or his wife’s date of birth into the password box (it’s what we all do).

The report in the Bristol News describes the theft as a ‘distraction’ theft while the laptop was in car & the chief’s driver was ‘watching’ it. This is a technical term and means that a thief sees something on display that is easily nickable, they walk up to the owner and point behind them saying ‘well, look at that!’ When the person/sap turns round to look, they pick up the property & run away.


Oh, and Beds Police’s website is still down…

  1. My thanks to a correspondent for the heads-up on this story []
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  1. james says:

    And it’s not even like there’s stuff like this:


    out there which is free, and offers the same encryption (AES-256) the NSA uses for top secret level stuff.

    June 13th, 2008 at 23:47

  2. Civ_In_The_City says:

    There`s nothing like making life easier for the ‘opposition’ is there? Hopefully the opportunist thief has realised what he`s got his hands on and is selling his story to the News of the World.

    James is quite right about the TrueCrypt software, it`s absolutely free and simple to use but I would expect a large organisation like Avon & Somerset to use something even more robust to protect a laptop, there are probably reams of instructions from on high about how it should be done properly. Maybe with a specialist encrypted hard drive such as those made by Flagstone. It looks just the ticket turing your hard drive into a useless paperweight the moment the power is switched off.

    I note that the Daily Mail has picked up on this story this morning but managed to dig up a crucial detail that the Bristol News website somehow overlooked. In the Bristol News version there was no mention of Mr Beckley insisting on having an unencrypted laptop. The truth always comes out.

    I`m pleased that, in general, the NuLabour style response to situations like this is going out of fashion (and favour with the public). We aren`t going to stand for having stories ‘spun’ into untruths any more. If you c*ck it up just hold your hands up and say so. If you are accused of c*cking something up, but haven`t, stand your ground. Truth, honesty and integrity please.

    June 14th, 2008 at 11:02

  3. Annette says:

    I am just surprised that anyone can walk around with these laptops etc. I would have thought that they would have used a much more ‘secure’ security system.

    June 14th, 2008 at 11:32

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