back to article Daily Mail loses employee info

Northcliffe Media, owner of the Daily Mail, is the latest company to lose a laptop load of sensitive staff information. A laptop containing names, addresses, bank accounts and sort codes of Mail and General Trust staff has been stolen, it emerged last week. The company told staff that the laptop was password protected - and so …


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  1. Gordon Pryra
    Thumb Up


    I wonder if there will be any headlines, calling for "ACTION NOW!!!"

    Brillaint :)

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Can you all stop losing laptops until I have finished my HDD Encryption project, I want to be smug and tell everyone we are covered but we haven't finished yet...

  3. Gordon Pryra

    which was inadvertently caused by a technical issue

    The technical issue was someone walking into the office and taking it presumably?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Another day, another set of lost data...

    Need we say more? Seriously, how is this still happening every week?

  5. Paul Stephenson

    technical problem?

    How the hell does a technical problem result in a laptop being knicked?

    I suspect that this will not be a front page spread in thier own paper, unlike when anyone else loses similar information :)

  6. Anonymous Coward


    I wonder if they will make as big a case of this on their front page as they have been making of the government losing laptops? Methinks not.....tossers!

  7. David Gosnell

    Opportunistic thief

    Given the amount of publicity given to loss of sensitive and potentially valuable data, surely any truly opportunistic thief would at least try and have a look-see?

    Sounds like the Mail being just as pathetic as those they vilify.

  8. Tom

    Daily Mail

    I am sure it was reported in the Daily Mail that, "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a illegal immigrant, hoodie, who was involved in the Diana killing!"

  9. Steven Dick

    We take this so seriously...

    Yeah, they take data security so seriously that unlocked, unencrypted data containing sensitive financial details is left on a laptop that also has no security measures to stop it being nicked.

  10. Joe


    "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a thief who will not realise that there is any personal data on the laptop and who may just erase what is on the hard disk in order to disguise the fact that the laptop is stolen."

    Fingers crossed it was stolen by a crack addict, eh?

    "I can assure you that we take security of personal data very seriously and have, since this incident, which was inadvertently caused by a technical issue, already further strengthened procedures."

    It's obvious that we don't take security of personal data very seriously (this wouldn't have happened if we did) but I'm going to say we do anyway and hope that pacifies you.

  11. Simon Painter

    Nationwide incompetence...

    I bet the poor folks at Nationwide who were fined a million quid are hopping mad. They lost a laptop and got royally bitch slapped for it but every organisation since (mainly government) has managed to follow the trend without so much as a slap on the wrist. It's now got to the point where it is not even really newsworthy because the public has been so badly de-sensitised to such things.

    This is only worth reporting because everyone outside of middle england hates the Daily Heil hacks for their neo facist views and police state inducing fearmongering and hysteria.They were in fact one of the strongest critics of the incompetence of HMRC so it's quite nice to see them hoisted by their own petard.

  12. Ian McNee

    Deploy the Twat-O-Tron!

    I read about this in the Daily Mail! everyone knows This country is overflowing with illegal immigrants, even the local chippy is run by poles. They are interfering in our lives again. A wise man once said riot in the streets.

    [UnionJackForever] Uk, United Kingdom

  13. George
    Thumb Up

    I'm with Simon, where's the fines?

    I bet then they would invest the money instead of "ho hum another laptop gone", and who is going to be the first organisation to be brought to its knees but a proper cyber criminal getting the info, its only a matter of time.

  14. Andrew Smith


    I have to ask why the details were even on a laptop and needed to be moved around in the first place?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When it's gone it's gone

    A point that does not get highlighted enough is that once your data is out there in the hands of the bad guys you're screwed. You can't get it back. Nobody can change their date of birth, mother's maiden name or National Insurance number. With those three pieces of information identity theft is remarkably straightforward. Even two of them gives a lot of help to the malevolent. It's a lot of hassle to change your bank account details (and heaven help you if you write a cheque as it has you bank details, account number and signature).

    Al Quaeda (or any other criminal) needs only to infiltrate some employees into government departments where they get access to all that lovely data and the havoc that can be wreaked is immense. HMRC's lost disks may not have fallen into the wrong hands but who is to say that CD Rom's of all our data have not been copied already unlawfully?

    Instead of collecting ever more data on each of us and linking it together the Government needs to re-think the whole issue of data security.

  16. Matt


    this is down to Brussels red-tape? Or was it some child molester who was released early?

  17. Naich


    You couldn't make it up!

  18. David Adams

    RE Technical Problem

    "How the hell does a technical problem result in a laptop being knicked?"

    Probably as Technical as The network was down so they had all gone to the Pub.

    The one with the Laptop sized Poachers pockets please.

  19. Phil Hare
    Black Helicopters

    It's an MI5 conspiracy

    And a damn good one too. How can the Mail ever again point the finger of shame at the security services when they hold their bi-annual laptop bonanza after this little cock up?

  20. James

    About time SaaS started to solve the problem of lost laptops.

    Let’s face it bean counters seem a little lost in the outside world with its big sky and this results in then getting very confused with how many bags they had, was it one or two or one + vat?

    Inevitably they are going to lose the things in inappropriate way.

    The solution would be to put all of their systems onto a SaaS model so that it would not matter that the laptop was stolen as nothing would be stored on the laptop (or so the sales man would tell them, the reality may be a little different).

    Then when I get a new laptop from the market I won’t have to be faced with a HD full of poorly wiped personal information.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon+George re fines

    Fines are pointless in cases like this, all that happens is the cost is passed on to the customer (taxpayer, whatever) and meanwhile the management bonuses carry on as before.

    If these rules are to be effective, indeed if any "corporate" rules are to be effective, then being done for breaking the rules needs to reliably lead to real personal sacrifice for the people in charge. Until that happens, the breaches will continue as before, because there's absolutely no meaningful motivation to ensure the rules are followed.

    They did it in the US e.g. for some of the Enron fraudsters (including, iirc, some UK-resident Natwest employees), maybe in the we should try the same over here in the 51st state.

    For what it's worth, a few days ago, iirc two directors of a UK bus company received substantial prison sentences for fraud because they'd been party to faking of records of drivers hours, and (iirc) an overtired driver had an "accident" which killed someone. So maybe it does happen occasionally. Or maybe I dreamt it, because I can't find anything referring to it via any of the obvious keywords on any of the obvious search sites?

  22. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Call me cynical but...

    I'd be surprised if this wasn't really the case; but rather that the Daily Mail has actually flogged all of this data, but realises (unfortunately probably quite rightly) that these days losing data is so commonplace that nobody really makes any noise anymore when it happens... so instead why not just put out a story that they lost it and wait for any "fuss" to quickly blow over.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    "I am sure it was reported in the Daily Mail that, "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a illegal immigrant, hoodie, who was involved in the Diana killing!""

    You forgot that they were economic terrorist black polish muslims who came over here to steal our jobs and morals. As well as laptops from innocent publishers of the news- only there to inform the general propulace of the hum-drum goings on in the world.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    ..we take personal information security very seriously

    ... but not nearly as seriously as if we were to face a large fine and security policy audit from the ICO.

    How much data has to be lost before the blame can be shifted to the idiots carrying the data rather than the drug addled crack head how is only after a fix.

    When i am carrying a laptop, it tends to be my own.. i.e. that i paid for, which gives me about 499.99 reasons to be careful of loosing it!!!

  25. ian

    A betrayal of trust on an epic scale

    For sheer, mind-boggling incompetence and stupidity this stands in a class of its own.

    The tragedy is that this story of sloppiness and utter irresponsibility is just another example - albeit an extreme one - of the way in which standards of competence in our newspapers, once the highest in the world, have been allowed to plummet under Labour's stewardship.

    One assumes that Dacre, or whoever runs the Daily Wail, has already tendered his resignation.

  26. Mark York
    Thumb Down


    This also affects my son as he was a paperboy for the local rag & he received one of these letters as well.

    Barely 16 & already his info is now out in the public domain.

  27. W

    Talk is cheap

    "The company apologised for any inconvenience or annoyance caused by the theft."

    No offer of financial compensation though, eh?

    Ergo no *tangiable* mitigation of the effects of their negligent actions.

    Once again, those "at the top" are failing to take any taking responsibility: I'm alright Jack.

    Surely there's something in ISO-9000-and-whatever that covers QA for data security. Such a badge of honour would be a worthwhile thing to flaunt in these times, no? I'd certainly err towards companies that were able to demonstrate a *universal* and *credible* clam to actually give a damn about safeguarding the privacy of my data.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Laptop Thief upgrades to Identity Thief - FTW!

    "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a thief who will not realise that there is any personal data on the laptop and who may just erase what is on the hard disk in order to disguise the fact that the laptop is stolen. "

    ... So the Laptop thief get's told by the laptop owners that it is 10x more valuable than they first thought...

    Given the amount of valuable Data going AWOL these days, I'd be surprised if the average opportunist Laptop thief hasn't learned to have a look for data that is more valuable than the laptop.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute

    The laptop contained STAFF details, not customer details.

    So it's the staff that is screwed, which makes for a refreshing change, for once.

    And I'll bet that there's going to be a rather cold snap of suspicion concerning anyone who lugs around a laptop in the coming months in the halls of the Daily Mail. Nothing like a hive full of eyes to make a laptop carrier more aware of what he has in his hands.

    Pity the poor guy who puts down his laptop and goes for a coffee - he'll be hanged before he takes the third step.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Technical Problem

    To help those of you wondering how a technical problem results in the theft of a laptop ... how about ...

    technically, we shouldn't have left it lying about with only a password to protect its unencryted data, technically it shouldn't have had the data on it in the first place and technically it's all the fault of the IT department because they didn't chain it to the desk.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    How do you check a hard drive for deleted data?

    I wanna hit the local car boot sales and see if I get lucky. Everyone's losing them nowadays there must be something juicy out there.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Loch ness monster is Nazi u-boat!!!

    You can pretty much guarantee that laptop had a copy of photoshop on it.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I thought she was dead, anyway?

    >"[ ... ] group finance director M J Hindley [ ... ]"

    See, this is just what happens when you put an infamous serial killer in charge of security. I can't believe they let this one get through at interview.

  34. Anonymous John

    Re: When it's gone it's gone

    True.nobody can change their mother's maiden name, but it's hardly a secure bit of info, is it? All my relatives know it for a start (not that I don't trust them).

    The name I gave my Internet bank when they asked for it, actually belonged to an ex-girlfriend. Far more secure.

  35. Terry Blay

    HA HA HA HA squared

    It's hilarious... the first thing I thought was 'HAHAHAHA' and guess what the first comment is...

    Damn! We're all so de-sensitized that some among us find it hilarious now when countless peoples personal, private information is pissed up the wall by the twats who give us no choice but to hand it over to them in the first place.

    I don't know if people should be locked up for these kinds of breaches, but someone should definitely pay. Maybe their personal details (I mean ALL personal details) should be publicly posted?

    I reckon most CEO's would hate the thought of everyone knowing all that stuff about them and perhaps institute good practices to try and ensure that the lesser mortals could expect the same?

    Damn, this makes me SO angry.. but I'm still laughing!



  36. Dave


    "The thief has probably wiped it"

    I'd laugh if the tea leaf has wiped a weeks worth of editorials and shittlejohn columns.


    They might have to go out and work as journalists rather than fiction writers

  37. Nick Dixon
    Thumb Down

    What I want to know is

    ...will this affect the value of my house?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Tabloid Stunt

    Even if it was stolen by a crack addict, invariably stolen laptops are likely to find themselves in the hands of someone savy enough to wipe, and rebuild them at some point. - This is likely to be someone also smart enough to have a gander first for just this sort of information.

    I recon this is a typical tabloid stunt, and one of the other papers will have an expose in the coming weeks, claiming the laptop 'fell in to their possession'. They will retrieve said data, go on to interview staff members affected and bang on about ID Fraud etc etc, before printing pictures of them returning the laptop to it's rightful owner, all the time taking the moral high ground, despite the fact it's was likely to have been stolen to order by the newspaper it's self.

  39. William Bronze badge

    Send em back

    Sod their human rights...

  40. Bob
    Dead Vulture

    Daily Fail

    I work for a subsidiary of the Daily Fail and since I get paid peanuts, I'm not really too bovvered about some illiterate oik having all my financial details - my debt is your debt. Mate.

    But still, this spate of sausage-fisted tossing about of sensitive information is astounding. Keep the goddamn information encrypted on a secure server, not on some bloody textpad document on the financial wanker's laptop!

    Aaaaaaaargh! The mind boggles...

  41. Martin
    Dead Vulture

    Gone are the days of stupid thiefs

    "The likelihood is that this theft was carried out in an opportunistic manner by a thief who will not realise that there is any personal data on the laptop and who may just erase what is on the hard disk in order to disguise the fact that the laptop is stolen. "

    What a load of bull. All the thief needs to do is read this article (or others on the web) to get an idea of what is on the laptop.

    Since data theft has spread it wings, why would the thief not have a look to see what is on there?

  42. James Pickett

    Deep joy

    "The company apologised for any inconvenience or annoyance caused by the theft."

    In the vain hope that nobody sues them, presumably. I just hope that some of the victims were lawyers. Should play well in the rest of the meeja, or at least test the 'honour among thieves' adage.

    As for "inconvenience or annoyance", I'm sure those aren't terms they use when reporting similar incompetence by others!

  43. Arnold Layne

    Yes but... haven't told us how much Mr M J Hindley's house is worth.

    After all that's always the most important thing on every Mail reader's mind.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Shhh it's a secret

    Apparently it's "Company Sensitive Information" and isn't to be discussed on their forums. Funny, they shout out from the hilltops when it's anyone else.

  45. Michael Dunn

    Password Protected? HA HA

    This story, and a previous one on a similar subject, both carry a "reassurance" from some dim spokesperson say the data or laptop was password protected.

    Surely a savvy 10 year old could get round that one....Knoppix boot disk, hex editor, or in the days of plain DOS, Disk Doctor!

    Mine's the one with a Linux boot system on a memory stick in the pocket.

  46. Dan

    @AC @@Simon+George re fines

    You do remember correctly - it was the UK North bus company in Manchester. See

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