Lost USB drive leads to lost contract

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

PA Consulting, the firm that misplaced a USB memory stick containing the unencrypted personal details of convicted British criminals, has had its £1.5 million contract with the UK government terminated.

The British Home Office sent the sensitive data via email to PA Consulting in encrypted form, but it was then copied – unencrypted – to a USB data stick that was subsequently lost.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says that PA Consulting’s remaining contracts – worth some £8 million a year – would be reviewed.

“Our investigation has demonstrated that although the information was transmitted in an appropriately secure way to PA Consulting and fed to a secure site, it was subsequently downloaded on to an insecure data stick and that data stick was then lost,” she was…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.