Medical data on over 6000 prisoners lost on USB stick

Graham Cluley

More than 6,000 prisoners and ex-inmates from Her Majesty’s Prison Preston, Lancashire, have had their personal medical details exposed by the loss of a memory stick, according to media reports.

The memory stick carried data relating to 6,360 prisoners who have been treated by local health workers since 2000.

In scenes worthy of a Whitehall farce it was revealed that although the data on the lost USB flash drive was encrypted, the password to unlock the encryption was written on an attached note.

Data held on the memory stick included data on the prisoners’ ailments, such as diabetes, asthma, mental health and sexual health. Furthermore, the flash drive contained documents, including details such as prisoner surnames, their age range, cell location, prison number and clinic appointment times.

When people are sent to prison we expect them to be put under…

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus 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 security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, on Mastodon at @[email protected], or drop him an email.