Stop smoking, start losing your identity

Graham Cluley

I got a call this morning from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, asking me to go on their news programme. Tim, the researcher who rang me, told me that memory sticks containing the confidential details of 26,000 patients had been lost in the county.

That in itself wasn’t news, as the USB drives were first reported missing back in the summer, but it has only now been revealed that the devices contained the names, addresses, phone numbers, and NHS referral details of 26,000 people who had participated in NHS Lincolnshire’s Smoking Cessation scheme.

A spokesperson for the NHS told the BBC that most of the information could be found from public sources such as the electoral roll and the telephone directory.

Well, excuse me, but my phone book doesn’t list everyone’s NHS number.

Yes, a lot of information can be gleaned regarding individuals if you manage to access the…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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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, or drop him an email.