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I spy with my beady eye ...

14 Jan 2008

Computer data more valuable than coins and equipment

An office breakin story (highlit by InfoSec News) appears to indicate a targeted theft of computers for the valuable data they contained, rather than the hardware itself.
"PICKY thieves have led one private education centre to believe that industrial espionage might be the motive for a recent break-in. Early this week, three of the CES group's computers - containing the personal details and contacts of its 30,000 students - were stolen from its Eu Tong Sen Street office. Surprisingly, 10 other computers in the same location, some of them newer than the stolen items, and other expensive equipment like scanners were left untouched. The thieves' specific choices have led CES group chairman Desmond Lim, 35, to suspect that they could have been looking for the information stored in these computers for business reasons. ... And while the computer stolen from the administration room might have been the oldest, it was also the only one with all the students' data, said Camford Business School principal Indra Padmakumara, 30, whose school is part of the CES group. The other three computers in that room were not taken, she said. Nor were they tampered with. The door to Mr Lim's room was forced open, although a brand new projector, a digital camera and a box full of coins, all lying within plain view, were not taken."

Look around you and think: how much valuable data is stored on your office systems? Are the disks and offline storage media encrypted? Are there sufficiently strong access controls protecting the office itself?

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