[ISN] Spy laptop safety no longer mission impossible

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 17:19:14 PDT

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    By Sinead O'Hanlon
    LONDON (Reuters) - Spies and security service staff will be issued
    with high-tech James Bond style briefcases after a spate of
    embarrassing bungles in which agents have lost official secrets, the
    Ministry of Defence has said.
    A ministry spokesman told Reuters 15,000 thief-proof briefcases had
    been ordered at a cost of 1,000 pounds each after it emerged security
    service and armed forces staff had lost 204 laptops since 1997.
    "It got to the point where these things seemed to be disappearing
    every week and it was an embarrassment."
    Many of the briefcases will be fitted with gadgets more familiar to
    fans of British agent 007 or the "Mission Impossible" television
    series than the average civil servant.
    As well as being able to withstand high explosives, the cases will be
    fitted with a "self- destruct" mechanism to wipe the laptop's hard
    drive if a thief tries to open the case, the spokesman said.
    Only a fraction of the briefcase losses have been made public but the
    few that were have embarrassed British security services.
    In November an agent for MI5, the domestic intelligence service, left
    a briefcase full of secret documents on a train.
    In May a military laptop - believed to contain details of a warplane
    project with the United States - was stolen from a naval intelligence
    officer at a train station.
    The previous March there were reports that two agents - one from MI5
    and the other from Britain's overseas security service MI6 - had lost
    laptops containing secret information.
    The MI5 laptop, said to contain confidential information on Northern
    Ireland, was also snatched at a train station.
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