BIS Loses 83 Government BlackBerrys And 17 Laptops In 3 Years

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FOI request reveals Department for Business, Innovation and Skills loses 100 government devices

A freedom of information (FOI) request by security firm Veracode has revealed that Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) lost 83 BlackBerry smartphones and 17 laptops during the last three years.

The department also recorded 16 incidents of BIS-issued mobile phones going missing in the same period as well as one personal laptop and one personal BlackBerry dropping off the radar.

It is unclear what data was stored on the missing devices, whether adequate security precautions had been taken and they had been lost or stolen.

Government BlackBerrys lost

BlackBerry Z10 Tall“The explosion of mobile devices in the last few years has improved working collaboration and productivity, but also created new risks for the private and public sector,” said Tyler Shields, Senior Security Researcher at Veracode. “It’s critical for the government to not only secure these devices with mobile location and remote lock and wipe technology, but also secure the apps that reside on them.

“A phone or tablet does not have to go lost or stolen to be at risk, and ensuring the security of mobile applications is equally critical to protecting against an ever increasing threat profile to governments and businesses alike.”

The BIS is not the first government department to have problems keeping track of its gadgets. The Ministry of Defence admitted that it had lost 340 laptops between 2008 and 2010, while the Welsh government lost £21,000 worth of equipment during the same period.

Earlier today it was announced the Cabinet Office was dropping the role of government CIO as part of its ongoing shakeup of ICT services.

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  1. A 2009 Ponemon Institute research study indicates
    the average value of a lost business laptop is nearly $49,246, based on things like replacement cost, detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property costs, lost productivity and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses. This is why putting tracker tags (available at on all your stuff is such a great idea. They make it easy for someone finding your lost things, like a laptop, to return them quickly and securely.