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Two CDs and a Storm

Picture of CDs"Please check the coffee cup coasters on your desk just to make sure," quipped a colleague today. But it's no laughing matter. Who would have thought two mislaid CDs could brew such a storm?

And it's just beginning. In future, cyber criminals will target high-value information. Personal emails, grocery purchases and—dare I say—patient record information such as the results of genetic and HIV tests, will have value on the black market and could lead to anything from spam mail to blackmail.

Technical steps such as encryption and identity management take us only so far. I remember hearing an anonymous cyber thief on the radio saying he wouldn’t bother trying to hack computer security. It was easier to simply bribe unscrupulous employees to get information.

But most people working with sensitive data take their responsibilities very seriously, though, as HM Revenue and Custom's loss of CDs packed with confidential information shows, it only takes one mistake (and we are human) to rattle plans for large databases of shared records to the roots.

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