It’s easy to take cheap shots at public servants – there are so many of them and it’s harder for them to hide their fumblings than people in the private sector.
Still, with admission by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada minister Diane Finley that her department has – again – lost an unencrypted device with personal information on it.
This time it’s a portable hard drive with the names, social insurance numbers, birth dates and other information on 585,000 student loan borrowers between 2000 and 2006, plus contact information on 250 departmental staffers from a Gatineau, Que., office.
The loss of the drive, which went missing Nov. 5, is being investigated by the RCMP and the office of the federal privacy commissioner.
An official with HRSD told The Star the department’s policy is such devices have to be encrypted. So who can’t read?
According to a statement from HR minister Diane Finley, the drive was being used as a backup.
“I have requested that HRSDC employees across Canada receive comprehensive communications on the seriousness of these recent incidents and that they participate in mandatory training on a new security policy to ensure that similar situations do not occur again,” Finley said in a statement. “Further, I have instructed that the new policy contain disciplinary measures that will be implemented for staff, up to and including termination, should the strict codes of privacy and security not be followed.”
The bot threat
Some of the most serious threats networks face today are "bots," remotely controlled robotic programs that strike in many different ways and deliver destructive payloads, self propagating to infect more and more systems and eventually forming a "botnet."