Hard Disk Encryption: UPS In UK Encrypts All Mobile Devices.

The UK-branch of UPS has announced that all of their laptops and smartphones have been encrypted.  The increased security stems from a data breach UPS experienced nearly a year ago.  In that case, a laptop computer was stolen.  This computer did not have drive encryption software securing its contents.  The only form of data security appears to have been password-protection.

9,150 UPS Employees Affected

In October 2008, an employee lost a laptop computer while traveling for business away from the UK.  The laptop, which contained the information for 9,150 UPS employees, was stolen.  Part of the information on that laptop was payroll data, and contained personal information such as National insurance numbers, in addition to names, addresses, dates of birth, salary, and bank details.

As noted above, encryption software was not used to secure the data.  Password-protection was used, but this cannot really be considered security, as I already noted before.

UPS Settles with ICO

It looks like UPS may have had a reason pushing them towards the use of data security applications when it decided to encrypt their laptops.  According to reports, encrypting all laptops was part of a formal settlement with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), which is tasked with enforcing the Data Protection Act in the UK.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that UPS wouldn’t have gone the way of encryption on their own accord.  However, I personally get the feeling that it would have taken longer for the company to decide to encrypt all of their mobile devices has the government not pushed for it.

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