Blackberry Smartphone Containing Sensitive Data Lost By Senior Army Staff In China

A top army officer has triggered a security concern after his BlackBerry handset was picked while he was holidaying in China, it has been reported.

Major General Gerry Berragen, 51, was attired in civilian clothing and travelling in a train when he was pick-pocketed, and he immediately informed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London about the incident.

The gravity of the theft is evident by the fact that the new Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has reportedly been notified, and eventually ordered a probe into the matter.

The MoD has asserted that it is looking into the issue after army officials scrambled to block the handset, which is said to be containing crucial official information, leak out of which could harm the security of the nation.

However, a spokesperson for MoD has emphasised that no information from the stolen device had been compromised yet, and the handset was blocked as soon as Major General Berragen reported about the theft.

Quoting the same, the spokesperson said, “We can confirm that a mobile device was recently stolen from an army officer while on leave in China. It has been blocked and cannot access the MoD network”.

The data loss is the latest in line of data breaches that afflicted MoD, since it was disclosed that around 700 of the department's laptops were misplaced in the past five years.

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Our Comments

This is a real life situation where security features put forward by smartphone constructors can be tested and tried. The incident came to light a few days after sustained cyber attack waves hit websites in South Korea and the US. Senior management at the MoD will only hope that the thief who pickpockted the army officer was a proper one.

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