Personal electronic devices from nearly 27 members of the parliament and the House of Commons of the United Kingdom parliament have reportedly been missing.
According to a Metro report, the missing devices included laptops, iPads, and a desktop. The list in the report pertaining to this year with parliamentary-supplied equipment had 2 of them being marked as found, while the status for other lost devices had no information.
The devices were marked as stolen while being in the possession of members of the House of Commons. This points toward the lack of security around the sensitive data stored in those devices.
The names of the parliamentarians were not disclosed under a data protection act. Most of the devices have cellular data activated in them. Of the six devices lost from the House of the Lords, two were laptops, two iPads and a desktop.
House of Commons incident explained
The loss of devices held by the House of Commons can make them more prone to hacking as cybercriminals have been targeting parliaments and the government sector.
There are over 700 members of the Lords, which makes it the second-largest parliamentary chamber in the world. With this number, the information can be shared in each device which makes it important to find the devices and take every action to mark its data inaccessible to cybercriminals.
In the face of threats from state-backed hackers and others, a cybersecurity expert from NordVPN told the news organization that besides protecting passwords, protecting the hardware is just as important.
Another security expert from Defense.com expressed concerns over the exploitation of vulnerabilities in lost devices. “Even if devices are up to date with the latest security patches, new exploits and vulnerabilities are being discovered weekly, which means you can never assume that stolen or lost devices are safe,” the expert told the Metro.
It is essential that people with power secure their devices, including their handsets. The devices can get sold in the black market or land in the hands of a cybercriminal who can break into the security measures and steal sensitive data.
In a recent incident, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, claimed that her father’s phone was compromised because she received a message from him addressing her rather unusually. However, her father, Thomas Markle, denied the claim saying that he was in the hospital being treated, and so the text was formed with Meghan being addressed by her full name.