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back to article Stolen laptops fuel industrial espionage fears for UK software firm

A UK-based hi-tech firm that's become the victim of "industrial espionage" is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for stealing its computer hardware. Thieves who stole a number of laptops from VBi Triscan Systems also lifted hard disks from the fuel management firm's servers sometime …

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Market Leaders?

Interesting, I worked as a trainer and consultant for a US based software company who provide fuel management software for the major oil/petroleum companies (globally). They could be classed as market leaders, but I have never heard of the so called market leader referenced in this article...

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Why not to encrypt valuable data?

"Data on the machines was backed up, but not encrypted. "The laptops were worth thousands, but in terms of intellectual property the potential damage to the business is a hell of a lot more," said marketing manager Barry McLeod"...

Why not to encrypt valuable data? Isn't it worth sixty dollars or even free program? Dekart Private Disk, Truecrypt, Drivecrypt - there is a lot of such software in the market.

Just read an interesting story about this: Private Disk Timeline at http://www.lazybit.com/

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Silver badge

Fear that (the theft was) aimed at gathering trade secrets

Well duh, guvnor. No really, what makes them think that ? It could very well be that the thieves just decided that they needed a bit of disk space for their home computer, and decided to drag out some of the hot-swappable disks from the RAID array. All that after just happening to stumble upon the door to the server room on the second sub-basement level, with its card reader and all that. Door that they just happened to pry open with a crowbar by accident.

For Pete's sake, even when robbed the suits don't forget to be politically correct. How difficult is it to simply say "they came for data" ?

Pascal.

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Anonymous Coward

People prefer conspiracies

Although possible, it's much more likely it was just a regular theft, which the management turn into a minor promotional activity ("market leaders" etc). Has anyone ever heard of a genuine attempt by a software company to target and steal data like this? People like to inflate their sense of importance. I find it hard to imagine them developing a piece of software so unique and difficult to copy or reverse engineer that you actually consider (let alone do!) a real black-bag break-in and robbery. Most developers would prefer to attempt to write their own version anyways (the "not invented here" syndrome).

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Re: Market Leaders

Thing is I dont think there is any restriction on saying

A market leader in X ("A" being the weasel word here)

or

One of the best X in the galaxy.

Meaningless phrases,

I am one of the sexiest men in Britain for sure, perhaps the 20 millionth.

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Their own fault

The technology is there and if one needs theoretically 1.5 Trillion years to crack the latest Encryptions we can consider it as secure. If this company does not use this technology well then they should stop their whinging. But as almost everywhere in the UK: Security doesn't matter and there is no budget assigned to security nor do these companies employ security experts or if they do people don't listen.

And if this was a e-spionage case rather than theft of hardware then even the snippets they will find on these Laptops will be highly valuable to a competitor and a professional will have it very easy to extract data from the HDDs believed to be deleted since ages. So even after their IP was stolen they just ignore it more or less and say nobody can do anything with the data. And why the big fuzz if 'It would be difficult for the thieves or recipients of the material to gain any useful advantage or information from them.'? This tells me that there is lots more to find on these Laptops than they want to admit. The encryption software with pre-boot authentication is available for under £100 per seat, a security expert costs approximately 50k/pa, a few procedural changes. Compare this to the costs of this incident and false economy comes to mind. Geez even my PCs at home with absolutely no valuable data on them are fully encrypted. The state of IT-Security in this country is scary to say the least.

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