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back to article Terror cops hunt laptop snatched from retired MI5 spookmistress

A laptop belonging to the former boss of MI5 has been nicked while she was passing through Heathrow Airport. Dame Stella Rimington's computer was swiped after she left the machine on a luggage trolley at Heathrow airport last Tuesday, The Sun reports. There's no evidence the theft was anything more than opportunistic. Even so …

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Bronze badge

former boss?

former boss?

so does she work there? or is this just some private individuals private home laptop has been stolen?

no doubt she adheres strictly to the official secrets act and dosent gossip about her former job either in a secure manner or not.

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Bronze badge

Re: former boss?

quote: so does she work there? or is this just some private individuals private home laptop has been stolen?

This is a private individuals private laptop. The excuse for SO15 to get involved is apparently "because of the possibility that the computer might contain contact details for Rimington's former colleagues, even though she left the service 16 years ago".

So there you have it; if you've ever worked in public service you can actually get the police to properly investigate equipment theft, instead of turn up the next day and go "sorry mate, no chance we'll be able to track that down for you so the data's gone for ever. Better get a new one eh?"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: former boss?

"...if you've ever worked in public service you can actually get the police to properly investigate equipment theft ..."

If you substitute "as head of military intelligence" for "in public service", you are probably correct. Some public servants are more equal than others.

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You'd think she, of all people, would be more careful

The title says it all.

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Silver badge

Re: You'd think she, of all people, would be more careful

You forget, MI5 are a government department, so they just spend all their time telling others how to be careful and whilst in practise still being about as data secure as my mother.

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Joke

Re: You'd think she, of all people, would be more careful

Your mother's data security is so weak, she hashes passwords with sashimi fugu.

I assure you, that was hilarious

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Silver badge

Re: You'd think she, of all people, would be more careful

I don't think she even know Mr Fugu!

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Anonymous Coward

It's OK...

I'm sure the laptop had impenetrable Windows security in place and...

Darn, almost got that out with a straight face before I broke out laughing.

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Happy

Re: It's OK...

It is Ok- when the thieves open it, a jet of poison gas will shoot out of the screen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's OK...

Oh sorry, I suppose you would rather have an operating system that does have impenetrable security even when an attacker has physical access?

Tip: there is no such thing.

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Anonymous Coward

No problem

The disk will be encrypted of course..... right?

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Black Helicopters

Forgotten? Maybe not...

"Dame Stella seems to have forgotten the tricks of her tradecraft since leaving MI5."

Or maybe she did it on purpose?

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Meh

Who cares

She left the service 16 years ago so the possibility of anything but personal information being on the laptop is very slim. It wasn't a 17 year old laptop was it? How is this even news worthy?

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Just an excuse

If you have your laptop stolen, plod will give you a crime reference number and that is the last you will hear of it.

Let slip that you are a former head of MI5 and suddenly there is an APB out for the potential enemy agent that must have swiped it!

I guess her ex-colleagues over at spy HQ were willing to back her up so she can recover the turgid novels^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ^H Top secret contact details she has on there.

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FAIL

tip-off for the crims

"Whoever stole Dame Stella's laptop was [...] more interested in selling the computer down the pub than attempting to uncover any secrets on her hard drive."

Until now

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Anonymous Coward

Shouldn't have said anything

So this laptop I just bought down the local is worth a hell of a lot more than I paid for it, to the right people?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Shouldn't have said anything

But is it worth being drugged and sealed inside a North Face bag in your shower?

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Alert

airport security?

I wonder if airport security had anything to do with this --- the way they separate you from your valuables, which they leave lying out in the open unattended while they search you.

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Thumb Up

Re: airport security?

I feel like I need eyes everywhere when this happens - you're supposed to just trust that the passengers in front of you don't pick up your stuff as it sails past your spread-eagled/nekkid-photographed form and idles at the end of the conveyor.

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Anonymous Coward

"It's unclear whether the swiped laptop (brand unknown) was either backed up, encrypted or password protected"

How can she not know? WTF?

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So if we read of a second person found dead in a bag in a bath, we'll know that the spooks found the thief.

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Anonymous Coward

She would of only left it unencrypted on a bus if it hadn't been nicked.

Isn't that what these MFI sales people do?

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Anonymous Coward

"I of left my laptop on a bus"?

Speak sense, man!

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Psst! Wanna buy a laptop?

If the thief didn't know who she was then, with this "opportunistic" swipe, he/she sure does now and will doubtless be flogging it off to the nearest sympathetic embassy to be cracked (if indeed that's what needs to be done) but my guess is that whatever is on there is probably in plain sight! Physician, heal thyself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Psst! Wanna buy a laptop?

If it is her old work computer, perhaps they would donate it to Bletchley Park. It can sit next to the commodore pet

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Silver badge
Happy

Where was her Kingston security cord?

Whenever I travel I always leave my Kingston security tether in place so when i have to wait around transportation terminals I can thread the cord through suitcase handles and still know all is safe (except at Heathrow where a Plod told me to carry them)..

At check in counters, I treat it like a dog leash - around my wrist.

Going through the X-ray machine I thread the tether through my jacket / coat sleeves to stop things disappearing.

When riding the Chiltern Line (great service) I place my laptop on the rack and keep the Kingston around my wrist. I can even snooze knowing all is safe.

Never lost a computer (or anything) in many decades of travel except when travelling with Air Canada when they managed to lose my checked baggage.

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Happy

It'll be handed in.....

......once the BOFH has finished spicing up her turgid opus with some suitably lurid sex scenes.

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Museum Piece?

If it's the laptop she had while a serving officer 15 years ago, presumably its value is as an antique?

And 'turgid'? Rubbish! She writes excellent thrillers - I wish there were more of them!

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