back to article Royal laptop theft 'will expose picture'

Security experts said it would be child's play for thieves to access sensitive data on the Duchess of York's stolen laptop, despite the use of password protection. Fergie's computer, swiped during a break in to a photography studio last Thursday, reportedly revealed Manchester United's January transfer window targets …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tea cup

    Storm in a tea cup, why should boring everyday pictures be encrypted they're hardly a massive national threat to the country, tools.

  2. Iain


    Were they naked photos? I guess not. So what's the fuss?

  3. Mudslinger

    so what else

    was on this lappy?

    Coutts banking details would be handy!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a personal laptop

    Unless the pictures of andrew and the kids were in flash slideshows with "I'm the leader of the gang" playing in the background, what's the harm?

  5. adnim Silver badge

    A little bit special

    "Given the fact that the Royal Family was involved with the pictures held on this laptop, the data should have been encrypted - full stop,"

    Why? Are the royals something special or are they just better than the rest of us.

    Anyone who gives a shit about what is on this laptop needs to get a life.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @1st poster

    If they showed the interior of "private" bits of Royal properties it could be of a small help to terrorists. That's about it. Alternatively they could be pr0n.

    It's the one with the full bottle of mind bleach in the pocket, thanks- I'll be needing it...

  7. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Top Shelf Shenanigans or Under the Counter Proofs?

    ""The photographs are of a sensitive nature so she can't just take them along to her local shop to be printed," the source added." ....

    I wonder what that means?

  8. ShaggyDoggy

    @ AC 12:27

    Indeed, unless they are "those" sort of pictures

  9. alex dekker

    No excuses for this kind of rubbish any more

    Truecrypt is free and works with Linux, Mac and Windows. It's an absolute doddle to install and get working. Why do we keep hearing stupid stories like this?

  10. Chris Williams

    One rule for them, one rule for us.

    We mere clock-punching workers have our personal details stolen or misplaced in bulk, mine nestling amongst hundreds of thousands or millions more.

    The Royal Family, on the other hand, has a much lower details-to-laptop ratio: in this instance, it would seem that Fergie and her girls have an entire laptop to themselves, a bit like taking their personal data taking a chartered Lear jet rather than sitting cross-legged in the cargo hold of an easyJet flight.

    Who says we live in a classless society?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Encrypted USB sticks = bad, Non encrypted data on laptop = good

    Some companies have security policies created by nincompoops stating that because USB sticks have got lost by idiots in the past we will make everyone save all their sensitive company data onto laptops, which have passwords (therefore secure) and which we will prominently carry home every night in bags with prominently displayed computer logos on them, because if we kept them in the office they might get stolen..

    Carrying a computer bag home after dark (with aformentioned well recognisable computer logo on back) will not increase the chances of the data falling into the wrong hands... especially seeing as we carry them home on a daily basis, through the same neighbourhood night after night, following the same route, carrying laptops with non-encrypted data on them.

    It's fool proof.

    Too bad it's not proof against anything else.

    Anon because USB sticks with encrypted data are inherently bad, ok?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Exactly what is not in the public domain ? We have seen pictures of all the family, unless these are embarrassing or explicit then this is hardly of concern.

    Of course they should be using some form of encryption... but it takes more effort on the part of the user.

    I'm surprised this made the news.

  13. Martin Lyne


    Royal facebook!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ZOMG NOT SOME PICTURES!!!111!!one!

    Imagine all the dasTARDly deeds they could do with the pictures! They could...errm:

    look at them

    laugh at them

    try (stupidly) to sell them to the media, get laughed at themselves and nicked

    print them out and use them for dart practise

    print them out and give people paper cuts

    delete them

    Not exactly WMDs are they now...

    Michael Callahan needs to STFU and "it beggars belief" that he is so desperate for his name to appear in print that he would come out with such crap.

    PH because she is about as news worthy as this article.

  15. Gordon Pryra

    What AC said

    Who gives a shit? Its not like anyone can use them. Any rag stupid enough to print them would be riped apart in court.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    depending on settings..

    .. windows will encrypt certain files anyway so if you break the password protection it breaks the files.

  17. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    It's the thought that counts.

    Or not as the case may be, or wasn't rather, in this particular Madam's case.

    Still, it's nice to know the police are on the job. Or do they just shuffle papers for these things like they did when someone stole my bicycle?

    I mean, how the hell are they supposed to find it?

  18. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    Belief beggared?

    "so it beggars belief that the Royal Family's security staff - who are supposedly drawn from the upper echelons of the Police and UK Security Services - didn't pick up on the need for IT security on the photos."

    Unfortunately, no, it doesn't beggar belief at all. Standard thought processes seem to not be able to tell the difference between encryption and password-protected. I've been asked what the difference is by people who really should know better too many times to be comfortable.

  19. Tam Lin

    Is sarcasm is still legal in Britain?

    Because if it is, somebody needs to figure out how to securely photograph it happening and levy a congestion fee.

  20. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Cynical? I prefer the word "experienced".

    I wonder if Credant might be able to furnish the Royal family with suitable software that would have encrypted the data on the laptop? Oh my! It's seems that they sell The Very Thing!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Unless the picture is of them sh@gging, I don't really see the problem.

    Paris, cos, you know...

  22. Marvin the Martian

    Spanner, meet nut.

    "Tools"? I see why you're AC, you realize your own stupidity but can't put your finger on it.

    To help you along: It's not the pictures in se that have to be encrypted, it's the entire HD contents. That a (probably virus-laden) laptop is not the most efficient way to transport a few pics is also pointed out in the article, but in itself an unrelated WTF.

    Note to ElReg: stick to single bullet points in articles, you confuse some of the plebs.

  23. Anonymous John

    Why the publicity?

    Now the thief knows he's got something possibly more valuable than just a laptop that would otherwise just have been wiped and sold on.

    All she has to do is to buy a new laptop, and restore the photos from a backup.

    What do you mean? She has no backup?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    the more senior, the more . . .

    one of our exec lost his laptop for the 2nd time in 6 months (yes, lost not stolen)

    IT support dude to execs PA "does he have a back-up?"

    PA "err, I don't think so where do we get one of those?"


    so "upper echelons of the Police and UK Security Services" eh?

    well they have a great record on keeping data safe don't they?

    blind leading the blind if you ask me, and they want more of our data every week, god help us!

    mines the one with the winning lottery ticket in the pocket please

  25. Tim

    @ Gordon might offer a few quid for them.


  26. n


    publicity scarce ex-royal, now wannabe tv star, leaves laptop(?) in photo developers, and says in a loud voice, "oh don't look in that folder on the desktop named 'Private sexy pics/vids of a real live duchess who has tea with the queen and talks all posh and stuff' please" as i would be so embarrassed at all the publicity that would generate".

  27. Andy Livingstone

    Three possibilities?

    In food factories, the possibilities for products left out for testing were:

    1) Useless - Product not stolen

    2) Marketable - Products totally vanished

    3) Crap idea - Products stolen, but quickly brought back.

    Expect this laptop to be returned once the product has been examined.

  28. Vincent

    Please stop...

    Please stop suggesting that there are pornographic pictures of the royal family on that laptop.

    I'm gonna be need some of that mind bleach, AC...

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: depending on settings...

    So, no need to break stride while walking in to access them then?

    Hint: Try not breaking the "password protection" (hah!) but working around it. If you can't do this in 10 minutes, you can turn in your "l33t d00d hax0r (kindergarten grade 1)" badge.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It all makes sense now

    Didnt she recently sell her car which still had addresses in the sat nav, maybe one of them was "Location of hidden laptop with incriminating photos on I can use for blackmail purposes"

  31. Tony


    'Were they naked photos?'

    Please God no!

  32. Geeks and Lies
    Black Helicopters!

    dfasfdfs ............................

  33. J
    Paris Hilton


    I would care if it were slightly more time-worthy people whose laptop had been nicked...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Spanner, meet nut.

    What on Earth is she going to have on the laptop that is any more or less important then information that anyone else may or may not have. Maybe a calander! Oh Noes! But then it's no different from her phone being stolen, oh noes they have her phone address book. Waahhh

    Maybe she happend to have the laptop with her becouse she was working on it doing other things, I know several people who generally have their laptop on them to write things, email things, and generally do other things. There are a multitude of reasons why she may have thought "ah I'll use my laptop" instead of troting around with a USB stick that would be no use to her unless she could get access to a pc.

    Stop trying to be clever and live with the fact that you're a bland unintelligent know it all.

  35. Frank Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @Tim re. @Gordon

    First we had Rik Myslewski in his 'New York iPod Tax' article mentioning

    Now we have you with I wish people wouldn't do this because I get very frustrated and disappointed when, after looking for them, it turns out they don't exist.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this straight

    Various and assorted jackholes in your government have thus far lost or managed to get stolen sensitive information on what.... probably half the population now? And yet some how those same types just because they are working for the royal family would apply better data security practices? Hummm, yeah given the track record this year alone I don't think that will be happening.

    BTW, @Vincent: Porn pictures of the royal family, Porn pictures of the royal family, Porn pictures of the royal family... Oh and probably money shots with Fergie on the receiving end... muahahahaha

  37. OffBeatMammal
    Paris Hilton

    Bank Job II

    sounds like someone trying to set up a part in Bank Job II (though tunneling through the internet isn't quite the same as digging under a chicken shop!)

    Why use a laptop anyway FFS... isn't everything int he cloud these days?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Anyone want...

    A copy of Trinity Rescue Disk, the quick and easy way to remove those unwanted Windoze Passwords!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    was not revealed in pages of tabloid fergie revealing sex-crets of pussy toying to St. Lady Di? suspect that motivation is intimate search by security services. buzz. buzz.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Two Royals, One Cup

    Full disk encryption, its the only answer

  41. g00p

    Its only a panic...

    ..coz the wrong company/person will get the payout from OK magazine when the pics are sold.

    D'oh no million dolla fo yoooo mista photo maan

  42. N Silver badge


    By both her & the studio for allowing it to happen in the first place.

    Two fish ?

  43. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Eat the Royals

    I'd say they would be a feast fit for, a, errrr, King!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It makes me laugh!

    One the fact that this has made the news and Two the fact that a laptop with sensitive date on was not encrypted.... We might not deem this to be sensitive but someone clearly does... Which brings me to Password protection is not good for anything other than delaying the outcome of getting the information. Hacking a password takes a matter of minutes and if you have not encrypted the Laptop then its your own fault. Encrypt to 256 bit and have the login at pre boot... We have installed Check Point FDE for this very reason and have ticked all the boxes for FIP 140-2 requirements...

    These so called IT bods are getting paid a lot of tax payers money for nothing!

  45. Paul Vincent
    Gates Halo

    Sensitive is objective

    Encrypt stuff you don't want other people to look at.

    This will be different for me, for you, for the Financial Organisation I work for, for the government, the police and for the military.

    Thats why the first step in Information Security is classification. Only when you put a value on Information can you establish the appropriate method/s of protection.

    Unfortunately this is not appreciated by many... even though many of us make these kind of decisions everyday (whether to go ex-directory, withhold our telephone numbers etc)


  46. Paul Vincent

    Consultancy opportunity

    Maybe I should offer my services... Infomation security advisor to the Royal Family... Nice.

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