The Department of Trade and Industry has warned that memory sticks constitute a potentially grave threat to businesses as they enable employees to download and remove sensitive data. Often there is little or no attempt made to control the practice. When such data are being carried, the risk of loss of data to the company is significant.
According to recent figures from the Information Security Breaches Survey, less than ten per cent of companies encrypt the data stored on data sticks or portable flash drives.
The report followed a proposal from the European Commission that the minimum fine for intellectual property (IP) offences be increased to 100,000 euros. The proposals are aimed at IP counterfeiters and recommend that infringements of IP rights on a commercial scale should be treated as criminal offences. These will be subject to a minimum sentence of four years’ imprisonment where the crime is committed under the aegis of a criminal organisation or results in a significant health and safety risk. Also, in such cases the minimum fine would be 300,000 euros.
The proposals would allow member states of the European Union to provide harsher penalties if they wish.