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Unencrypted USB with nuclear ‘stress test’ lost

Nuclear power plant data goes missing, leading the Office for Nuclear Regulation to carry out an internal investigation.

USB

A staff member at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has lost an unencrypted USB drive containing a "stress test" for a UK nuclear power station.

The ONR, an agency of the Health and Safety Executive, admitted the loss of the data stick, which contained details on how to carry out safety assessments of a nuclear facility

The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification.

The body said the USB "did not contain any significantly sensitive information."

"At the start of the EC [European Council] 'stress test' programme, the licensees of all UK nuclear power stations committed to publishing their stress test reports, so most of the findings in this report are now in the public domain," a spokesperson told IT Pro.

"The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification. An internal investigation has been undertaken by ONR."

European Council stress tests were ordered after the Fukushima nuclear disasters in Japan.

Every nuclear power generating country in Europe agreed to carry out these stress tests, which have involved "a targeted reassessment of each station's safety margins in light of extreme natural events, such as earthquake and tsunami."

Terry Greer-King, UK MD for security company Check Point, said such losses are likely to continue occurring.

"This simply highlights the risks that businesses expose themselves to when using unencrypted devices," Greer-King added.

"If it's the organisation's policy to use encryption for sensitive documents, then solutions are easily available to apply this protection automatically."

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