Laptop theft puts thousands of credit card customers in jeopardy

The personal details of thousands of customers have apparently been lost after a laptop was stolen from a partner of credit card provider MBNA.

A spokesperson for MBNA confirmed that the claims made in the Lancashire Evening Post were accurate, acknowledging that a laptop had been taken from the offices of a finance firm, NCO Europe, which provides services to MBNA and thus deals with sensitive data pertaining to its customers.

MBNA has said that whilst there were known to be personal details on the stolen device, it would not reveal the specific type of information it contained. It did confirm that there was no PIN information stored within the compromised files.

At this time MBNA has said that it is continually monitoring the cards of the affected group of customers and as yet none of the leaked information had been used to defraud those involved.

MBNA has contacted the customers whose information has been implicated in the theft to explain the situation and the potential damage that it could cause. In an attempt to appease its customer base, MBNA has provided a free 12 month subscription to the CreditExpert tracking service.

MBNA hopes that by using the CreditExpert service, its customers will be able to quickly identify any fraudulent activity within their accounts, thereby mitigating the effect of the data theft.

The laptop theft has been reported to the police and in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, details as to how the device came to be taken cannot be revealed at this time.

Security expert Nick Lowe commented on the recent theft, suggesting that the implementation of data protection within businesses of all types should be automatic, bypassing any margin for error that staff may introduce and making a safer working environment in which laptops can be used without becoming a liability.

A survey in November showed that just 41 per cent of all businesses install encryption capabilities on their laptops and experts fear that without further efforts to push for universal encryption policies, data theft from portable devices will continue to be a big problem.

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