785 BBC mobile devices lost or stolen in 3 years

BBC staff have lost 785 laptops, tablet computers and mobile phones in the past three years, triggering fears that the losses could have exposed the corporation to security vulnerabilities.

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A Freedom of Information request reported in today's Guardian has revealed that since 2010, staff have misplaced or had stolen 399 laptops worth £598,500, 347 mobile phones worth up to £104,100, and 39 tablets at £58,500. 2012 was the most serious period, with 350 devices lost or stolen compared with 259 in 2011. In 2012 170 of the BBC's own laptops and tablets were lost or stolen, costing the licence-fee payer £255,000 – the equivalent of 1,752 annual licence fees at £145.50 per household. The report points out that the figures do include personal property lost by BBC staff that are not covered by licence fee funds.

A spokesman said: "We are very mindful that this equipment is paid for from the licence fee and we make every effort to keep theft and loss to a minimum. The BBC has implemented a number of measures to reduce the level of crime."

A senior researcher at online security firm Veracode said the increased use of mobile devices was good for productivity, but pointed out that the losses posed a potential security risk. Tyler Shields said "Increased mobility also opens up new risks for organisations due to vulnerabilities in applications that reside on these devices. To tackle this problem, it is critical that businesses ensure that all devices are protected and secure, by identifying and fixing application vulnerabilities, to prevent malicious hackers from exploiting them."

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