BoI probes fifth laptop 'theft'

Bank of Ireland tonight confirmed it was investigating an allegation that a fifth company laptop holding confidential details on customers had been stolen.

It is the latest in a series of major security lapses to hit the bank after management said four laptops with information on 31,500 policies and applications were stolen in the last year.

The bank said the alleged theft dates back to 2001 and senior officials had not been made aware of it until now.

Officials moved to reassure customers the risk of fraud or identity theft from the seven-year-old security breach was low.

“Bank of Ireland is investigating an allegation of a stolen laptop computer dating back to 2001,” the bank said in a statement.

“The bank would like to reassure customers that the risk level of any data from seven years ago being used for fraudulent purposes is extremely remote.”

It is understood the computer was being used by sales agents from the insurance division and contained personal details of thousands of customers from the east of the country.

The bank said last month that four thefts had occurred over the last year and senior management and customers had not been informed. They affected customers from 29 branches.

The Data Protection Commissioner has taken the lead in investigations into the embarrassing security breaches but it is understood the bank has not broken any rules.

The Financial Regulator has also warned it is concerned over the thefts and how the bank acted.

The vast majority of people affected by the thefts were either applying for life assurance or had already taken out policies. There were also a small number of mortgage policies and applications.

The computers, three of which were stolen from cars and the fourth either from an employee’s home or branch, held names, addresses, medical backgrounds and bank account details.

However the laptops, which were not encrypted with secure codes, did not hold account passwords, personal identification numbers or copies of signatures.

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