£150k of electronic devices stolen from the BBC in 3 years

BBC says the devices stolen include microphones, laptops, and other devices, sparking fresh cybersecurity fears for the broadcaster.

The BBC has reported over £150,000 worth of electronic devices stolen over the past three years, including microphones, laptops, and other devices, according to official figures.

The data, which was retrieved by the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and analysed by the Parliament Street think tank, observed the number of stolen devices from the BBC year on year between 2019 and 2021, as well as the monetary value of devices.

In total, 256 devices were recorded as stolen during the reporting period, totalling £150,998, with a staggering 83 per cent, £125,961, coming in 2021.

The BBC notes that during 2021, 164 microphones were stolen in one incident, which is subject of a Police investigation. They also revealed that a suspect, a non-BBC contractor, was identified and subsequently dismissed by their employer.

The devices stolen in 2021 included iPads, mobile phones, laptops, MacBooks, televisions, cameras, speakers, lenses, and microphones.

Across 2019 and 2020, 58 electronic devices were reported as stolen, totalling £25,037.

Cybersecurity expert Achi Lewis, Area VP EMEA of Absolute Software, says: "The threat landscape of the cyber industry is constantly evolving, and stolen devices are unfortunately a prominent part of that. Large organisations like the BBC, in particular, are often subject to all forms of cyberattack, as they are lucrative targets due to the volume of equipment and data they oversee.

“Given that cyber-attacks are a case of when, not if, the onus falls onto organisations to ensure they are properly prepared with both preventative and reactive measures. Leveraging resilient Zero Trust technology, for example, can help monitor device and application activity to identify suspicious behaviour. If a device connects to the company network in an unusual location, a central IT team can be alerted and shut off or freeze the device using secure access controls, should the activity be deemed suspicious.

“The goal is to balance blocking out cyber criminals to prevent them laterally breaching a network, with keeping devices operational so productivity isn’t disrupted. This is supported through ensuring effective cybersecurity training to help staff properly identify and report threats, such as stole devices.”

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