German police are advising customers to check their accounts for suspicious activity after data was apparently stolen.


Frankfurt police spokesman Karlheinz Wagner said the authorities had secured boxes of credit card data that had been saved to microfilm and sent anonymously to the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. The information apparently includes the names, addresses, account numbers and recent transactions for thousands of credit card holders at the Landesbank Berlin.


Bank spokesman Marcus Recher said that there was no evidence yet that the data was used to access customers'accounts, but said the bank was ‘deeply shocked' and that it was unclear exactly how many account numbers might have been stolen.


Cyber-Ark said the incident could very easily have been avoided. European director Calum Macleod claimed that he found it incredible that the microfiche had fallen into the wrong hands.


He said: “If the bank had taken a sensible approach to the security of the data of its customers, it would have stored the data centrally on computer, and restricted access to that data using encryption and access plus authentication technology.


“The data should have been secured electronically using digital data vaulting techniques. This appears to be Germany's worst data loss disaster ever and will severely damage the bank's public reputation - and quite probably its share price.”