A fresh data loss has been reported at the Scottish Ambulance Service while the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit was breached last week.

The Press Association reported that a laptop containing 600 patient records had been stolen from the Scottish Ambulance Service headquarters in Morningside, Edinburgh, some time between 4.15pm on Tuesday and 7.30am on Wednesday last week.

Police said that names, addresses and details of treatments were included in the information which was password protected but not encrypted.

Chris McIntosh, CEO of Stonewood, said: “In the last two years, NHS bodies have been responsible for 30 per cent of all reported data breaches. These organisations should be leading the way in encrypting the sensitive patient data they are carrying around on laptops or memory sticks; saying they are password protected is just not enough.

“Even if the person who stole the laptop doesn't have the expertise to crack a password, they could sell it on to someone who has, potentially putting the names, addresses and even treatment details of these 600 individuals into the hands of criminals.

“The data is not safe or secure unless it is properly protected, and hardware encryption means that whoever steals a device, without the correct authentication keys, nobody will ever access the data. Hardware encryption is not expensive, and the price of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands is certainly far higher.”

Also, BBC News has reported that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit's email system was hacked into last Thursday and that information was taken and published without permission.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites. Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm that all of this material is genuine.

“This information has been obtained and published without our permission and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation. We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved the police in this enquiry.”