Heathrow launches probe after UK queen's security details found in USB stick on London street

USB drive contained dozens of folders with maps, videos and documents – some marked confidential or restricted – detailing security at Europe’s busiest airport

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 10:46am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 11:22pm

Heathrow Airport has launched an investigation after a memory stick containing confidential security information was found on a London street.

The Sunday Mirror said a member of the public found the USB drive and turned it over to the newspaper.

The device contained 76 folders, including information about the security measures used to protect Queen Elizabeth II when she uses the airport and how to access restricted areas.

The data wasn’t encrypted.

Heathrow said in a statement that security plans had been reviewed in light of the incident and the airport remained “vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis”.

The airport said security officials “launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future”.

A spokeswoman declined to detail the contents on the USB and when the security lapse occurred.

The device reportedly contained 174 documents, some outlining the types of IDs needed for different areas of the airport.

It also included timetables of security patrols, and maps pointing to the positions of CCTV cameras, the Sunday Mirror said.

The incident comes as Britain’s threat level remains at severe following a series of deadly terrorism attacks this year.

Heathrow, Britain’s biggest airport which handled nearly 76 million passengers last year, is considered a prime target for terrorists.

The airport spokeswoman said safety and security were its “top priority”.

“The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis,” she added.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press