A second New Brunswick government computer has ended up in the wrong hands. 

Thursday night Saint John Police were alerted to a 24-year-old man prowling for valuables in unlocked vehicles.

Police arrested the man and found a stolen government laptop in his backpack.

This is the second stolen government laptop in the past five months —on top of 19 government security breaches in the past five years.  

IT security specialist Cory Allen said it only takes minutes to break into password-protected laptops.
He said as long as a thief has the physical drive, they could potentially have access to all of their email, along with other secure information.


Heather Hubert of Southwest Community Business Development Corporation says they wanted to be very open about any potential breach concerning the stolen laptop. (CBC)

Allen said this should demonstrate why the province is taking unnecessary risks by letting government workers walk around with sensitive information.

“You can literally go and sell this personal information to people who are doing all kinds of really bad things from human trafficking to credit fraud,” he said. 

This latest theft follows one that occurred in January when another government laptop was stolen from a vehicle in Saint John. 
That incident caused the province to issue a warning letter to 90 people whose data may have been compromised.

"Rather than not say anything about it, like some people do, in certain circumstances, we wanted to be very open and honest with any potential breach,” said Heather Hubert of the Southwest Community Business Development Corporation.
The office of the privacy commissioner said government workers, outside of the health department, are not obligated to report a security breach.

Police said the laptop has been returned to its owner. They will not say who that is.