Feeds

Government cock-up over online PIN numbers

Code for access to tax returns sent to wrong address

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Government may have sent out hundreds of activation PIN numbers for its online gateway to the wrong addresses.

Reg reader Ed Hoppitt was very surprised when he received a letter from UK Online at his single detached house in Suffolk addressed to a Mr GJ Worthington and containing an activation number for the government gateway at www.gateway.gov.uk.

The Government Gateway is the entry point for citizens to all online government services, including the Inland Revenue. Services available once logged in include access to tax and VAT returns, enrolment to government schemes and the ability to send official forms to government agencies.

The letter informs Mr Worthington: "You must keep your User ID safe and not share it with anyone." Mr Hoppitt told us that he hasn't registered with UK Online and knows of no one called GJ Worthington.

When he called an enclosed helpline number, the operator asked him to open the shaded paper which protects the PIN and read it to her. She then confirmed that the computer system had Mr Worthington down as living at Mr Hoppitt's address.

A government spokeswoman refused to speculate on whether more PINs may have gone to the wrong addresses. "We are looking into the matter as we speak," she told us. It was the first UK Online had heard of a PIN going to the wrong address.

However, the government remains unconcerned over any security breach. "We are confident that security has not been compromised," we were told. "You still need a password - which wasn't in the letter - to get into the system."

The PIN number itself will expire in 14 days and presumably some time after that Mr Worthington will get in touch with UK Online to ask where the hell his letter is. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.