Feeds

Land Registry denies ID fraud risk

'The system is designed to combat fraud'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The Land Registry has attempted to dampen accusations that its online register leaves home owners open to ID fraud.

It has denied claims by the NO2ID group that it has not paid sufficient attention to security in making mortgage deeds and leases available online, and that they could reveal information which could be used to steal an individual's identity.

The Land Registry insisted that an open register is the norm, and that many other countries had been operating open systems for much longer than the UK.

"The system's transparency is designed to combat fraud; no one can say they own a property that is registered to someone else," it said in a statement.

"There is no evidence that fraud has resulted from the availability of this information from Land Registry. If we receive evidence of a security risk, Land Registry in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office will of course investigate."

For just £3 the online system allows people to download a plan or register for a house they are buying. They can view details of what land is included, ownership and the price paid, by entering the property's postcode into the search engine.

The register, which has been open to the public since 1990, has been available online since 2005. The 2002 Land Registration Act allowed copies of mortgage deeds and leases to be made available, which contain the signatures of homeowners.

There are fears that such information could provide building blocks, which along with publicly available details from other sources, could be used by fraudsters to steal someone's identity.

A spokesperson for the anti-ID cards pressure group, the NO2ID campaign, told GC News: "It is good to see that public documents are being made accessible online. But it is a terrible shame that it is not being done in a safe, consistent and well thought out way.

"Instead a blanket approach is being taken which means that potentially sensitive information could be made available for a paltry £3. In the future, as signatures are used less and less as a form of authentication, perhaps signatures will be less of a target for potential fraud, but we are certainly not there yet."

The Ministry of Justice added: "Government is keen to ensure that publicly available sources of information wherever possible disclose a minimum of personal identity details that could be used by fraudsters for illegal transactions or to assist in compiling details of personal information about individuals."

In 2003 the Home Office set up the Identity Fraud and Steering Committee to work with organisations to identify and implement measures to counter identity fraud.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.