Feeds

Citizens Advice coughs to laptop loss

60,000 records go astray

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A laptop containing client information has been stolen from the car of an employee of Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland.

Up to 60,000 client records are held on the computer, which was stolen in the early hours of 5 December 2007. According to Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland, the data stored relates to people from the Belfast area who have sought advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau office within the city.

The amount of information held varies from case to case, but most records would include name, address, date of birth, and national insurance number. In a number of cases, some financial information is also recorded, including the client's bank account number.

In a statement issued on 7 December 2007, the chief executive of Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland, Derek Alcorn, said the organisation had informed the police and the information commissioner of the situation and would be writing to all the individuals concerned.

He said the data was protected by three levels of security, including a high level of encryption.

"It is highly unlikely that a criminal will be able to access the data, but people who have used Citizens Advice in the Belfast area should check for anything unusual," explained Alcorn. "We believe the information, even if it were accessed, would not on its own allow access to a bank account because banks require other security information and passwords."

He added: "It is a fundamental principle of Citizens Advice that people are able to deal with us in confidence. The theft of this laptop is highly regrettable, but given that the potential always exists for the theft of data, we have always sought to ensure that information is secured as strongly as possible through modern encryption systems."

In addition to writing to all those affected and providing appropriate advice, an 0800 helpline has been established to provide immediate advice to any individual. The organisation has also said it will commission an external, high level and independent review of its policies, procedures, and data protection.

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.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.