Feeds

DWP still sending out passwords and discs together

Government data not secure? Shurely some mistake?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Department for Work and Pensions is still sending out discs containing confidential data together with passwords.

This most basic of security failings is no better than Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs sending out the entire UK child benefit database on unecrypted discs.

The moronic action was uncovered by the blog Dizzy Thinks, which received an internal email warning staff at DWP to pull their socks up.

It seems staff were sending discs of sensitive information and then sending the password separately. Well done chaps, that is almost a secure procedure. Not as good as not sending out discs at all, but a fantastic improvement on recent government incompetence.

Clearly, this almost effective security measure could not last for long.

Staff receiving the data and needing to forward it on - itself a security failing - were neatly bundling password and package and sending them out together.

Genius.

The email, with more patience than we could muster, said:

I have been advised of instances where password protected data has been sent out with the password being sent separately as detailed in Security Notice 02/07. However, once the data and the separate password are received, staff are then forwarding the data and password on together, this defeats the purpose of the security measure entirely. Could I ask you to remind staff of the heightened security surrounding data transfer and ensure that data and passwords are sent separately.

A DWP spokeswoman sent us the following statement:

We take the security of individuals' data extremely seriously. We have carried out a major review of procedures around the transfer of data to ensure the security of customer information. We expect all managers to monitor the application of our security controls and ensure that the correct action is taken in all cases.

She could not tell us whether any individual was disciplined for the failure, because an investigation into the leak lapse is underway. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.