Feeds

DWP still sending out passwords and discs together

Government data not secure? Shurely some mistake?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.