Feeds

Culture of insecurity blamed for HMRC data loss

Official reports lambast UK.gov over data breaches

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A culture of insecurity rather than mistakes by any single official has been blamed for the HMRC data loss debacle, an official inquiry is expected to report on Wednesday.

The Poynter report will highlight poor security practices at the government agency leading up to the loss of discs contained child benefit information on 25 million people in October last year.

Chancellor Alistair Darling told Parliament in November that a "junior official" had posted the encrypted discs to the National Audit Office, contrary to "strict security rules". However the report by management consultant Keiran Poynter is expected to highlight much wider problems at the agency.

Ahead of the publication of the report, net security firm Symantec said that it had implications for private business as well as government departments. According to Symantec, one in four data breaches in the UK occurs within Government departments. It reckons data breaches cost up to £47 per compromised record.

"More than 95 per cent of data loss is inadvertent or accidental. The recommendations in the Poynter Report have been given to avoid this scale of loss, accidental or otherwise, happening again. All organisations which hold customer data need to be very clear with its policies and have a very strict data loss prevention programme in place to manage and control the amount of data it holds,” said Richard Archdeacon, director of Symantec Global Security.

The Poynter report is one of four reports on government data security due out on Wednesday. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is due to report its take on the on the HMRC breach.

A separate Cabinet Office report will examine the wider issue of how government departments handle data. The report is expected to endorse moves to allow the Information Commissioner to make spot checks on government departments and agencies, the BBC reports.

Finally a Ministry of Defence investigation is expected to blame slack security practices for the loss of a laptop containing details on 600,000 potential armed forces recruits, AP adds.

The Telegraph has published a handy timeline on events surrounding the HMRC data loss scandal here.

We'll have more on the Cabinet Office report later today.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
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
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.