Feeds

MoJ admits data breaches affecting 45,000

Long arm of the law has butter fingers

Reducing security risks from open source software

The Ministry of Justice has reported eight data breach incidents affecting around 45,000 people.

The incident affecting the most people, reported in the ministry's 2007-08 resource accounts (pdf), took place in June 2007. Discs containing 27,000 supplier records, including supplier names, addresses and in some cases bank details, were in the possession of a contractor to the ministry.

No notification steps were taken as a result. The document says that "the data was not lost or stolen but some examples were shown to a representative of a newspaper," adding that all the data was subsequently recovered or destroyed.

The ministry reported this and eight other incidents to the Information Commissioner's Office during the last financial year. Three involved the loss of laptops, one in January containing data on 14,000 fine defaulters. The data included names, dates of birth, addresses, offences and in a fifth of cases national insurance numbers. The laptop, described as inadequately protected, was lost within secured government premises.

Another incident in September 2007 involved a laptop lost outside government offices, and affected only 13 people – but they were applicants for judicial office, and the data lost included their suitability for that office. The individuals were notified, as well as the police.

Four of the incidents involved the loss of paper documents, with one incident in November 2007 involving data on 3,648 people including their alleged offences. One other incident involved the loss of storage devices.

In its resource accounts (pdf), the Department for Work and Pensions revealed three data losses, all of names, addresses and national insurance numbers, affecting in total more than 16,800 people.

The incident affecting most people took place in December 2007. It involved the unauthorised disclosure of data on 9,000 people and saw the department notify law enforcement agencies.

In December, the DWP confirmed that two discs containing details of thousands of benefit claimants had been mistakenly retained by a contractor. These reportedly contained 9,000 people's data.

However, at time of writing the department was not able to provide any further information on the December breach or the two others, one in July 2007 which potentially affected 7,800 people, and one in January when papers with data on 45 people were lost.

Meanwhile, the resource accounts (pdf) of the security and intelligence agencies will carry out work to improve their information security.

"This area will continue to demand significant senior management attention," cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell writes, in his capacity as accounting officer for the agencies in the public version of the accounts. "The agencies plan more internal reviews to support further measures for enhancing the effectiveness of their data security frameworks."

The document, a cut-down version of the full secret report, also says that the agencies formally reported "no protected personal data-related incidents" in the last financial year, and that in previous years, the agencies had focused on reporting incidents relating to national security.

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.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.