Feeds

Government Gateway login details found in pub car park

Transformational security breaches

High performance access to file storage

Updated Key government services were taken offline over the weekend after the discovery in a pub car park of a pocket storage device containing details of the Government Gateway. The Gateway is intended to provide a central secure login service for a range of government systems, including tax credits and self assessment, so taking it offline paralyses these too, before you can say 'single point of failure'.

The device, which was passed to the Mail on Sunday last week, was lost two weeks ago outside a pub in Cannock, Staffordshire, by an employee of Atos Origin. In 2006 Atos Origin won a £46.7m five-year contract to provide managed IT services for the Government Gateway.

The Department of Work & Pensions claims that the data on the device was encrypted and the security of the Government Gateway had not been breached. However, according to the Mail, Jacques Erasmus, a security expert who examined the device for the paper, said it contained passwords, security software and "source code". Erasmus told the paper: "I could decrypt those passwords to log in to the system and roam around the network. As we can see from the data on the USB stick, the systems contain highly sensitive personal information. If you can crack those encrypted passwords, and it would just be a matter of time, you could potentially access those 12 million accounts and those details."

In a statement Atos Origin said that the removal of the device from its premises was in direct breach of its operating principles, while the DWP said that an "urgent investigation" was under way.

By lunchtime, the Information Commissioner had weighed in, with a statement informing us Richard Thomas "is now awaiting the results of ongoing investigations to establish the facts and the nature and extent of any risk to individuals."

The statement added, "The Information Commissioner expects the Government to take appropriate damage limitation steps as its first priority."

A year after the MHMRC data debacle, this sounds hopeful, at best.

Meanwhile, in an entirely unrelated piece of joined-up data loss, DWP Secretary James Purnell has been spotted shedding confidential documents on a train. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.