Feeds

Government Gateway login details found in pub car park

Transformational security breaches

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.