Feeds

ContactPoint goes live despite security fears

Thinking of the children - but is that all?

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Won't someone think of the malware?

During trials due to begin next week, 800 frontline workers in 17 local authorities' areas (largely in North West England) will be trained in using the system. Officials with two childrens' charities - Barnardo's and KIDS - will also be involved in phase two of the roll-out of the system.

Earlier trials of the system have already uncovered problems. For example, adopted children included on the systems were filed by both their original and adopted surnames, creating a greater risk that these potentially troubled kids might be tracked down, the Daily Telegraph reports/a>.

Security researchers have expressed doubts about ministerial assurances on the security of the proposed ContactPoint child protection database.

Such comforting statements are at best incomplete, according to three experts. Concerns about the security of the database expressed by malware expert Chris Boyd of IM security firm FaceTime and Stuart Okin, UK managing director of security consulting Comsec, follow those first raised by confidential Reg sources in the IT testing community last month. Peter Houppermans, architect of the high-profile GSI project, is similarly unconvinced.

Boyd's concerns focus on the possibility that malware-infected laptops might allow access into the system, which will become an attractive target for hackers. Okin highlights issues over the huge number of professionals who will be authorised to access the system.

Answering questions in the House of Commons last month, Beverley Hughes, minister of state at the Department of Children, Schools and Families, brushed away concerns that the system might be vulnerable to unauthorised access or leaks. As well as saying the systems had been subjected to penetration tests, Hughes also responded to questions about remote access to the system.

Practitioners will be able to access ContactPoint remotely (i.e. from locations other than local authority, health service or national partner organisations premises) only via secure remote access solutions authorised and provided by those organisations and compliant with the ContactPoint security policy. Technical security measures prevent access from unsecured wireless broadband or public locations such as internet cafes and wireless "hotspots".

The minister told the House that even authorised users would be unable to download information obtained from the database, either onto a computer or removable media.

Chris Boyd of FaceTime is sceptical on this.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.