Feeds

New benefits website at risk of hackers, no Plan B - ministers

Fraud, downtime, data loss, anything could happen!

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Fraud and identity theft are serious problems threatening Universal Credit, Blighty's soon-to-be-launched web-based benefits system, ministers said yesterday.

Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and welfare reform minister Lord Freud were grilled by the Work and Pensions Select Committee over the new programme, designed to take over and merge separate public-funded payouts such as jobseeker's allowance and housing benefits.

Lord Freud admitted that he saw online security as a risk and worried about being able to prove people's identities online to stop benefit fraud.

"I’ll say what the challenges are, what we need to get right to get the security system working properly," said the great grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Former Tory leader Duncan Smith said that the government would also have to ensure that the new system was always online: "We must always be ready for the moment we need to pay people the money."

The ministers said the project, now in the final stages of development, was adopting security systems used by banks, and the team behind it was in talks with internet companies including Amazon for advice on how to keep availability high.

But they also said that programmers still hadn't tested the bridge that is supposed to link data from HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions.

"We're testing that bridge, the mechanics of the bridge with dummy data, and we will be getting live feeds for our trial in April," Lord Freud said, adding that there was no need for a Plan B in case the bridge didn't work - because he has a "comfort level" about it sorting itself out.

Like most major reforms to government policy, the Universal Credit system is facing an all-round backlash: Treasury officials questioned whether it can stick to its implementation timetable, charities and interest groups claimed the system will leave Brits out of pocket, and Labour lambasted the project. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.