Feeds

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

Fraud, downtime, data loss, anything could happen!

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
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.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.