Tag Archives: Home Office

Apple iPhones Most Targeted by Thieves

A report that has been compiled by the Home Office indicates that Apple iPhones are the most desirable for thieves.

The report states that the Apple iPhone models such as the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S topped the table with the Blackberry 9790 making up the top five.

The collated results were based on information received from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and analysis of crime data in London form 1st August 2012 to 5th January 2014. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 742,000 phones were reported as stolen between 2012 and 2013 whilst the Metropolitan Police reported that nearly 100,000 phones were stolen in 2013 in London alone.

The report also states that 14-24 year olds are most at risk of having their phone stolen with women also being targeted by thieves.

Home Secretary Theresa May who published the report believes that the number of phones being reported stolen is a concern because of the sensitive data that is now stored on.

May stated, “Crime has fallen by more than 10% under this government. However, the level of mobile phone theft remains a concern and people are increasingly carrying their lives in their pockets, with bank details, emails and other sensitive personal information easily accessible through mobile phones.

May added, “This is why it is vital that government, police and industry work together to tackle this crime.”

Metropolitan Police intelligence has also shown that there has been a reduction in thefts of iPhones after Apple released new security measures in its iOS 7 operating system in September last year.

An Apple spokesman stated, “Apple has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices since the launch of Find My iPhone in 2009 by allowing customers to remotely set a passcode or erase all their personal data.”

The spokesman added, “With iOS 7, Find My iPhone includes a feature called Activation Lock, which is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone… if you ever lose it. This can help you keep your device secure, even if it is in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it.”

As mobile phones have become more desirable to thieves, it is important as ever to ensure that confidential data is not stored on the device unless it is needed. It is also important to remain vigilant and to keep the mobile phone in a secure place to reduce the chances of thieves getting their hands on your phone.

If your phone is stolen, it is important that regular backups have been taken to ease the overall impact of replacing your phone.

Home Office Invest 4 Million to Help Educate Businesses and Consumers

Cyber security has become more important within recent years and is set to become more important in the forthcoming years as cyber criminals are continuously developing their methods of attack. This has already resulted in many companies suffering from a data breach and suffering financially because of it.

The UK Home Office has acknowledged the increased threat that companies in the UK now face from cyber criminals and have therefore invested 4 million to launch a new information security awareness scheme. The first stage of this campaign is set to get underway in autumn and is designed to help educate businesses and consumers about the ever increasing threat that cyber criminals now pose.

The new scheme is set to help improve the governments National Cyber Security Programme as it is set to complement other well-established initiatives such as Get Safe Online. In order to get the scheme up and running, the Home Office are inviting bids from media, PR and creative agencies to create a campaign that will help educate small business and consumers about methods that will help them avoid becoming a victim of a cybercriminal.

Security Minister James Brokenshire stated, The digitisation of the UK economy has made our lives easier and has created huge opportunities, but it has also created individual security risks as well. If we are to meet these new challenges its essential we step up our efforts to stay safe online. The threat of cybercrime is real and the criminals involved are organised and driven by profit. By making small changes British businesses can remain competitive in the global economy and consumers can have greater confidence using the internet.

Mark James who is the Technical Director at ESET UK emphasised the importance of educating and training for small businesses as they are often overlooked in other security programmes.

James stated, SMEs form the backbone of the UK economy and without the resources always available to larger enterprises basic cracks in security measures can appear. When breaches in security can cripple a company in terms of both financial and reputational damage, its encouraging to see the government taking a lead in helping businesses build up resistance to threats by equipping them with the skills and confidence to adequately educate staff on the ways to spot malware and hacker threats.”

Is this a sensible investment by the Home Office?Do you believe that this scheme will be effective?

Public sector device losses revealed

The loss of portable electronic devices including laptops and smartphones is regularly the bane of centrally governed organisations in the UK and now the Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Justice and Home Office have been implicated in the latest figures, which suggest that there is still a lack of policy adherence when it comes to protecting the data stored on these devices.

Since 2008 these three groups have been responsible for the loss of close to 400 such items, according to statistics obtained by F-Secure, after it made a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

One hundred and eighty nine laptops went missing in this time period in addition to 165 smartphones and other portable devices capable of storing data. The Ministry of Justice said that 13 of the lost laptops were destroyed in a fire, while 43 of the smartphones were BlackBerrys which had not been used.

Eleven laptops and 17 mobile devices were lost by the Metropolitan Police, which said it was not able to give any details about how those responsible were dealt with, as such information was not available in its central archive.

The Home Office and Ministry of Justice said that they had not seen fit to reprimand any employees as a result of the significant losses over the past two years.

F-Secure’s Tom Gaffney, said that the severity of the threat posed by these lost devices should not be underestimated as they more likely than not would contain data of national importance.

Mr Gaffney argues that these three institutions are responsible for public safety at home and by showing an inability to keep a handle on sensitive data, they are liable not only to limit their abilities to act but also damage their reputation in the public eye.

According to Mr Gaffney, the security measures and data loss prevention policies are inconsistent and inadequate in the face of contemporary threats posed by cybercriminals and international terrorists. Several high profile laptop losses have caused significant public scandals in the past, with public sector organisations often at the centre of the bother.

Home Office Data Loss could have easily been prevented

The Home Office has had to dramatically revise its estimates as to the amount of data lost by a contractor within the last year. In January 2009 we initially reported the data breach however the department’s latest report states that the unencrypted USB device containing Police National Computer and Prisoner data actually held 377,000 records; this is 250,000 more than originally reported.

This revelation will raise further question marks about the ability of government to safeguard data, especially when that data is being handled by third-party consultancies. This security flaw should emphasise the importance of data security for not only public but private organisations, especially when handling live, stored and backed up data of a confidential nature. As always organisations are directed to follow the industry recommend standards for data protection such as encryption and online backup.

Information released by the Home Office showed that PA Consulting were paid an enormous 24.5m last year, up from just 8.4m the previous year, owing to its work on the National Identity Scheme and the Interception Modernisation Programme. Having such prestigious and secure programmes in place one would expect data to be securely stored and transported in an encrypted format at the very least. With market leading technologies offering WAN optimisation, de-duplication, encryption and compression as standard the transportation of data efficiently and securely offsite should be the bare minimum expected.

After the data breach last year it has come as no surprise that the Home Office terminated its contract with PA Consulting, and carried out “a full review of the system and procedures” that led to the breach. Following the data loss, an investigation was completed and a member of PA Consulting’s staff was consequently fired. To this day, the memory stick has never been found.

This final response is designed to retain confidence in the Home Offices practices. A spokesperson stated “The department will continue to monitor and assess its information risk in the light of these events, in order to identify and address any weaknesses and ensure continuous improvement of its systems.” The Home Office will therefore without doubt be exploring encryption, online backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure that data is not only securely protected but always recoverable to avoid any future embarrassment.

Predictions made about rise in data loss in the current year

KPMGs Data Loss Barometer is expecting that more people are to be affected in near future due to data loss by high profile organisations. In the previous year it was found that above 370,000 peoples personal details were lost by the Controller Auditor Generals office due to the theft of a laptop used by an officer of the organisation.

A similar case of Home Office data loss was revealed recently. The Bank of Ireland also admitted losing confidential personal data which affected 10,000 people in October 2008 following the theft of four laptops.

These incidents prove that the traditional methods of storing data using memory sticks, laptops or hard discs are no longer safe, and they can expose important data to potential bad elements in society. If you want to avoid losing your data in a similar manner it is important to opt for a data backup service which ensures data protection from thieves, hackers and technical errors.

Many commercial organisations have already started using online data backup services due to the multiple advantages that online data backup offer. If you too want to keep your data bank intact, opt for online data backup as soon as possible.

Home Office loses important data

Often in government agencies, responsible officers store important data in laptops, memory sticks and hard discs, thinking that these traditional methods of storing data are foolproof and cannot be lost.

Recently it has been reported that the Home Office has had data protection issues since one of its employees lost a memory stick which contained personal details of over 88,000 prisoners who are still serving time.

The ministry is terrified by this error as the prisoners might fight the government legally and demand a monetary compensation. In the past such data loss has been reported due to various reasons, one of which is theft.

Due to such repeated cases of data loss the UK government has been severely criticised. This time the Home Office has been asked by the Information Commissioner’s Office to sign an official undertaking for improving its procedures for protecting data.

Government agencies can still somehow withstand such data loss but data loss in the commercial sector can be immensely devastating and can completely flush away business. The only reliable way to avoid data loss is to maintain an online data backup which has several advantages.

Online data backup secures data against hackers and cannot be stolen. It is also a hassle free system. Online data backup is the smartest and most economic way to keep your data safe.

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