Barclays Bank has become the latest organisation to have to deal with a data breach which has resulted in confidential data belonging to thousands of customers being stolen and put up for sale.
It is understood that the bank has started an urgent investigation after it was revealed that the details of up to 2,000 customers were given to the Mail on Sunday by a broker who also claimed that details for another 27,000 people were also up for sale.
It is reported that the data has been stolen from Barclays Financial Planning Services which was closed down in 2011. It is believed that the compromised data includes passport and national insurance numbers which is very valuable in the black market as the information can be used for investment scams. Data such as customers’ earnings, savings, mortgages and insurance policies was also compromised in the breach.
The broker who passed on the information explained why the stolen data is so valuable for traders.
The broker claimed, “The data is a gold mine for traders because it is so incredibly detailed. It gets them inside the customer’s head.”
The broker added, “They would start by saying that they had a great investment opportunity that would suit someone on a particular income or with a particular amount of money to invest. Of course, they already knew this about the person they were talking to.”
The bank has started analysing the details of the compromised data so they can determine who has been affected and how the data was stolen.
In a statement, Barclays claimed, “We will take all necessary steps to contact and advise those customers as soon as possible so that they can also ensure the safety of their personal data. Protecting our customers’ data is a top priority and we take this issue extremely seriously. This appears to be criminal action and we will co-operate with the authorities on pursuing the perpetrator.”
Barclays added, “We would like to reassure all of our customers that we have taken every practical measure to ensure that personal and financial details remain as safe and secure as possible.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who is investigating the data breach have confirmed that they are currently trying to work out how the data was compromised and that it is now vital to have appropriate security plans in place.
A spokesperson for the FCA stated, “Barclays have contacted us and we will be working with them to understand exactly what has happened and what steps consumers may need to take. Consumers rightly presume their data is safe with their bank, and this should serve to remind all firms how important it is they have the correct procedures in place to ensure data is secure and used appropriately.”
It is now vital that all companies ensure that they have the best security plan in place and is regularly tested to help protect themselves against the threat of cyber hackers and cyber thieves. This should be supported with a robust backup solution to ensure that data can always be recovered no matter what action a hacker or cyber thieves takes such as modifying or deleting the data.