Tag Archives: Wales

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.

Ministry of Justice Fined by ICO

The Ministry of Justice has been fined £180,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after an investigation concluded that there were serious failings in the handling of confidential data.

Confidential data belonging to almost 3,000 prisoners at Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire was compromised after a hard drive was lost. All the data on the hard drive was not encrypted despite previous efforts to improve the security of confidential data that was being transported on portable devices.

The hard drive was lost in 2013 and contained confidential information about prisoners’ health and drug misuse, information about inmates’ victims and visitors and material on organised crime.

This incident still occurred even though a very similar thing happened back in 2011 when another hard drive was lost which compromised data belonging to 16,000 prisoners. In an attempt to protect the data, the Ministry of Justice provided the Prison Service with hard drives that could be encrypted.

Despite this, a lack of communication and training resulted in the government body failing to explain to employees that the encryption option had to be switched on manually.

Stephen Eckersley who is the ICO head of enforcement stated, “The fact that a government department with security oversight for prisons can supply equipment to 75 prisons throughout England and Wales without properly understanding, let alone telling them, how to use it, beggars belief. “

Eckersley added, “The result was that highly sensitive information about prisoners and vulnerable members of the public, including victims, was insecurely handled for over a year. We hope this penalty sends a clear message that organisations must not only have the right equipment available to keep people’s information secure, but must understand how to use it.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice stated, “We take data protection issues very seriously and have made significant and robust improvements to our data security measures. These hard drives have now been replaced with a secure centralised system.”

The spokeswoman added, “Incidents like this are extremely rare and there is no evidence to suggest that any personal data got into the public domain.”

This incident is another example of where an organisation has acted reactively and not proactively which has resulted in confidential data being compromised. This incident also shows the importance of having effective training and communication procedures in place.

Vodafone Ranked Last for Rural Calls

In a report that has been released by Ofcom, Vodafone has been ranked last for the quality of call for mobile phone users in rural areas.

Ofcom used independent firm RootMetrics to measure network performance on mobile phones. The results were based on the quality of calls in areas which had coverage and the number of calls that failed to connect or cut out unexpectedly.

The study that was conducted resulted in network providers EE, O2, Three and Vodafone going head-to-head.

The overall results showed that EE provided the best service across the UK whilst O2 provided the best service within cities.

Overall Results:

  • 97% of all calls on the EE network were successfully connected.
  • 95.3% on O2,
  • 94.5% on Three,
  • 92.6% on Vodafone.

The results for calls made in rural areas were:

  • 93.7% on the EE network were successfully completed.
  • 87.4% on O2,
  • 86% on Three,
  • 79.9% on Vodafone.

A very unsurprising result was that more consumers in urban areas were happier with their mobile phone service that those in rural areas.

Ernest Doku, from uSwitch believes that everyone should now be able to get mobile reception, no matter where they are in the UK.

Doku stated, “In this day and age, we should all be able to get mobile reception, whether we’re in the heart of the city or out in the sticks. While it’s good to see that the majority living in cities are satisfied with their networks, this doesn’t help me if I’m in a field, in rural Wales, with a broken leg and unable to call for help.”

All four network providers have agreed to work with Ofcom to develop a common methodology for measuring the rates of successful mobile phone calls.

Vodafone have responded to the results and believe that the results do not show a fair reflection as they are now outdated.

A Vodafone spokeswoman stated, “The previously published RootMetric report is based on network measurements taken between June and December last year which were disproved by more up-to-date findings in spring this year.”

Do you have to make regular phone calls in rural areas? Are you happy with the quality of calls that you make/receive from your network provider?

Concerning Lack of Data Security Among UK Councils

A report by the BBC has presented some shocking findings made by a UK information watchdog.

The report highlighted the lax attitude which is being adopted by councils with regards to keeping data secure.

There are 1,035 cases of UK councils experiencing data loss between 2008 and 2011. Of particular concern in the report was the exposure of data relating to children, as well as other vulnerable members of society.

One incident in Wales involved Cardiff council wrongly sending the names and addresses of 2,400 children, on the child protection registry, directly to the NHS.

Kent and Buckinghamshire were among the councils which lost the most data, with 72 cases each. Just below them, Northamptonshire and Essex had 48 and 62 cases respectively.

Wales are arguably the worst in the UK at keeping data secure however, with 8 out of 22 councils experiencing data loss in the last three years. This prompted Anne Jones at the ICO in Wales to express serious concern.

Its vital that local authorities properly live up to their legal responsibilities to keep personal data secure, particularly where it is sensitive information about children and young people said Jones.

Data loss is becoming increasingly more concerning with more users utilising an ever-increasing array of mobile devices. There is often no remote deletion policy in place for such hardware. In addition with many organisations pushing more of their infrastructure into the Cloud, the urgency to implement tighter security measures has never been more crucial.

Police Data Collaboration

Logica have worked alongside The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) to develop a new database which allows Police departments across England and Wales to share intelligence relating to crime.

Lord Bichard is the original mastermind behind the new innovation and his efforts to create The Police National Databse (PND) have come as a direct result of the Soham murders which Ian Huntley conducted in 2002.

Huntley had 8 separate allegations against him between 1995 and 1999 in connection with sexual offences. However because these allegations were unproven they were only recorded on a local database in Humberside. This information could have saved the lives of victims Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.

The 75.6m project will hold the details of over 15 million individuals and will be available to no less than 43 police forces across England and Wales. The hope is that the new system will help investigators trace criminals and their associates.

Jennie Cronin, Impact programme director at The NPIA commented, To share intelligence carries some risks, but choosing not to share poses a far greater risk to public protection and it is not one the service should be prepared to live with any longer.

Information will not include witness data or victim details. The focus will be on domestic violence, criminal intelligence and custody areas. However one concern which has been expressed is the idea that data on 6 million innocents will be held. Advocates of the new database retort by arguing that it is the nature of police work which makes it essential to hold the records of innocent people.

The other concern expressed by MPs is the sheer scale of the database and the number of people who will have access to it. In total around 12,000 authorised officers will have access with secure access controls acting to ensure that only role relevant information can be searched.

NPIA chief executive Nick Gargan stated The PND pulls together all local knowledge and allows investigators to see the full intelligence picture. As a result they can act far more quickly and effectively when it comes to protecting the public.

Until now this information had to be shared manually, a fallible and sometimes bureaucratic process dependent on the right staff being able to access and share the relevant files, which could take up to two weeks.

Welsh cyber crime showing rapid growth

A new survey has found that businesses and individuals in Wales are being targeted by more than twice the number of cyber attacks than in previous years.

Incidences of hacking, data loss or theft and malware infections have increased by over two thirds, according to e-Crime Wales.

Welsh businesses are believed to have been hit with a bill for about 373 million in total as a result of the increase, which will see the figures for 2010 reaching new heights.

A disgruntled ex-employee was the cause of a particularly high profile case in which his former manager was the subject of a cyber attack whilst out of the country. The employee managed to break into a company email account and then download private industry records detailing information collected over a decade and a half.

In this case the man responsible was apprehended and faced a prison sentence as a result of his actions, but many more cases go unpunished.

The boom in cyber crime in Wales since 2008 has resulted in regional police forces creating multiple divisions tasked with tackling data loss, theft and other cyber criminal activities. This is currently a unique approach that no other area in Europe has yet to emulate.

E-Crime Wales has found that Welsh businesses are particularly sensitive to the threat of cyber crime, with over 50 per cent of firms raising the amount they invest in data loss prevention this year.

Experts believe that Welsh businesses will be adapting their current policies and security measures as many more adopt cloud computing solutions, seeing them as a convenient alternative to in-house storage and protection.

E-Crime Wales’ Andrea Barnard said that the cyber criminals were always one step ahead because regulations and policies could stifle vendors and law enforcement agencies when it comes to protecting business data.

Protecting trade secrets and intellectual property that are pertinent to the running of a business and potentially valuable to rival organisations is a growing concern throughout the UK and the pressure on organisations to do so seems set to continue to rise.

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