[LINK] more lost date - shutdown result

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Nov 4 09:25:10 AEDT 2008

[heads up, AGOSP readers]
[this also points out how 3rd party actions in the days of 
outsourcing systems can wreak havoc with goverment systems]

Memory stick loss sparks government system shutdown

November 3, 2008 - 10:45AM

A British government computer system has been shut down after a 
memory stick containing confidential pass codes was found in a pub car park.

The codes relate to the Government Gateway system, which covers areas 
such as tax returns and parking tickets, The Mail On Sunday reported today.

An investigation is underway into how the stick, belonging to the 
company which runs the system, was lost.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the system's security had 
not been breached, but a computer expert told the newspaper the data 
could enable hackers to access personal details of the 12 million 
people who have registered on the system.

The Gateway system allows members of the public and businesses to 
access hundreds of services from 50 Whitehall departments, including 
self-assessment tax returns, pension entitlements and child benefits.

Those registering for the service have to provide their personal details.

The memory stick was found two weeks ago outside a pub in Cannock, 

The Department of Work and Pensions was made aware of the loss last 
week when the device was handed to the newspaper.

The memory stick is now in the hands of police.

A department spokesperson told the paper: "We have moved immediately 
to make sure there is no conceivable risk to users of the Government Gateway.

"We are convinced the integrity of the Government Gateway has not 
been compromised and there is no risk to users."

A spokesman for computer management company Atos Origin confirmed "a 
single memory stick has been misplaced by one of its employees".

"The company takes the loss of this device very seriously and we are 
currently carrying out a full investigation of both the circumstances 
surrounding its loss and the data content of the stick.

"It is clear that the employee removed the device from company 
premises in direct breach of our own operating procedure.

"Atos Origin is working very closely with the government and the police."

The breach is the latest in a string of scandals involving lost 
government data.

Nearly a year ago records of 25 million child benefit claimants were lost.

Last month a computer hard drive containing the personal details of 
about 100,000 members of the armed forces was reported missing.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

Writing Lesson #54:
Learn to love revision. Think of it as polishing the silver for 
guests. - JW, May, 2007
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