Tuesday, 8 January 2008

HMRC Breach a Fuss about Nothing? Not Really

BBC TV Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson who writes for the Sun newspaper, was so convinced the HMRC Data breach in his own words "was a fuss about nothing" published his own bank account and sort code details in the newspaper, and I quote "All you'll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out. Honestly, I've never known such a palaver about nothing," he told Sun readers

However when he next checked his bank statement he saw someone had set up a direct debit which automatically removed £500 from his bank account, apparently transferring the money to a charity, now that's what I call ethical hacking!

To quote Clarkson further after discovering this, "The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act and they cannot stop it from happening again. I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake."

I think it just goes to show that there are many people who just don't care that their personal information and their banking details are being lost, and could be in the hands of fraudsters. I'm planning a post on encryption next, but after that I'll try to explain what exactly the bad guys could do with your personal information and your banking details, and hopefully show how this sort of information has real value associated with it and therefore must be protected by those organisations entrusted in holding it.

Finally to quote Clarkson further "Contrary to what I said at the time, we must go after the idiots who lost the discs and stick cocktail sticks in their eyes until they beg for mercy." - I'm with him on that!

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