Category: The Authorities

How to Report a Data Breach to the Information Commissioner

Not all organisation data breaches need to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

ICO do recommend that any serious breach is reported to them, but it isn’t mandatory and ‘serious breaches’ are not defined. However, the following should assist data controllers in considering whether breaches should be reported:

  1. The potential detriment to individuals is the overriding consideration in deciding whether a breach of data security should be reported to the ICO. Detriment includes emotional distress as well as both physical and financial damage.

Ways in which detriment can occur include:

  1. exposure to identity theft through the release of non-public identifiers, eg passport number
  2. information about the private aspects of a person’s life becoming known to others, eg financial circumstances

The extent of detriment likely to occur is dependent on both the volume of personal data involved and the sensitivity of the data where there is significant actual or potential detriment as a result of the breach.

Where there is little risk that individuals would suffer significant detriment, for example because a stolen laptop is properly encrypted or the information that is the subject of the breach is publicly-available information, there is no need to report.

  1. The volume of personal data lost / released / corrupted: There should be a presumption to report to the ICO where a large volume of personal data is concerned and there is a real risk of individuals suffering some harm.
  2. The sensitivity of the data lost / released / corrupted:

How to Report a Breach

Serious breaches should be reported to the ICO using the DPA security breach helpline on 0303 123 1113 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). Select option 3 to speak to staff that will record the breach and give you advice about what to do next or report in writing using the  DPA security breach notification form, which should be sent to the email address [email protected] or by post to the office address at:- Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

When a breach is reported, the nature and seriousness of the breach and the adequacy of any remedial action taken will be assessed and a course of action determined.

ICO may:

  • Record the breach and take no further action, or  Investigate the circumstances of the breach and any
  • remedial action, which could lead to further action;
  • Set a requirement on the data controller to undertake a course of action to prevent further breaches;
  • Start formal enforcement action which could lead to a fine of up to £500,000

For further information see https://ico.org.uk

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NCSC Early Warning Service

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has set up an early warning service to help organisations investigate cyber attacks on their network by notifying them of malicious activity that has been detected in information feeds.

Early Warning is a free NCSC service designed to inform your organisation of potential cyber attacks on your network, as soon as possible. The service uses a variety of information feeds from the NCSC, trusted public, commercial and closed sources, which includes several privileged feeds which are not available elsewhere.

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/early-warning-service

Early Warning is open to all UK organisations who hold a static IP address or domain name.

Organisations will receive the following high level types of alerts:

Incident Notifications – This is activity that suggests an active compromise of your system.
For example: A host on your network has most likely been infected with a strain of malware.

Network Abuse Events – This may be indicators that your assets have been associated with malicious or undesirable activity.
For example: A client on your network has been detected scanning the internet.

Vulnerability and Open Port Alerts – These are indications of vulnerable services running on your network, or potentially undesired applications are exposed to the internet.
For example: You have a vulnerable application, or you have an exposed Elasticsearch service.

Early Warning does not conduct any active scanning of your networks itself, however some of the feeds may use scan derived data, for example from commercial feeds.

How Early Warning works

Cyber security researchers will often uncover malicious activity on the internet or discover weaknesses in organisations security controls, and release this information in information feeds. In addition, the NCSC or its partners may uncover information that is indicative of a cyber security compromise on a network. The NCSC will collate this information and use this data to alert your organisation about potential attacks on your network.

Your organisation can then use the information passed on by Early Warning to investigate the issue and implement appropriate mitigation solutions where required. The NCSC’s website provides advice and guidance on how to deal with most cyber security concerns.

Sign up for early warnings – it’s free.

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FCA ScamSmart

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warn that scammers are targeting consumers searching for investments online, in particular through search engines like Google and Bing.

Scams are increasingly sophisticated. Fraudsters can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

Warning Signs of Scams

  • Cold-calls by phone, email, social media, post, word of mouth or even in person at an exhibition
  • A limited time opportunity – they might offer you a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date or say the opportunity is only available for the next 24 hours or similar
  • Lots of testimonials – all fake of course
  • Unrealistic returns – some fraudsters offer the same returns as legitimate businesses do, but many want to attract more attention and offer impossibly high and even guaranteed returns.
  • False authority – using convincing literature and websites, claiming to be regulated, speaking with authority on investment products.
  • Flattery – building a friendship with you to lull you into a false sense of security.
  • Remote access – scammers may pretend to help you and ask you to download software or an app so they can access to your device. This could enable them to access your bank account or make payments using your card.

FCA Authorised Businesses

Almost all financial services firms must be authorised by the FCA – the exceptions are for specific traded items such as wine

Check the Financial Services Register on the FCA website to see if a firm or individual is authorised or registered with us.

Check if the firm’s ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) and contact details are the same as on our Register.

If there are no contact details on the Register or if the firm claims they’re out of date, call our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

If you use an unauthorised firm, you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong – and you’re unlikely to get your money back.

Check the FCA Warning List

Use the FCA Warning List to check the risks of a potential investment – you can also search to see if the firm is known to be operating without our authorisation.

You should seriously consider seeking financial advice or guidance before investing. You should make sure that any firm you deal with is regulated by us and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.

You can report the firm or scam to the FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

The Financial Conduct Authority is at https://www.fca.org.uk/

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Pension Wise Service

https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk

In these days of pension fraud, if you’re over 55, it is wise to assess your pension situation using government advice.

The website Pension Wise was set-up by government to provide free advice

They say they can help you if:-

  • you are aged 50 or over
  • have a personal or workplace pension
  • want to make sense of your options

There is plenty of advice on the site from what happens if you live abroad to taxation to the different ways you can take money from your pension pot.

There’s also advice on how to avoid the pension scammers.

If you feel the need to talk to an expert, there are free calls of up to 60 minutes that can be booked.

If you need pension advice – this website is a good start.

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Safer Internet Centre

https://www.saferinternet.org.uk

The safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading organisations: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL, with one mission – to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people.

South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust is a not-for-profit charitable trust providing schools and other establishments with safe, secure, managed and supported connectivity and associated services, learning technologies to improve outcomes, and the toolkit for being safer online.

The partnership was appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK in January 2011 and is one of the 31 Safer Internet Centres of the Insafe network. The centre has three main functions:

  1. Awareness Centre: to provide advice and support to children and young people, parents and carers, schools and the children’s workforce and to coordinate Safer Internet Day across UK
  2. Helpline: to provide support to professionals working with children and young people with online safety issues
  3. Hotline: an anonymous and safe place to report and remove child sexual abuse imagery and videos, wherever they are found in the world

The UK Safer Internet Centre is funded under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme of the European Commission. As such we contribute to the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) core service platform to share resources, services and practices between the European Safer Internet Centres and advice and information about a better internet to the general public.

The website pages are – About,  Safer Internet Day, Blog, Training & Events, Research, Get Involved, Translate

Advice Centre, Hotline, Helpline, Pupil powered e-safety

It contains a lot of advice and information, largely to do with young people, parents and carers but much applicable to anyone so it is a useful resource.

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