October 1, 2023

10,000 N Ireland police officers and staff have their details exposed after spreadsheet screw-up

Earlier this week, the small print of all 10,000 employees on the Police Service of Northern Eire (PSNI) have been uncovered after a spreadsheet containing the info was mistakenly printed on-line.

The spreadsheet, which had been created in response to a Freedom of Info (FOI) request, revealed the surname, preliminary, rank or grade, and site of all PSNI staff.

As well as, the spreadsheet described what division people labored in. Maybe much less scary if it’s human sources or accounts, however alarming for those who labored in an space resembling intelligence or surveillance.

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The routine FOI request had solely requested details about the whole variety of officers and employees in any respect ranks and grades throughout the PSNI. And but, an worker by chance included far far an excessive amount of info – presumably via a cock-up, reasonably than with malicious intent.

The information breach has raised fears for officers’ and employees’s private security. A whole lot of cops in Northern Eire have been murdered throughout The Troubles, and a few are nonetheless below menace from paramilitaries.

If you happen to’re working for the police service in Northern Eire, you’re unlikely to be shouting from the rooftops the place you’re employed every day – in reality, it’s attainable there are members of your personal household who don’t know what you do for residing.

The delicate info was accessible for anybody who accessed the “What Do They Know” website for greater than two hours on Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement printed on its web site, the PSNI has mentioned it’s investigating the info breach, and has requested that anybody who did entry the spreadsheet delete it instantly.

The PSNI has knowledgeable the Info Commissioner’s Workplace of the incident. In a press conference, PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne described the breach of knowledge as an “unprecedented disaster” for the pressure, however says he won’t be resigning.

There have been unconfirmed claims that the delicate information has been circulating on WhatsApp.

What a large number…

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity trade, having labored for quite a lot of safety firms because the early Nineteen Nineties when he wrote the primary ever model of Dr Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit for Home windows. Now an unbiased analyst, he repeatedly makes media appearances and is a world public speaker on the subject of cybersecurity, hackers, and on-line privateness.
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