Government // Cybersecurity
11:35 AM

FBI Fraud Expert: HMRC Data Loss Was Theft

Frank Abagnale interviewed about HM Revenue & Customs data loss

LONDON -- The current position taken by the Government and reported extensively in the UK media is the loss of 25 million child benefit claimant records by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is simply an unfortunate blunder arising from sending computer discs in the post. Not so reports Computerworld UK today further to an exclusive interview with Frank Abagnale, the colourful former ex-con, FBI fraud expert and author of Catch me if you can, who says he's convinced it's an inside job and straight forward theft given how easy it is to pick things up in post rooms.

"It was not just a mistake. I truly believe that someone paid for the information to be stolen. It's what happens all the time, that someone acted in collusion with somebody else to steal this data" says Abagnale.

Governments, corporations and local authorities do a "horrible job of protecting data" he says.

In the Computerworld UK interview, Abagnale

  • Urges the UK government to provide a long term and stringent monitoring service to protect people given a thief would sit on the data for a number of years before harvesting identifies;
  • Questions whether the government can be trusted with biometric data - an individual's DNA- and considers the proposed UK ID scheme therefore to be untenable;
  • Says the UK lags far behind the USA in data protection notification laws since 10 days passed before the breach was announced - in America an immediate statement would have had to be made;
  • Warns that no technology can be foolproof, saying "When people say their system is foolproof, they are underestimating the creativity of fools."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cyber Security Standards for Major Infrastructure
Cyber Security Standards for Major Infrastructure
The Presidential Executive Order from February established a framework and clear set of security standards to be applied across critical infrastructure. Now the real work begins.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of October 9, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll