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UK insurance fined

A UK insurance business has been fined £150,000 for its lax security practices after a hard drive containing customers’ unencrypted information was stolen.

The hard drive disappeared from the offices of Royal & Sun Alliance insurance (ironically it prefers the abbreviation RSA) back in 2015.

It contained 59,592 customers’ names, addresses and bank account details including account numbers and sort codes, and additionally held “limited credit card details of 20,000 customers, although CVC numbers and expiry dates were not affected.”

Blighty’s Information Commissioner’s Office’s enforcement officers found that RSA “did not have the appropriate measures in place to protect financial information by preventing the theft at its offices in West Sussex from happening.”

According to the ICO, the device “was stolen from company premises either by a member of staff or a contractor, the information on it was not encrypted and the device has never been recovered.”

Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s head of enforcement, said: “Customers put their trust in companies to keep their information safe, particularly financial information.

2When we looked at this case we discovered an organisation that simply didn’t take adequate precautions to protect customer information. Its failure to do so has caused anxiety for its customers not to mention potential fraud issues.”

Eckersley added: “There are simple steps companies should take when using this type of equipment including using encryption, making sure the device is secure and routine monitoring of equipment. RSA did not do any of this and that’s why we’ve issued this fine.”

An RSA spokesperson said: “The ICO fined us for not foreseeing the risk that the theft of a storage device could cause and for not protecting it adequately.

“RSA serves nine million customers in over 100 countries and we take a breach of our security and protocols very seriously. Whilst there remains no evidence to suggest that the stolen storage device has resulted in any economic loss for the customers involved; we recognise that this should have never have happened and we would like to say sorry once again to those of our customers and partners who were impacted.

“We have reviewed and reinforced our data protection procedures to mitigate the risk of this happening again.”

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