There have been countless reports of cybercriminals stealing our personal data from huge companies across the UK. But it’s not just private corporations who feel the full force of data breaches. VPNOverview has revealed that cyber crime affects the UK police too.
They sent a Freedom of Information request to 45 police stations across the UK, asking them how many data breaches they had from 2016 up to 2020 and in 2021 so far. Of all contacted, 31 have responded, revealing just how affected they are by data breaches. In just the first four months of 2021, four Police Forces informed VPNOverview that they had 135 data breaches overall.
Surprisingly, the Metropolitan Police reported that they had not had a single data breach since 2016. It is possible that the Met has lost thousands of bits of data, but like GMP and their `missing’ crimes, they just don’t know it yet.
The Force with the most recorded amount of data breaches was Lancashire Constabulary, with a staggering 1,300 cases. In 2020 alone, they experienced 594 instances in which sensitive data was compromised. Additionally, Cheshire Constabulary recorded 289 data breaches during the last financial year.
The FOI response from the Police Service of Northern Ireland also recorded a higher than average number of private documents being compromised, after 928 data breaches occurred at the station since 2016.
VPNOverview’s David Janssen said: “Whether it’s cybercriminals or human error, unprotected documents are always at an increased risk of being compromised.
“Sensitive information should always be encrypted, and strong cybersecurity measures should be taken to ensure information is protected. Password protection and authentication processes can avoid and minimise the impact of human error. These systems can also make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to documents that the police are trying to protect.”
You can see the full report here by the way.