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Greater Manchester Police latest force to suffer serious data breach • Graham Cluley

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In recent news, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has become the latest UK police force to suffer a serious data breach. This unfortunate incident follows similar breaches involving Cumbria Police, Norfolk and Suffolk Police, and the PSNI in Northern Ireland. According to GMP’s statement on their website, the data breach was a result of a ransomware attack on a third-party supplier, which compromised the data of GMP and other UK organizations.

The significance of this breach lies in the fact that the supplier produced ID badges for GMP staff, potentially exposing the names of thousands of police officers to the public. This situation is particularly concerning for officers involved in undercover work, whose identities need to be protected for their safety.

This incident serves as a reminder that having strong security measures in place for an organization’s own infrastructure is not enough. It is equally important to ensure that any suppliers or partners who have access to sensitive data also have robust security measures in place.

Greater Manchester Police has reported the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is responsible for overseeing data protection in the UK. This proactive step demonstrates the commitment of GMP to address the breach and protect the affected individuals.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. In August, Northern Ireland’s police service experienced a data breach that exposed the personal details of serving police officers and staff. The breach occurred due to a spreadsheet that carelessly included their names, ranks, and locations, putting their personal safety at risk. The sensitive information was later confirmed to be in the hands of dissident republicans.

In response to the data breach in Northern Ireland, four arrests have been made so far, with one individual charged with having articles for use in terrorism. This highlights the severity of the consequences that can arise from data breaches, underscoring the importance of strong data protection measures.

In conclusion, the recent data breach suffered by Greater Manchester Police serves as a reminder of the need for robust security measures not only within an organization’s own infrastructure but also among its suppliers and partners. Protecting sensitive data is crucial to safeguarding the privacy and safety of individuals. It is essential for organizations to remain vigilant and take proactive steps to prevent data breaches and mitigate their impact.

Key points:
1. Greater Manchester Police has experienced a data breach due to a ransomware attack on a third-party supplier.
2. The breach potentially exposed the names of thousands of police officers, including those involved in undercover work.
3. This incident highlights the importance of strong security measures among suppliers and partners who have access to sensitive data.
4. Greater Manchester Police has reported the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
5. The incident in Northern Ireland reinforces the need for stringent data protection measures, with four arrests made in connection to the breach.

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