COUNTY NEWS: Firm fined after '˜losing' 60,000 customers' bank details

An insurance firm has been fined £150,000 after a computer device containing the names, addresses and bank details of nearly 60,000 customers was stolen from its Sussex offices.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 4:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:35 pm
RSA Royal Sun Alliance building in Horsham. Pic Steve Robards SR1613572 SUS-160513-174440001

The fine was imposed on Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance - based in Horsham - by the Information Commissioner’s Office which oversees data privacy.

The ICO said that the portable computer device was stolen by either a member of staff or a contractor who was given access to a a data server room at the insurance firm’s Horsham offices.

ICO enforcement officers found that RSA did not have the appropriate measures in place to protect financial information by preventing the theft.

The computer device held, among other things, the names, addresses, bank accounts and sort code numbers of 59,592 customers, along with 20,000 customer names, addresses and credit card ‘primary account numbers.’

The device - which has never been recovered - was password protected but not encrypted. There were also no CCTV cameras in the server room.

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

“When 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.”

He 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.”

An RSA spokesperson said: “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 – the substantive work that has been undertaken since then to improve date protection in our company has been acknowledged by the ICO.