HSBC joins disc data disaster crowd
HSBC has become the latest organisation to lose hundreds of thousands of customer details on an unencrypted disc.
The disc contains the names, dates of birth and insurance cover details of 370,000 people who hold life assurance policies at the bank.
The disc went missing after being sent by Royal Mail courier to the bank’s insurance partner, Swiss Re in February.
Such information is normally sent over a secure internet connection, but it wasn’t working on the day in question, and was subsequently copied to disc and lost en route. “It has got lost between A and B,” according to a HSBC spokesman.
Amazingly, given the furore surrounding Customs losing 25m personal records in near identical circumstances last November, nobody at HMRC though it wise to encrypt the contents of the disc, relying instead on flimsy password protection.
“The data disc lost by HSBC contains no address or bank account details for any customer and would therefore be of very limited, if any, use to criminals,” HSBC claims in a statement.
HSBC has informed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the loss and says it will contact the affected customers.
Last year the FSA fined Norwich Union £1.26 million for exposing its customers to the risk of fraud, when it lost a laptop containing sensitive data.