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A series of more than 160 data breaches have struck local authorities in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire over the past year, according to new reports.
In one case a filing cabinet containing sensitive files was sold following an office move, with the confidential files still inside. The council concerned – Norfolk County Council – told the Eastern Daily Press that the information was retrieved from the buyer within an hour of it being reported.
The figures, obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act, show a total of 165 breaches at County Hall, some of which are still under investigation.
Anne Gibson, executive director of resources at Norfolk County Council said: “We have about 6,000 people working at the council, and on any one day they handle literally thousands of pieces of personal information.
“Thankfully, data protection breaches are not common but we take the security of information very seriously, and we are sorry for any instances where the council has not looked after information properly.
“We are driving forward higher standards for data security, and staff are in no doubt about the need to care for personal information carefully at all times.”
The bulk of the incidents involved human error, such as emails and letters containing confidential information being misaddressed. Several mobile devices containing sensitive data have been lost, while at least two adult social care case files have gone missing – these are thought to have been misfiled, according to the Eastern Daily Press.
Recent research has found that the cost of a major cybersecurity breach has more than doubled from £600,000 to £1.46 million in the last year. As We Live Security reported in June 2015, the number of large companies that were the victim of some kind of data breach has also risen to 90 percent – up 9% year-on-year.
Author Karl Thomas, ESET