UK Criminal Records Office Attributes Portal Issues to Cyber Incident
After weeks of delaying their statement, the UK’s Criminal Records Office (ACRO) has confirmed that the online portal issues that started on January were caused by a “cyber security incident.”
ACRO has been investigating a cyber security incident that forced it to temporarily shut down its customer portal.
ACRO manages criminal record information and shares it with other countries through an information sharing agreement with the Cabinet Office. The data is used for background checks on potential hires by employers and visa processing by embassies.
When providing data for a background check, it’s standard practice to include various pieces of information. This includes name and address history, which typically spans a decade, as well as extended family details, in case any familial connections could potentially impact the individual’s criminal history.
The person’s new foreign address, if applicable, is also included, as well as information on any legal representation they may have had. Additionally, passport information, a photograph, data regarding PIN cautions, reprimands, arrests, and charges or convictions are typically required.
ACRO has informed users that their personal data may have been affected by a cyber security incident that led to the temporary shutdown of its customer portal.
They have confirmed that personal data of users who used its services as a direct applicant, a nominated endorser or a professional administering an application for an applicant may have been affected by a recent cyber security incident. The agency has stated that payment information and dispatched certificates were not at risk.
The compromised personal data could include identification information and criminal conviction data of the applicants, as well as the names, relationship, occupation, phone numbers, email addresses, and case reference numbers of any nominated endorsers or third-party professionals.
ACRO has acknowledged that the manual processing of applications and website issues have resulted in a backlog. However, it stated that it is increasing resources and working to address the issue as quickly as possible.