AOH :: ISNQ5804.HTM calls on white hat hackers to spot data leaks calls on white hat hackers to spot data leaks calls on white hat hackers to spot data leaks 

By Chris Williams
The Register
25th June 2008

The civil service's systems will be subjected to new attacks by 
independent white hat hackers in a bid to spot weaknesses in government 
data handling before catastrophic losses occur, it was announced today.

The white hat programme is one of a suite of targets, training and 
scrutiny measures that Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell hopes will bring 
about a "culture change" across the civil service and restore public 
faith in the government's competence in handling sensitive data.

He said: "The risk we must counter is that citizens and business lose 
trust in the Government to handle their data effectively. It would be 
foolish not to acknowledge that the lapses in data security have 
affected this confidence."

O'Donnell revealed the new programme as he published his office's final 
report on data handling in government. The internal inquiry ran parallel 
to the independent Poynter report, also published on Wednesday [1].

Both investigations were launched in the wake of a series of government 
data losses last year. The blundering run was topped by HMRC's 
disappearing unencrypted CDs, which contained 25 million child benefit 
records. Poynter looked specifically at the HMRC incident, while the 
Cabinet Office report sets a strategy for improving data handling 
throughout government.



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