The security breach took place when cybercriminals successfully breached the IT systems of a contractor in charge of producing warrant cards and staff passes.
Saturday 26 August 2023 22:08, UK
The Metropolitan Police is on high alert following a significant security breach that led to officers’ and staff’s details being hacked.
All 47,000 personnel have been notified about the potential exposure of their photographs, names, and ranks, The Sun newspaper reported.
The breach occurred when cybercriminals managed to infiltrate the IT systems of a contractor responsible for printing warrant cards and staff passes.
In response to the report, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Sky News: “We have been made aware of unauthorised access to the IT system of a Met supplier.
“We are working with the company to understand if there has been any security breach relating to Metropolitan Police data.”
The company had access to names, ranks, photos, vetting levels and pay numbers for officers and staff, the Met said.
It added that the company “did not hold personal information such as addresses, phone numbers or financial details”.
“Security measures have been taken by the MPS as a result of this report. The MPS has reported the matter to the National Crime Agency. The Information Commissioner’s Office is also aware,” the Met added.
The Sun also reported that the National Crime Agency had been called in amid fears terrorists or organised gangs could use the stolen data.
Met Police Service bosses also sent a message to their staff, urging them to “remain vigilant”.
It remains unclear whether the hackers demanded a ransom from the printing company or were attempting to target officers and staff.
The incident comes after a redacted version of a leaked document that listed the names of police officers in Northern Ireland was posted on a wall facing a Sinn Fein office in Belfast in a “sinister” attempt to intimidate one of its politicians.
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The document, which had mistakenly been shared online, included the names of around 10,000 officers and staff.
Ex-Met commander John O’Connor described the latest breach as “utterly outrageous”, adding: “Anyone using these details to produce a warrant card or pass could gain access to a police station or secure area.
“There is also a huge concern that photographs of police working on undercover units, surveillance or in sensitive areas like counter-terrorism could fall into the wrong hands.
“This data breach has put safety of police at risk and questions need to be asked about why IT security of this company was so slapdash.”