One of the UK’s leading insurance firms Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA
) has been slapped with a £150,000 fine following the loss of personal information of nearly 60,000 customers.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a release earlier today announcing that it had looked at the theft of a hard drive device containing 59,592 customers’ names, addresses and bank account details including account numbers and sort codes. The device also held limited credit card details of 20,000 customers, although CVC numbers and expiry dates were not affected.
According to the enforcement officers, RSA
had not introduced appropriate measures to protect the financial information when the device was stolen from company premises – a member of staff or contractor was believed to have been involved in the theft. At present the device, which was not encrypted, has yet to be recovered.
“Customers put their trust in companies to keep their information safe, particularly financial information,” commented Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement.
“When we looked at this case we discovered an organisation that simply didn’t take adequate precautions to protect customer information. Its failure to do so has caused anxiety for its customers not to mention potential fraud issues.
“There are simple steps companies should take when using this type of equipment including using encryption, making sure the device is secure and routine monitoring of equipment. RSA
did not do any of this and that’s why we’ve issued this fine.”
In response, RSA
admitted its fault and suggested it had put measures in place to prevent similar issues going forward.
“While there remains no evidence to suggest that the stolen storage device has resulted in any economic loss for the customers involved; we recognise that this should have never have happened and we would like to say sorry once again to those of our customers and partners who were impacted,” a spokesperson said.
“We have reviewed and reinforced our data protection procedures to mitigate the risk of this happening again - the substantive work that has been undertaken since then to improve date protection in our company has been acknowledged by the ICO.”
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