Belfast Telegraph

Regional College staff's personal data at risk after massive security breach

By Staff Reporter

A data breach at one of Northern Ireland's largest further education colleges has put the personal and financial data - including bank account numbers and sort codes - of hundreds of staff at risk.

Staff at the South Eastern Regional College (SERC) learned about the massive security breach yesterday in a letter from chief executive Ken Webb.

In his letter - seen by the Belfast Telegraph - Mr Webb tells staff: "We are sorry to inform you of the discovery of a breach of security which may have resulted in the potential unauthorised disclosure of your personal data to an unknown third party.

"The breach was discovered on June 28, 2018 as a result of normal operation of controls regarding suspicious email activity."

Mr Webb advised staff to closely monitor their bank account for evidence of fraud or identity theft, and apologised for the security breach.

"We take the protection of that information very seriously and we are sorry to have to write to you in these circumstances," Mr Webb wrote.

The South East Regional College has more than 1,000 staff, both full and part-time, as well as more than 8,000 students.

The data breach has been reported to the PSNI and the Information Commissioner, Mr Webb's letter said.

Last night Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey, head of the PSNI's Cyber Crime Centre, said: "The PSNI is aware of a data related incident linked to South Eastern Regional College.

"PSNI Cyber Crime Centre are liaising with the college in relation to this matter".

A helpline has been established for worried staff.

Last night an SERC spokeswoman said the communications with staff were "purely precautionary".

She said the college had no evidence any personal information had actually been taken during the email hacking incident.

Belfast Telegraph

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