Computerised system failures
struggles to uncover cause of public data breach
- A Whitehall department that is to supply some of the key technology
for the ID cards scheme is trying to find out how its systems and processes
allowed confidential information on up to 26,000 people to be compromised.
More than a week after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discovered
that it had accidentally sent bank, national insurance and personal
details to the wrong people, it was unable to say why it happened. "The
investigation is ongoing," said a spokesman.
Computer Weekly, 20 February 2007
data stolen at Indian call centres
- Credit card data, along with passport and driving licence numbers,
are being stolen from call centres in India and sold to the highest
bidder, an investigation has found. Middlemen are offering bulk packages
of tens of thousands of credit card numbers for sale. They even have
access to taped telephone conversations in which British customers disclose
sensitive security information to call centre staff.
The Sunday Times, 8 October 2006
cheats prosper as 250,000 records are lost
- disarray because the records of nearly 250,000 claimants — who are
receiving a total of £730 million a year — have been lost ... The Department
for Work and Pensions has mislaid the case details of 222,120 people
awarded disability living allowance, a benefit that ministers suspect
is open to abuse. Since the records were lost — during a transfer to
a new computer system in the 1990s — the claimants involved have received
a total of £9 billion.
The Times, 7 October 2006
incidents hit NHS national systems
- More than 110 "major incidents" have hit hospitals across England
in the past four months, after parts of the health service went live
with systems supplied under the £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT)
in the NHS. Many of the incidents, which have been reported by Connecting
for Health, the body that oversees the NPfIT, involve the failure of
x-ray retrieval hardware and software, known as Pacs (picture archiving
and communications systems) which allow clinicians to view digitised
x-rays on screen. When these systems fail, it can stop doctors viewing
x-rays on screens in wards and operating theatres. The major incidents
also involve hospital patient administration systems, which hold patient
details such as appointments and planned treatments.
Computer Weekly, 19 September 2006
Support Agency: a history of IT failure
failures help speed demise of Child Support Agency
- The crisis-ridden Child Support Agency (CSA) has a history of IT failure.
It was not just the technology that caused difficulty but the management
of its introduction ... what went wrong and what lessons can be learnt
from one of the most disastrous government IT implementations. CSA's
systems were given green light despite 52 critical defects ...
The report confirmed Hutton’s earlier admission that the CSA had “failed”
and was not fit for purpose. Around £3.5bn in child maintenance payments
are still outstanding. The NAO revealed that the Treasury’s Office of
Government Commerce secretly agreed that deployment of a new £456m IT
system, built by EDS, should go ahead, despite known critical defects
It highlighted a lack of transparency, poor planning, absence of management
information and a breakdown in communication with its IT contractors as
contributing to the catastrophic implementation of the new IT system in
It also emerged last year that hundreds of thousands of cases held on
an old IT system were still waiting to be transferred, two years after
the new EDS system went live. And a report commissioned by the Department
for Work and Pensions found that poorly paid, demoralised staff entered
false information into systems in a bid to bypass software controls, deleted
cases and stockpiled claims – sometimes for years.
Computer Weekly, 24 July 2006
passport applications halted
- 5,000 people are kept waiting after an internet system broke down
just three weeks after its launch A BACKLOG of 5,000 passport applications
has built up after serious problems developed with a computer system
only weeks after the inception of a new online service. The Home Office
agency in charge of issuing the travel documents has now withdrawn the
online application service because of mounting difficulties in issuing
passports. Some applicants have been asked to resubmit passport applications
on paper and others have had application fees and other costs refunded
because of the problems. Staff are working longer hours at the Identity
and Passport Service in Newport, South Wales, to tackle the backlog.
The Times, 11 July 2006
lost in organised tax credit frauds
- Forty organised tax credit frauds involving the theft of thousands
of identities and worth at least £5 million are being investigated by
Revenue and Customs inspectors, it was disclosed yesterday. This is
the latest problem to hamper Gordon Brown's beleaguered tax credit scheme,
which was criticised this week by an influential committee of MPs after
it overpaid £4 billion to claimants in two years.
The Daily Telegraph, 9 June 2006
MOT system fail comms test?
- The launch of the computerised MOT system has been marred by complaints
from the motor industry that they have been left in the dark over system
failures. Built by Siemens Business Services as part of a private finance
initiative, the £220m computerised testing system allows garage staff
to record MOT results on terminals linked to a central mainframe ...
two partial collapses of the system in two weeks in March had left many
MOT testing stations unable to perform tests, causing considerable loss
to their businesses and inconvenience to their customers.
Computer Weekly, 11 April 2006
halts police print checks
- Police forces in England and Wales could not access national fingerprint
records for up to a week because of a computer failure, it has emerged.
The National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Nafis) broke
down last week after a database crash.
BBC News, 3 December 2004
Review of the Status of IDENT/IAFIS Integration
- IDENT is the US-VISIT fingerprint database, IAFIS is the FBI fingerprint
database, the review was performed by the Office of the Inspector General
(OIG), part of the US Deportment of Justice
IAFIS availability. Our review of system availability data from November
2003 through April 2004 found that IAFIS did not meet its requirement
that the entire system be available 99 percent of the time. During that
six-month period, the system was available 96.3 percent of the time. On
70 occasions, (including scheduled and unscheduled outages), downtime
lasted 30 minutes or more and, in some cases, hours at a time. During
these outages, FBI responses to DHS fingerprint search requests were not
timely and resulted in aliens’ fingerprints not being checked against
IAFIS. Further, IAFIS users were not always notified of system outages.
The excessive downtime occurred because there is no backup system that
can continue to process transactions to completion when IAFIS or its components
are taken out of service for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. The
FBI is currently working to improve IAFIS availability and provide more
timely notification to customers when the system is unavailable.
OIG, December 2004
.NET Passport security doubts raised
- Another security vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft's
widely used .NET Passport online verification system. This is the second
problem with .NET Passport in just two months, and it's causing even
more people to rethink the wisdom of using the Microsoft identity management
ZDNet, 14 July 2003
card database hacked
- A computer hacker has gained access to more than 5 million Visa and
Mastercard credit card accounts in the US.
BBC News, 18 February 2003
steps up training fraud probe
- IT Management HR & Skills Government steps up training fraud probe
Wednesday 12 February 2003 The Government has closed down its Individual
Learning Account (ILA) scheme two weeks ahead of schedule and launched
a major fraud investigation. The Department for Education and Skills
(DFES) called in police to investigate alleged fraud and theft involving
ILAs after a tip off last week from a provider. The ILA programme was
to have been suspended from 7 December after ministers admitted the
whole scheme had been open to fraud and mis-selling. The DFES is investigating
270 training providers; and 30 people have been arrested following complaints
made by the public to trading standards organisations across the UK.
Computer Weekly, 12 February 2003
Politics Passport fiasco cost taxpayers £12m
- Last summer's shambles at the Passport Agency cost the taxpayer more
than £12m and forced hundreds of people to cancel their holidays. The
National Audit Office says at least 500 holidaymakers missed their departure
dates, following problems with a new computer system, which left the
agency unable to issue passports on time. Umbrellas for people waiting
in the rain cost £16,000, according to the NAO. Total compensation currently
amounts to £161,000 but is likely to rise further. A futher £6m was
spent on staff overtime. The problem arose, says the NAO, because management
failed to check a new Siemens computer system properly before it was
introduced, and failed to make proper contingency plans.
BBC News, 27 October 1999