The Nationwide Building Society is the largest building society in the world and the second-largest provider of mortgages and household savings services in the United Kingdom. However, even its massive size and influence was not able to protect this building society in 2006, when an unencrypted company laptop was stolen and millions of users’ information put at risk.
In August of 2015, a company laptop used by an employee of the Nationwide Building Society was stolen. Because this laptop was not encrypted, the information and programming contained on it allowed the thieves potential access to 11 million accounts. While the company stated that the information accessible via the stolen laptop did not include user names or passwords for online banking services, the Nationwide Building Society did not explicitly state the type of data that was at risk. Because the United Kingdom does not have data disclosure laws requiring the company to release this information, users will likely never find out exactly the type of data that was stolen.
The Nationwide Building Society waited three months to announce the theft of the laptop and the potential security breach it had created. Although the company stated that this delay was for security purposes, many of the company’s clients were displeased with the lack of timely, useful information regarding Nationwide’s data breach. The UK’s Financial Services Authority fined the company £980,000, which is the largest sum imposed for data loss to date in the United Kingdom; however, it remains unclear whether other companies have taken this incident as a lesson regarding their own security risks.
Data theft is a very real and very serious concern for large and small businesses alike. At Nextrio, we can help you evaluate and address your company’s risks with our managed IT services in Tucson. Please visit us on the web or contact us today by calling (520) 519-6301 to find out how we can help you manage your company’s online and digital security.