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October 2020
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Comment on National University of Ireland data breach to GPSJ

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

In light of the news that the National University of Ireland (NUIG) has lost a USB containing student details, Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn has provided comment to GPSJ.

Jon told GPSJ: “This breach is yet another example of user error and the risks of not encrypting sensitive data. Whilst the number affected does not reach the thousands we have seen in breaches of late, the end result is ultimately the same – sensitive information has been lost and could very easily land in unscrupulous hands.

The university claims to have ‘strict policies in place relating to the use of portable devices, in addition to a staff data protection training programme and online security training’, but the most effective method would have been to identify a standard hardware encrypted USB for data protection, to ensure that if, such as in this case, the device is lost or stolen, the contents remain obscured and inaccessible. Its use should be enforced by locking USB ports to only accept that device. This then removes the risk that data could be downloaded to unencrypted portable media. The cost of defence is much lower than the cost of a breach, particularly in the wake of new GDPR legislation.”

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