A new report from the Centre for Public Safety (CPS) has found that only a quarter of all police websites utilise secure connections, meaning much of the information they receive and transmit is sent in clear text. But it turns out that's just the tip of the iceberg, as many policing websites in the UK lack basic security measures and could be making civilian data vulnerable to hackers.
“Public services are undergoing a digital transformation and much has been made of the need and potential for such transformation in UK policing. While 27 per cent of police forces and affiliated organisations achieved the best grades in our tests, the others should be considered a cause for concern,” the CPS said in a statement (via TheInquirer).
This window shop is more secure than the average police website. Source: Jorg Royan
It went on in its report to recommend a number of steps that should be taken to improve the security of these sites. The first step is to enable secure connections, thereby at least offering a basic level of information obfuscation for visitors. It also highlighted that a number of sites have extreme vulnerabilities in their back end, which would make them an easy target for hackers. Closing those loopholes should also be of major consideration.
Specific websites and services which the CPS called out to massively overhaul their security, include the likes of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, as well as the British Transport Police and the National Crime Agency.
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KitGuru Says: Considering some of the hacks we've seen in recent years, it's no surprise that many police forces don't have the best security. They should though. In a perfect world these should be some of the hardest systems to get into.