The British public were shocked after the allegations of pornographic content being stored on Damien Green’s government computer earlier this month. To make matters worse, in hope of supporting the politician, Nadine Dorries caused a stir when she sent a tweet claiming all her staff know her computer logins, so how can we be sure Green is to blame. Not only this, but she continued to add that she even hands them out to visiting exchange students. Shortly after, fellow politicians chimed in claiming they too share their passwords with their staff.
Swiftly after the backlash, Dorries was quick to defend her actions, arguing her computer contains nothing private, only a shared email account. However, it was too late, she already had security experts banging their heads against their keyboards in frustration and questioning the government’s security regulations. Are there more public sector workers who smartly didn’t publicise it, but are also irresponsible with their confidential passwords? Most importantly, are there regulations in place to prevent this poor cyber security practice?
Regardless of the content actually accessible on Dorries computer, her accounts are most likely connected to an internal network. This then means if her login details are being shared, the internal network could be more accessible for a hacker with these details through her account.
The main concern here is the issue of accountability. If multiple employees all have access to Dorries computer and passwords, then just like the issue she was hoping to raise in her original tweet, it is hard to track who is responsible for questionable computer activity. Say, for example, security workers notice private government information being leaked from Dorries computer. If countless employees have access to this, then how are they able to track the culprit?
To round up, despite her intentions, by sharing her login information with her staff, Dories was increasing the government’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Not sharing login credentials with anyone is basic data protection practice. Therefore it should be the formality in a politician’s office.
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