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Oct 16, 2017
Cybercrime to Data Theft: Who’s Spying On Who?
Tags: letting agent software , property software , prop tech , estate agent software , technology , cybercrime , data

On the 30th December 2016, the Investigatory Powers Act came into power, officially introducing world-leading data legislation to Britain. The legislation is intended to be an update to the Data Protection and Investigatory Powers Act, giving the UK extremely powerful spying powers. Higher authorities, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Home Office will be able to access your internet records from individuals and businesses alike in order to prevent cyber attackers stealing valuable data and personal information. Aside from this, new powers will force internet providers to keep a record of customer browsing activity, whilst surveillance and security agencies will be legally entitled to bug your computer and phone under an approved warrant.

What will it mean for me and my business?

Whatever industry your business serves, whether this be in estate agency, letting agency, technology such as in property software or in the prop-tech sector or the communications sector, it’s vital you’re aware of the legislation. Communication Service Providers (CSPs - your broadband or telephone company) will now be required to keep ICR records of the internet services, devices have been connected to. When issued with a notice from a law enforcement body, CSP’s (Communication Service Providers) must issue this data from the past 12 months. Therefore, should your business data be hosted across the internet, it may be at risk of being exposed by your CSP without you even knowing.

Should this data be exposed in bulk, for example if data from your estate agency is shared with a security service, this could potentially expose it to harmful malware or theft. Recent cyber-attacks to TalkTalk and the wannacry virus within the NHS demonstrates how these attacks can potentially happen. Interestingly, Gemalto’s Breach Level Index (BLI) suggests there were 246 million breaches of data worldwide in 2015, just 888 of these were disclosed incidents.

How can I protect my data?

With the introduction of the bill, our data is becoming easier and easier to access, therefore being aware of where you’re distributing it is crucial. According to The Guardian, there were 517,236 requests for communication data by security services in the year 2014. Should this be repeated in 2017 your online data could be extremely exposed.

Should you wish to utilise an online platform, it’s essential you regularly back up your data to an alternative resource such as a USB, external hard drive or additional server. We recommend backing up more than once a day whilst also testing your back up to ensure your data’s safe should any harm to your business, in the form of a cyber attack or data theft, occur.

Find out more about VTUK's property software and data solutions, call us 0800 328 0460, email us info@vtuk.com or visit us vtuk.com.