75% of UK police websites 'are risky' for users

Centre for Public Safety reports almost one-quarter of sites lack any encryption

HTTPS browser

Almost three-quarters of UK police websites are insecure and insufficient for keeping user details safe, according to a new report.

Research by the Centre for Public Safety found almost one-quarter of police sites lack any form of automatic secure connection that would otherwise encrypt communications. Of these websites, more than 12 agencies (70%) encouraged users to provide personal details, some of which pertained to specific criminal activity, cases or suspects.

Advertisement - Article continues below

While 27% of the 71 UK policing websites were found to have a world-class standard, the rest have security flaws ranging from "deficient" to potentially "risky" for the public.

The National Crime Agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was found to have a "significant vulnerability in their implementation of a secure connection," according to the report.

The report graded police websites based on their implementation of Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) authentication protocols.

'C grades' were given to the ActionFraud website and the College of Policing's e-learning service, used to train new and existing police officers.

Cheshire Constabulary, which has recently seen an extensive online upgrade, was dropped from a risky 'C' to an alarming 'F' grade.

"The cost of an A+ graded secure connection is insignificant to these organisations, so the failure to deliver is therefore due either to a judgment that the risk is acceptable, or a lack of awareness of the risk in the first place," states the report.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Surprisingly, varying budgets for online spending seem to have made little difference to overall security. According to the report, the Metropolitan Police invested over 110 million in IT infrastructure in 2014/15, and were found to have insecure connections on their websites.

Constabularies in Dover, Durham and Warwickshire, meanwhile, were able to achieve world-class ratings despite comparably meagre resources.

"Whether in-house or outsourced, it appears that some continue to fail to provide the foundations for the digital transformation that our police forces are both seeking to achieve and expected to deliver," states the report.

The report warned that improving security should be a "matter of priority" given the likelihood of an increase in future cyber attacks.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now



University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020
Policy & legislation

Senators propose a bill aimed at ending warrant-proof encryption

24 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Careers & training

IBM job ad calls for 12-years of experience with six-year-old Kubernetes

13 Jul 2020
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
cyber attacks

Trump confirms US cyber attack on Russia election trolls

13 Jul 2020