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ICO highlights need to apply security updates after Shellshock flaw discovered


The Information Commissionerís Office

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26 September 2014

The Information Commissionerís Office is urging organisations and individuals to make sure that their IT systems are up-to-date.

The warning comes after the identification of a flaw, referred to by the researchers who discovered it as Shellshock, which has been found in a software component called Bash. Bash is a part of many Linux systems, as well as the OS X operating system used by Apple Macs. The flaw potentially allows any computer with the vulnerability to be taken control of remotely.

Security updates are currently being rolled out to fix this problem and it is important that those vulnerable to the flaw apply any available updates as soon as practically possible.

ICO spokesperson said:

ďThis flaw could be allowing criminals to access personal data held on computers or other devices. For businesses, that should be ringing real alarm bells, because they have legal obligations to keep personal information secure. The worst thing would be to think this issue sounds too complicated Ė businesses need to be aware of this flaw and need to be monitoring what they can do to address it. Ignoring the problem could leave them open to a serious data breach and ultimately, enforcement action.

ďAnd for people who are concerned their personal information could be at risk on their own devices, the message is clear. Donít think this all sounds too complicated. Security updates are currently being rolled out - donít ignore them, but make sure you apply them as soon as practically possible.Ē

Further information

If you would like to find out more about the importance of keeping your computer and other devices up-to-date, advice is available on the software updates section on the Cyber Streetwise website.

More detailed guidance for organisations about the importance of applying security updates can be found in chapter one of our recent IT security report.

Further details about the vulnerability can be found on the UK National Computer Emergency Response Teamís (CRT-UK) website.


1. The Information Commissionerís Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

3. If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070.

About the Author

The Information Commissionerís Office is the UKís independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. We do this by promoting good practice, ruling on complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.

The ICO enforces and oversees the following legislation:

  •  Data Protection Act 1998
  •  Freedom of Information Act 2000
  •  Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
  •  Environmental Information Regulations 2004

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-10-02 09:06:45 in Business Articles

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