Information Commissioner's Office
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ICO highlights need to apply security updates after Shellshock flaw discovered

The Information Commissioner’s 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:

“This 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 – 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.

“And for people who are concerned their personal information could be at risk on their own devices, the message is clear. Don’t think this all sounds too complicated. Security updates are currently being rolled out - don’t ignore them, but make sure you apply them as soon as practically possible.” 

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 Team’s (CRT-UK) website.

Notes to Editors

1. The Information Commissioner’s 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. The ICO is on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter. Our press office page provides more information for journalists.

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

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