Student loan company layoffs highlight insider risk

More than 20 staff at the Student Loans Company (SLC) have been disciplined for computer misuse and other offenses, including three former employees who were fired, new data on freedom of movement show. information (FoI).

Litigation firm Griffin Law has disclosed the findings of its FoI claims to the nonprofit, which is owned by the UK Department of Education and is responsible for administering student loans and grants.

While several of the 23 offenses involved excessive internet use during working time, one of which resulted in dismissal, several involved perpetrators accessing accounts of friends and family.

This resulted in a dismissal in 2019, and this year one individual on a final written warning and another suspended pending investigation.

Many of the other offenses were related to inappropriate use of social media or sharing inappropriate content via email.

Several offenders used offensive or aggressive language targeting colleagues on Facebook, while one was fired in 2018 after sharing content on the social network linking a colleague to criminal activity. This was deemed to have potentially brought the SLC into disrepute.

On one occasion in 2020, a former SLC employee was fired after sharing inappropriate and offensive material on Microsoft Teams, according to Griffin Law.

A spokesperson for the SLC contacted Safety Info seeking to put the findings into context.

“At SLC, we have strong policies and procedures in place to ensure colleagues use technology appropriately, to identify instances of unacceptable behavior and to take action when necessary,” they said in a statement. . “We employ more than 3,000 colleagues and, as the data correctly demonstrates, there have been very few instances in the past four years where action was required. ”

Torsten George, a cyber evangelist at Absolute Software, argued that FoI data highlights the risk of malicious insiders potentially accessing and stealing sensitive customer information.

“The risk of SLC employees walking away with sensitive data or selling their access credentials has never been greater now that a record number of people have been laid off and face financial hardship due to COVID- 19 ”, he added.

“Too often, large organizations like the SLC are aware of the challenges associated with external threat actors, and therefore focus their efforts on creating deterrents to protect against these cyber attacks. In doing so, they often overlook the fact that the greatest threats can come from within. “

About Judith J. George

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