Neighbourhood Watch data breach update as police confirm 'individuals are being investigated'

A Neighbourhood Watch sign
-Credit: (Image: Martin O'Callaghan)

Bosses at the Neighbourhood Watch firm which was subjected to a malicious cyber attack have issued an update after hundreds of thousands of people's data was put at risk.

In April bosses at the company which manages the In The Know alert system, which is used by Lancashire Police and Lancashire Fire & Rescue, apologised for a data breach including the personal details of up to 200,000 people who are registered to receive crime prevention and safety information.

The online system is operated by Nottingham-based VISAV Limited on behalf of Lancashire Constabulary under the umbrella of Neighbourhood Watch. The breach was reported to the Information Commissioner's Office watchdog along with Hertfordshire Police.


In an update sent out today (May 22), VISAV Limited said: "Based on our own investigation, alongside subsequent analysis by external IT security consultants, and investigation by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s digital forensics team, we can now confirm that the incident was not a data mining attempt on the system to gain access to member data for malicious or fraudulent purposes.

"Whilst we fully acknowledge and apologise unreservedly for the fact that an anomaly did exist within the system, we are confident that the incident occurred due to a small number of individuals attempting to cause commercial and reputational damage to our business."

Bosses confirmed that technical repairs have been implemented to fix the 'anomaly' while a police investigation into the breach, and the individuals responsible, is ongoing. The firm apologised for "any stress or concern" caused by the incident.

The company added: "Upon discovering this anomaly, we immediately commissioned a full penetration test on the system by third-party IT security experts. This test returned the very positive results we expected, showing that our systems are secure, with no further action required.

"System security continues to be of paramount importance, and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to exceed the required national standards.

"The technical investigation into this incident is complete, and we swiftly fixed the technical anomaly in our system. Following our reporting of the incident to Action Fraud, Hertfordshire Constabulary have claimed the case and their investigation into the individuals concerned is ongoing."