UK’s Barclays suffers 'unprecedented' customer data theft

27,000 detailed reports sold on black market, used to target investors by rogue traders

Tags: Barclays BankCyber crimeUnited Kingdom
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UK’s Barclays suffers 'unprecedented' customer data theft Under the UK’s Data Protection Act, organisations such as Barclays are obligated to keep personal information secure. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  February 9, 2014

British bank Barclays is today at the centre of a data leak scandal involving the theft of a database of 27,000 customer files, which were stolen and sold to rogue traders.

UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday described the leak as "unprecendented" among British High Street banks and reported that the details included customers' earnings, savings, mortgages, health issues and insurance policies.

According to The Mail's source, who provided a sample of 2,000 files from the stolen trove, each file could be sold on the black market for around GBP50 (AED300). The information was accumulated by Barclays from customers who had sought financial advice and had answered an in-depth questionnaire. The questionnaire was so detailed that the information provided amounted to a psychological profile of the customer in the form of a 20-page report - a report that the source claimed left the subject at the mercy of traders offering risky investment opportunities.

"The data is a gold mine for traders because it is so incredibly detailed. It gets them inside the customer's head," the source said.

The source claims he was asked by a brokerage firm to sell the so-called "Barclays leads" secondhand to other traders for GBP8 apiece, and that the boss of the firm moved to ensure evidence of the leads had been destroyed after investors became suspicious. It is not known how the data was stolen.

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