UK criminal records office confirms cyber incident behind portal issues

UK police

The UK’s Criminal Records Office (ACRO) has finally confirmed, after weeks of delaying issuing a statement, that online portal issues experienced since January 17 resulted from what it described as a “cyber security incident.”

ACRO is the country’s national law enforcement organization responsible for managing criminal record information, providing criminal records on request, and sharing those records with foreign nations.

Today’s confirmation comes after ACRO announced on March 21 that applications were no longer available through its online portal because of “essential website maintenance.”

One day before, it warned of significant delays in issuing police certificates because applications took longer to process due to “heavy demands.”

ACRO’s website has been down since at least March 31, with a note displayed on the website saying it’s unavailable due to “technical issues.”

Users are asked to apply for police or international child protection certificates via email, with the agency to reach out later for payment.

In a statement shared earlier today on Twitter, the agency officially linked last month’s website maintenance to a cyber incident.

ACRO cyber incident statement

“ACRO Criminal Records Office has experienced a cyber security incident, the impact of which is primarily causing delays to the issuing of Police Certificates,” it said.

“As soon as we were made aware on 21st March of the incident, we took robust action to take the application portal offline so we could fully investigate. We have emailed all applicants who may have been affected.”

The UK policing body also added that it is yet to find evidence that personal info was affected. However, according to Evening Standard, it told affected applicants this week that “identification information and any criminal conviction data” was impacted.

“We are working with the relevant authorities, including the National Cyber Security Centre, to investigate and remediate the incident. There is currently no conclusive evidence that personal data has been affected,” ACRO added.

“Our services to policing and other agencies, along with our criminal record exchanges with overseas countries, are still operational.”

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