Flying high with stolen data

The last post I shared about data theft was back in October (that seems like years ago now), but the subject’s not gone away, of course.

EasyJet says hackers stole data of 9 million customers Bloomberg
Cyber-attacks against businesses and their employees have surged this year as hackers take advantage of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While the EasyJet breach was discovered in late January, predating the disease’s flare-up across Europe, the company is alerting those whose exposure was limited to email and travel details to guard against a rising number of so-called phishing attempts, a person familiar with the situation said.

It wasn’t just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victimsThe Register
It also warned victims to be on their guard against phishing attacks by miscreants using the stolen records, especially if any “unsolicited communications” arrived appearing to be from Easyjet or its package holidays arm.

You’d think the Information Commissioner’s Office would be busier than ever.

It looks like the UK’s data regulator has given up, blaming coronavirusWired UK
In April, the ICO said it would focus on the most serious cases during the pandemic and consider the impact of the wider situation on companies under investigation, but called for organisations to continue to report breaches as it was still operating. But in reality, observers claim, it has almost completely stopped operating.

But it’s worth noting that that article was subsequently updated to, in effect, completely contradict its own headline.

[F]ollowing the publication of this story, an ICO spokesperson said it “is not true” that the body has stopped work on complaints and investigations. “Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, we have only paused under ten per cent of cases and investigations,” the spokesperson said. “These are specific cases where progressing regulatory activity may not be possible or appropriate during a global public health emergency.” The spokesperson added that it continues to “look into” all complaints and data breach reports it receives. It is “focusing on the information rights issues that are likely to cause the most harm or distress to people and organisations”.

FE and HE bureaucracy and data

Red tape costs FE colleges £180 million a year
Further education colleges could make “substantial” savings by cutting the costs of bureaucracy, according to the National Audit Office. The body said today that colleges spend around £180 million a year on administrating funding, qualification and assurance systems. This amounts to £150 per student.

Adventures in Student Development
A while back I explained how I set up the system, and after nearly 2 years of use I can say that it’s still working.

HESA Press release 168 – What is a Course?
HESA, working with representatives from the sector, is pleased to publish a brief report that considers the variety of interpretations and models that exist across the sector. The report analyses how the concept of a course is represented in various sector-level information systems and specifications and how the definition of course changes across the Higher Education lifecycle.

Digital HE

HE Planning Blog: Core/Margin: Implementation
There is an element of the prisoners’ dilemma here because if the Government’s policies drive a few universities into bankruptcy that is a problem for those universities; if almost all the existing universities are bankrupted, that is a problem for the Government. Because a significant group of universities have moved, and the margin numbers have been substantially overbid, Government will be emboldened to keep pushing, and institutions above £7,500 (and below AAB) will begin to feel more threatened. We can expect to see a further wave of fee reductions next year.

What will drive the expansion of design in digital higher ed?
For a variety of reasons (that I will address in a future post), the software and content created for digital higher education has completely ignored the role of design – and it shows. However, there are a number of forces in play that may give the field of design a more central role in digital higher education.

Outlook, HE standards

Outlook Today: Your morning coffee before the onslaught
Let’s take a look at your morning. Chances are it takes you a while to wake up. You may need a shower, a shave, some coffee, breakfast, and maybe a chat with your loved one. Then—and only then—will you feel steady enough to wrestle with that onerous inbox of yours. I am very much this way: The last thing I want to do first thing is jump right into email. It’s tempting, I know. How beautiful those bolded folders are with their brilliant blue unread mail counts, just itching to take over your brain, your time, and your life.

Light-touch rules could quickly become heavy
A risk-based approach to quality assurance could lead to more rather than less red tape for universities because the government’s reforms are likely to put pressure on standards.