Police have launched a new database of shared information just as the global hacking pandemic reaches critical mass through LulzSec and Anonymous Operation Anti-Security, leading to concerns over the new system's cyber security.
The new Police National Database
The new Police National Database was announced by the National Policing Improvement Agency earlier today.
The database is a new resource intended to allow all the U.K.'s police forces to pull and share their information and intelligence.
The NPI was first planned after Lord Bichard's inquiry into 2002's Soham murders revealed several failings in the U.K. police's current intelligence sharing systems.
The database was developed in collaboration with technology company Logica and cost a reported £75.6 million.
NPIA chief executive Nick Gargan commented on the new database: "The PND pulls together all that local knowledge and allows investigators to see the full intelligence picture. As a result, they can react far more quickly and effectively when it comes to protecting the public.
"Until now this information had to be shared manually, a fallible and sometimes bureaucratic process dependent on the right staff being able to access and share the relevant files, which could take up to two weeks."
LulzSec and Anonymous
The hacking collectives LulzSec and Anonymous have both gained notoriety in recent months for their respective attacks on several high-profile companies and governments.
To LulzSec's name, the group has currently claimed responsibility for attacks on the Senate, CIA, Serious Organised Crimes Agency, and NHS. The group has also been credited for a number of attacks on several big-name companies, including Sony and Nintendo.
Anonymous likewise has a rather sizable victims list. The group has been credited with successful cyber attacks and hacks on several institutions and governments. Thus far some its biggest trophies include websites owned by the Turkish and Spanish governments and the Church of Scientology.
Most recently the two have teamed up in a new campaign against the worlds governments and banks codenamed Operation Anti-Security.
Already the campaign has seen LulzSec hack websites owned by the U.K. and Brazilian governments.
The groups have since promised to continue targeting all government owned institutions websites and databases.
To quell fears about possible cyber attacks or hacks on the system, the NPIA has already clarified that the new PND will not include all the information held on each police force's local systems. For protective reasons it will exclude witness data and details.
NPIA promised that the new PND would instead focus on information pertaining to "relevant crimes". These include cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, criminal intelligence and custody areas.
This would mean that even if a group like LulzSec -- which has a nasty habit of posting the data it steals online -- did hack the database, it would not be able to get its hands on overtly sensitive information.
It will also include access controls and an auditing system designed to ensure that police can only access information relevant to their particular roles. Meaning that each area of the database will have its own password encryption, making it so that even if hackers got into one part of the system the other sections would still be secure.
Whether these measures will be enough to stop hacks and cyber attacks on the system remains to be seen.