December 1, 2023

The UK’s Info Commissioner is asking on authorities to cease utilizing Microsoft Excel when responding to Freedom of Info Act (FOI) requests.

In response to Commissioner John Edwards, the considerations stem from quite a lot of breaches which have occurred on account of utilizing Excel.

The discover follows quite a lot of latest excessive profile private information breaches, the place private data was inadvertently included in spreadsheets that have been shared as a part of a FOI response.

The Commissioner advises that authorities cease utilizing Excel for such requests, in addition to cease utilizing spreadsheets with a whole bunch or hundreds of rows. The Commissioner urges authorities to as a substitute spend money on correct information administration options.

“The latest private information breaches are a reminder that information safety is, in the beginning, about individuals,” mentioned Commissioner Edwards. “We’ve got seen each the fast and ongoing affect that the discharge of such delicate private data has had on the people and households concerned, and that’s the reason I’ve taken this motion.

“It’s crucial that sturdy measures are in place to guard private data. The recommendation now we have issued units out the naked minimal that public authorities must be doing to guard private information when responding to data entry requests, and to reassure the individuals they serve, and their employees, that their data is in secure fingers.”

The advisory is the newest difficulty to lift considerations about Microsoft’s safety. The corporate has had quite a lot of embarrassing incidents just lately, together with US authorities e mail addresses being compromised by Chinese language hackers.

Excel has lengthy been an assault vector that hackers have exploited. Whereas Microsoft has tried to shore up its safety, there’s clearly nonetheless a lot to do.