he process of securing an overseas visa has been thrown into disarray after UK’s criminal records office was hit with a two-month cyber security “incident”, the Standard can reveal.
ACRO, the national policing body which manages criminal record information and the exchange of records with other countries, was hit with a cyber security “incident” for two months on its website between January 17 and March 21st.
According to an email sent to those affected this week, the agency warned while it had no conclusive proof of a data breach, there is the possibility that data sent to it by customers such as “identification information and any criminal conviction data” was affected.
It has piled on backlogs to obtain a police certificate, which are crucial for obtaining many visas to popular destinations such as the US, New Zealand and Canada.
The agency’s website is down, meaning the applications for police certificates must be processed manually by email.
An ACRO spokesperson confirmed to the Standard: “We are aware of a cyber security incident affecting the ACRO Criminal Records Office website and are working with national agencies to fully investigate.
“We take data security very seriously and as soon as we were made aware of this incident we took the customer portal offline.
“At this time we have no conclusive evidence that personal data has been affected by the cyber security incident.”
The spokesperson could not say how many people have been warned that their data may have been affected.