The first building society to accept online mortgage applications has tightened its security after promptings by Computing.
Market Harborough Building Society (MHBS) had asked online applicants to supply personal details over an unencrypted Internet link. Unsecured information included salary and national insurance details.
"We left some portions of the application form unsecured to keep speed up. Encrypted data takes four times as long to process," said Andy Hendry, managing director for MHBS's contracted Web site designer 5emedia. "After Computing contacted us, we decided to make the thing secure."
Assistant Data Protection Registrar David Smith said firms must take technical measures to avoid breaching the new Data Protection Act, which demands secure processing of personal data.
Neil Barrett, IT fellow for Bull Information Systems, said users risk sacrificing security for speed: "They could be hacked, tarnish their reputation and go bankrupt as customers go to a more trustworthy site."
For more stories see this week's issue of Computing
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