Police to provide advice service on computer security

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 September, 1994, 12:00am

A UNIT will be formed under the police's Crime Prevention Bureau to give computer security advice to small businesses and individual users.

Bureau chief Detective Superintendent Graham Lander said once funding was available the police would advise users on how to protect their systems physically as well as ensure data integrity.

'We'll touch on issues such as people losing their computers and the unauthorised accessing and copying of information.

'It is worth spending time and effort to protect your information from being stolen, copied and maliciously destroyed,' Mr Lander said.

The bureau says many companies do not have a three-tier system to limit user access to the computer.

On the lowest level are office clerks who are computer operators. Those on the second level create records and those at top are managers who have the right to copy or destroy records.

'Levelling is important because if an employee leaves the company on bad terms very often the company finds its records are destroyed or taken away. Suddenly, you find your rival has a list of your customers.

'To cope with the problem, company owners can insert a clause in the employment contract prohibiting a staff member from using company information within two years of his departure,' Mr Lander said.

To avoid computer virus infection, a company should lay down rules to stop employees using the corporate system for personal business or games.

Furthermore he said it was important to build a backup on a daily basis which allows the data to be put into another computer.

'The backup should be kept in another office so that if there is a computer disaster you can recover the data,' he said.

To protect data from environmental damage such as fire, Mr Lander suggested the use of a data cabinet which can become a safe if a combination lock is used.

He said three police inspectors from other units with computer science knowledge would form the team.

'We are holding a three-day internal computer training course for 80 junior crime prevention officers who will give basic advice in addition to home, jewellery shop and car-park security.' The proposed team is one of the recommendations submitted by police to consultants during a management review being scrutinised by Finance Branch officials.

'We want a unit which can spend time educating users and examine new computer security equipment and software applicable in Hong Kong. On a per capita basis Hong Kong has more desk-tops than anywhere in the world,' Mr Lander said.

'Very often, theft of computer equipment or data has not been reported to police because the victim thinks there is very little you can recover.' The bureau has produced a booklet and pamphlet on physical security, access control and data security which will be distributed during the Asian Information Technology Expo 1994 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from Wednesday to Saturday.