The Bank of England bans autocomplete following confidential leak

The Bank of England is forcing workers to manually type every single email address, after a huge autocomplete mess-up involving a confidential email which was forwarded to The Guardian.

The confidential email referenced The Bank of England’s contingency plan, making sure everything is accounted for when the EU referendum happens. The referendum is a hot topic at the moment and the bank tried to make sure nobody knew about the plan, codenamed Project Bookend.

The consequences of having the project leaked could be disastrous for the bank, with the public and government both wanting to know of any other private projects currently in the works.

The Bank of England might be subject to an inquiry to check any other plans hidden from the government and public. This inquiry might unearth a few other question marks surrounding the referendum and what the bank intended to do, if Britain left the EU.

Removing autocomplete might slow down productivity at the bank, but it seems like a smart way to ensure security and privacy. Human errors are bound to happen, but at least the bank can make sure it is not an algorithm’s fault.

Businesses all across Britain have been making their voices heard on the referendum, some claiming more British independence would make them stronger; others claiming they need EU trade to stay in the green.

It seems for quite a few businesses, the prospect of complete isolation from the EU is daunting, while a Norway style EU partnership is more economically viable. The Tory’s have not shown the full referendum, meaning we don’t know what the vote will include.

UPDATE: Tony Pepper, CEO for encryption services provider Egress, comments: “Autofill options for entering a recipient’s details on emails can be a menace to security, creating a wide margin for human error when sharing confidential information. In fact, we conducted a FoI to the ICO at the end of last year that showed that 93 per cent of breaches reported were due to human error – so the Bank of England is right to be taking this issue seriously. However, a blanket ban on the use of autocomplete feels like a bit of a knee-jerk reaction that is likely to result in pushback from employees.

“Many of us spend a large part of our day batting emails back and forth, and autofill does make life that little bit easier and saves time – having to look up and re-enter email information every time can seriously impact productivity. Instead of trying to force unwanted change on staff, organisations should look for solutions that allow people to work how they wish to, but in a secure way.

Encryption solutions are available that enable multi-layered authentication (ensuring only the correct recipient can access highly sensitive information) as well as the ability to restrict what a recipient can do with received information or, if the worst does happen, revoke that access altogether.

Mistakes happen, it's a fact of life. Yet organisations need to ensure they give employees the right tools to work securely, while also providing a safety net should they make a mistake – trying to force them into new habits that slow down how they normally operate is likely to be met with frustration and revolt!"