2009-02-05 – Impressive display of security clue from the Student Loans Company

The Student Loan Company executive management board minutes from a meeting just over a year ago says the following in section 6, "update on data security processes":

RSJ provided an update on Data Security and advised that information which was being received from external sources confirmed that the transfer of data on removable media devices was now unacceptable. He stated that there was a need to consult with HEI’s as to the method of transferring Attendance Confirmation Reports as SLC now had PGP encryption software available which could replace the previous method of transferring the data via CD’s. He also stated that the PGP software which SLC were using should be checked to ensure that it was on the US Government list of standard encryption as HEI’s are only permitted to use PGP software from this list.

Not shipping media is good. Using end-to-end encryption is good. (Unlike banks which seem to like SMTP over TLS, which provides no additional security for inter-domain communication.) I wonder why the choice of PGP instead of S/MIME - I believe that PGP usually requires an add-on whereas S/MIME is often built in to MUAs. Perhaps they've been nobbled by a vendor.

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