Gun owners in Northern Ireland are urged to be vigilant after data breach ‘puts them at risk’

Hundreds of Northern Ireland gun owners have been affected by a dark web data breach that could put them at risk from terrorists or gangsters, a DUP MLA has said.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 7:49 am
Updated Saturday, 31st July 2021, 7:55 am
Policing board member Trevor Clarke has raised fears for NI gun owners

Policing Board member Trevor Clarke said the PSNI had confirmed that 803 customers in Northern Ireland have been affected by a major data breach from online trading website GunTrader UK.

‘‘The scale of this security breach is deeply alarming,”the South Antrim DUP MLA said.

“I will be encouraging the PSNI to work closely and proactively with partners including the National Crime Agency to find those responsible, identify their intentions and minimise any risks for customers locally who have been left exposed by the release of this information on the dark web.”

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He urged gun owners to be extra vigilant in light of the data breach.

“Gun ownership in Northern Ireland and indeed right across the United Kingdom is highly regulated,” he said.

“The inevitably means that for those with sinister criminal or terrorist motives the leaking of personal data belonging to those who have either been selling or buying firearms may be seized on as an opportunity to illegally and dangerously acquire weapons.”

He continued: “It is vital that the relevant law enforcement agencies take this matter seriously, particularly given the enduring threat posed by terrorist elements and organised crime group across our Province.

“It is also key that there is effective and regular communication with the 803 customers affected.”

Mr Clarke added: “Finally, I would repeat the advice given by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) that gun owners should take extra steps to check their home security and exercise additional caution in locking away firearms at this time.”

Guntrader.uk told the BBC last week that it first learned of the data breach on July 19 and had notified the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The company toldthe broadcaster that around 100,000 customer records were stolen but insisted that “no information relating to gun ownership or the location of firearms was taken”.

The News Letter has invited the PSNI to respond to Mr Clarke’s comments.

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