A DISMISSED employee has been given a police caution for the offence of 'computer misuse' after she deleted data from her former employer's computer system.

The Whitby woman, 26, who has not been named by police, was arrested following an investigation by North Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Crime Unit.

On Thursday, May 9, the unit received a report that a person had gained unauthorised access to a local business’s computer system and deleted company data.

Officers commenced an investigation and the woman was identified.

She admitted the offence of unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of - or prevent or hinder access to - a computer, and was given a police caution.

It transpired that the offender was a previous employee of the business who had been dismissed for "unsatisfactory performance".

Commenting on the case, North Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Crime Investigator Andrew Rawlings said: “You can take some simple steps to protect your business against security threats.

“Unfortunately, when the employee in this case was dismissed the business did not review their permissions and access privileges or implement password changes.

"It was this oversight which allowed the offender to easily re-gain access to the administration side of the business computer systems.

“North Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Crime Unit strongly encourage all businesses to have a policy in place which should be implemented when an employee, not only leaves the company but also when they change roles within the company.

“The policy should include reviewing what access privileges  each employee requires in order to fulfil their role and any they do not require should be blocked.

"It should also include the suspension of the employee account when they leave the company.

“We would encourage any business owner who has experienced a similar situation as in this case to report it to us on 101 or to the National Cyber Security Centre using their online reporting tool: report.ncsc.gov.uk.”

A full range of guidance and support can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre website.