data hack victims
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Hayes Connor Solicitors supports victims of Equifax data hack

Hayes Connor Solicitors supports victims of Equifax data hack

As data breach and cybercrime experts, here at Hayes Connor Solicitors we’re planning to help victims of the latest Equifax data hack to claim compensation.

Having witnessed an influx of queries from clients who have received letters from Equifax informing them that their data may be at risk, we are currently building a secure database of victims who want to seek compensation for damages or distress suffered.

Equifax data hack – what happened

In May 2017, credit-reference agency Equifax was the victim of a criminal cyber-attack which compromised the personal information of over 100,000 UK customers. Due to the credit report services provided by Equifax – which are carried out when you apply for a variety of products such as a loan, mortgage, credit card or mobile phone – many of those affected may never have heard of Equifax before.

While Equifax claims that the details breached should not pose a “significant risk”, phone numbers, dates of birth, driving licence numbers, email addresses, passwords and partial credit card details have been accessed, leaving victims open to the threat of fraud.

Since the hack, Equifax has been writing to potential victims, outlining what they need to do to safeguard themselves with details of a helpline number to call. However, due to the volume of calls received, many victims have reported difficulties getting through to the number provided. Also, while the details were accessed in May 2017, many victims were not told until October that year, leaving them open to risk during that time.

The current situation

In response, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is now investigating the hack and is working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which has the power to issue hefty fines for any infringements of data protection legislation. The FCA is said to be taking the matter “extremely seriously”.

But what can you do if you think you might be at risk following the breach?

First and foremost, if you do get a letter, contact us for further advice about what to do. We will keep your details (securely of course!) and ensure you are kept updated about how the investigation into the Equifax hack is progressing.

If Equifax is fined, we will let you know when your claim for compensation can be made and help you get the compensation you deserve.

We will also be able to advise you on what to do while waiting for the investigation’s findings. This includes:

  • Keeping a note of events since the hack – for example, has your card been used without permission?
  • Checking your bank statements to see if there are any transactions that you haven’t made
  • Keeping details if there is an increase in spam or junk email
  • Keeping a note of any distress if you are anxious by the thought of people being able to access your data.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors we help victims to claim compensation following breaches of the Data Protection Act. Where multiple people have been affected by a violation, we also make group action claims. We are currently mounting a group action claim against Equifax on a no win-no fee basis. In this case, should we win, we expect to be paid by the offending party (Equifax). So, as well as providing no-win, no-fee funding arrangements, we won’t charge you a “success fee”. This means, if you are awarded £1,500, you’ll get all of the compensation.

What is a group action claim?

With a group action claim, you and the other Claimants collectively bring your cases to court against a Defendant. Where circumstances are very similar, group actions can be a powerful tool and can have a bigger impact than a single claim.

However, just because a case is part of a group action, this doesn’t mean that everyone will get the same amount of compensation if successful. All claims within a group action are still settled based on their merits, and you will receive what you are owed.

As with any case, the value of your claim depends on the extent of your suffering. However, under a group action precedents may be established setting out how much claims are likely to be worth based on specific factors.

Read our FAQ’s to find out more and to add your details to our secure database. Our expert, friendly team will advise you when you have a valid claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have.

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Healthcare accounts for nearly half of all data breaches

Healthcare accounts for nearly half of all data breaches

 Last year was a challenging year for the healthcare sector, which is still feeling the after-shocks of the WannaCry global ransomware outbreak. And in 2018, we can expect to see an increase in attacks on the medical industry. Particularly as healthcare organisations remain hesitant to dedicate budget to cybersecurity.

According to research, the UK health sector accounts for nearly half of all data breaches. With the collective healthcare breach numbers almost four times more than the second highest sector (local government). The last few years have certainly seen healthcare prove lucrative for hackers, and led to a rise in medical data breaches, with one in 13 patients having their records stolen after a healthcare provider data breach.

Healthcare is going online, and this information revolution has seen most organisations move away from paper record keeping. But the healthcare sector handles some of our most sensitive personal data, and, as patients, we have the right to expect this will be looked after. However, as our health and social care system becomes digital, it appears that there are not yet adequate and robust protections in place to secure the data and information held within it. Following the WannaCry abuse, the vulnerability of the healthcare sector and the importance of improving its cybersecurity came into sharp focus.

Between January 2014 and December 2016, healthcare organisations suffered 2,447 incidents and accounted for 43% of all reported data breach incidents. However, when it comes to the reasons for these breaches, human error is the main culprit. So, in addition to worrying about external threats and ensuring the right technology and process are in place, more must be done to make sure that staff have the knowledge and ability to handle data securely.

Who is responsible for human error?

A company can be held liable for human error where it fails to ensure the proper security measures are in place. And, in a recent case, Morrisons was found “vicariously liable” for a disgruntled employee’s actions when he deliberately published sensitive data of almost 100,000 staff online. What this means is that an employer can be liable for the actions of its employees, as long as it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment. So, when it comes to defending compensation claims, human error or misbehaviour is no excuse.

Today, information shared in error is the single highest contributor to data breaches year-on-year, and when this data contains sensitive medical information, the potential damage and distress becomes all too apparent. For example, in recent cases investigated by the ICO, sensitive diagnosis information was sent to a neighbour and confidential details about a woman and her family were sent to her estranged ex-partner.

At Hayes Connor, we can help you make claims against a wide range of healthcare organisations already fined by the ICO. Of course, you may not know that your medical data has been breached until you read about it or see it in the news. But if you are in any doubt it’s worth finding out whether your data was put at risk, because, if so, you may have a claim for compensation. We can also keep you updated on upcoming and current healthcare data breach claim investigations.

 

With strict-time limits in place for making most compensation claims, if you want to achieve maximum recompense in the minimum amount of time, it’s essential to act now.