Bridgewater and Taunton College suffer data breach following ransomware attack

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Bridgewater and Taunton College (BTC) have experienced a significant data breach following a ransomware attack on the college’s IT environment.

BTC issued a statement on their website which confirmed that they had experienced ‘unusual activity’ on their servers on 14 January. An investigation then found that the activity was a result of a cyber incident.

The statement went on to read: “Rest assured, the vast majority of our students and teachers were able to progress with remote learning as normal.

“Bridgwater & Taunton College takes all matters related to cyber security extremely seriously. We’re sorry that this caused some disruption to our students and staff, and we’re very grateful for the resilience and perseverance everyone demonstrated.”

It has since been revealed that BTC also reported the issue to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and other relevant authorities on 22 January.

BTC then employed a cyber investigation team to continue to monitor unusual activity. On 7 April, this monitoring identified that personal data belonging to a specific cohort at the college had been breached and published to the dark web.

The breach is said to have affected a cohort of the Business Administration Level 4 apprenticeship programme at the college. The personal data was gathered from enrolment forms, which included contact details and other personal information provided on the form.

The findings from the breach were reported to the Cabinet Office on 7 April, who then passed on the details to ICO on 9 April. The Cabinet Office have also contacted students whose personal data was exposed in the breach.

If you have been contacted by the Cabinet Office to inform you that your data was exposed in the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach, or you have reason to believe that this is the case, you may be in a position to claim compensation.

The team at Hayes Connor are ready to support anyone who may have been affected by the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach. To learn more about how you can make a claim, please get in touch.

What to do if you are worried about the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach

If you have been affected by the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach, you should have already been contacted. If you have not received any communication and you are concerned that your data has been exposed, you should get in touch with the College as soon as possible.

As it has been confirmed that the data has been published on the dark web, it is possible that cybercriminals will use it fraudulently or maliciously.

You should be wary of any emails or communication from anyone claiming to represent Bridgewater and Taunton College. These could be sophisticated ‘phishing attacks’ which are designed to extract further personal information from you, such as your bank account details.

To minimise the risk of your data being used by cybercriminals, there are several steps you can take. To find out more, read our guide to what to do if your data has been stolen in a data breach.

You may also want to consider whether you are entitled to compensation following the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach. This is something the team at Hayes Connor can help you with.

How Hayes Connor can help you claim compensation for the Bridgewater and Taunton College data breach

If an organisation has a record of your personal data, they are legally obliged to keep it secure and out of the hands of cybercriminals. If they fail to uphold this obligation, anyone affected may have grounds to claim compensation.

Hayes Connor has one of the largest team of dedicated data breach specialists in the country, with a wealth of combined experience. This means that we are well placed to provide expert advice if your data was exposed in a breach.

Our team of experts will provide tailored advice that will help to clarify whether you will be in a position to claim compensation, how much you may receive and how the claims process works.

We want to make sure that anyone affected by a data breach is able to access the compensation they deserve, while also making the claims process as straightforward as possible.

You can find out more about our expertise and how we handle data breach claims here.

To start a claim, you can use our online claim form.

To speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0330 041 5132.