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Leeds-based Luminate Education Group suffers cyber attack

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Five colleges that form part of the Leeds-based Luminate Education Group were targeted by a cyber attack in August this year, resulting in staff and student data being compromised.

On 11 August, the college group’s systems were hacked, causing disruption to their IT infrastructure. The affected colleges, with more than 29,000 students and 2,000 staff in total, are Leeds City College, Keighley College, Harrogate College, Leeds Sixth Form College and University Centre Leeds.

The attack left many students unable to access their exam results. It is unclear what data may have been exposed but personal data may have been compromised.

An LEG spokesperson gave a statement, saying:

"On 11 August, some members of Luminate Education Group were targeted by a cyber attack, causing operational disruption

"Since we became aware of the incident we have been working closely with the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Cyber Crime Unit from the National Crime Agency (NCA).

"We also engaged a group of dedicated, external experts who immediately launched an investigation into the incident, which is ongoing. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been notified."

ICO has confirmed that it will be investigating the incident.

Given the types of data compromised in the LEG hack, there is the potential for significant distress and embarrassment for those affected. For staff whose payroll details have been exposed, there is also a risk of financial fraud.

As with any type of data breach, there is the possibility that victims will find themselves being targeting by cybercriminals using their data for a variety of scam purposes.

This hack could, therefore, be very serious for the students and staff affected. In such cases, it is common for the consequences of having your data exposed to only become apparent months or even years later.

Wondering if you may be entitled to compensation for the Luminate Education Group data breach? Please get in touch.

What to do if you are worried about the Luminate Education Group data breach

If you are a student, former student, staff member or former staff member of any of the affected colleges, you should have been contacted already. If you are not, you should contact your college to find out if your data was affected by the breach.

You should also be extremely wary of any emails, phone calls or other communications you receive, especially from people claiming to represent any of the affected colleges. Do not share any personal information with, or make any payment to, anyone who contacts you unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate and there is a valid reason to do so.

There are also various steps you can take to minimise the risk of your data being used by cybercriminals. Take a look at our guide to what to do if your data has been stolen in a data breach to find out more.

It is also worth considering whether you may be entitled to compensation as a result of the breach. This is something the team at Hayes Connor will be happy to discuss with you.

Are you owed compensation for the Luminate Education Group data breach?

Like any organisation that holds people’s personal data, Luminate Education Group has a legal duty to protect that data. This includes having in place robust cyber security measures to prevent cyber attacks.

If the Information Commissioner's Office finds that LEG was lax in its data security measures, those affected by the hack will have strong grounds for pursuing compensation from the college group.

Compensation may be available even where there is no proof of harm caused. However, where it can be shown that the victim has suffered emotional distress of financial losses due to the hack, more substantial damages may be available.

How Hayes Connor can help you claim Luminate Education Group data breach compensation

Hayes Connor has one of the largest teams of data breach claims specialists in the country, with decades o combined experience. If you are a victim of the LEG data breach we can advise you on whether you are likely to have grounds for a claim, the level of compensation you may be entitled to and what you need to do to start a claim.

Our goal is to ensure that anyone who is affected by a data breach is able to get the compensation they deserve, while making the claims process as simple and stress-free 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 5135.