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thebusinessdesk.com, 13th January 2020

Following news that the ICO is to fine Dixons Carphone Warehouse £500,000 following its significant data breach, Kingsley Hayes told thebusinessdesk about the firm’s plans to launch a group action against Dixons representing hundreds of affected individuals.

Hayes Connor to launch group action following ICO Dixons fine

Data protection specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors will be launching a group action against Dixons Carphone Warehouse after the ICO announced a £500,000 fine last week following the group’s significant data breach in 2018.

The retailer, which owns Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores, admitted in 2018 that an undetected cyber-attack took place over a nine-month period between July 2017 and April 2018 exposing the card details of 5.6 million customers, and the personal details of 14 million individuals.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cybercrime specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “The ICO’s decision has been long awaited and is the maximum fine that can be imposed on breaches that occurred before GDPR came into force. We submitted a disclosure request to Dixons in 2018 but it refused to answer until after the ICO’s decision.

“We have now recommenced that process and expect that in the coming months a group action will be launched. The data breach has exposed millions of its customers to potential identity fraud which could include fake bank accounts being opened in their name, fake credit applications and access to existing bank accounts.

“The ICO’s investigation found Dixons responsible for multiple failings including having inadequate software patches to prevent the cyber-attack, the absence of a local firewall and a lack of network segregation and routine system tests.

“As a result of its inadequate cybersecurity, millions of Dixons’ customers will have suffered, or are at a risk of, significant financial losses. The psychological stress following such a breach cannot be underestimated with clients often reporting anxiety and depression following a breach of their personal data and this can have an impact on every aspect of a victim’s life.”

The ICO investigation into the Dixons Carphone Warehouse data breach found that the cyber-attack comprised malicious software installed on 5,390 tills in branches of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores.

Kingsley Hayes continued: “Dixons has been extremely lucky that this cybersecurity wake up call took place prior to GDPR with the breach taking place over a nine month period up to just one month prior to GDPR coming into force.

“With an annual turnover of £billions, the penalties had the incident continued after 25th May 2018 would have proved extremely damaging. With the high street already facing significant challenges, businesses in the retail sector should heed the warning and ensure that watertight cybersecurity is in place before consumer confidence is further eroded.”

Hayes Connor Solicitors was the first firm to serve a representative data breach claim in the High Court following the Court of Appeal’s ground-breaking ruling on 2nd October 2019. The ruling stated that law firms could bring representative action on behalf of just one individual to potentially win damages for the entire affected population. The action against Equifax has a total estimated value of £100 million.

Hayes Connor is the data protection advisor to the Communication Workers Union and is currently acting for thousands of claimants with data breach action against Ticketmaster, Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, Yahoo and the Police Federation of England and Wales.

 

bppmedia, 2nd January 2020

We featured in bppmedia with news that Hayes Connor has once again been shortlisted in two categories in the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards. We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Boutique Law Firm of the Year and Marketing and Communications Strategy awards for the second year running.

Today’s Legal Cyber Risk, 18th December 2019

We were pleased to feature in Today’s Legal Cyber Risk with news that Hayes Connor has been shortlisted in two categories at the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards for the second year running.

boutique law firm

Hayes Connor shortlisted for two Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards for second year in a row

We are delighted to announce that Hayes Connor Solicitors has been shortlisted in two categories for the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards 2020. This is the second year running that our achievements have been recognised by the award panel.

The prestigious awards celebrate and identify sparkling talent and success in the modern legal services arena. They also showcase and set the benchmark for best practice in the ever diverse, challenging and exciting legal landscape.

In the 2020 awards, as in 2019, Hayes Connor is on the shortlist for Boutique Law Firm of the Year and Marketing and Communications Strategy. The Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards 2020 will be held at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on 6th February 2020.

Boutique Law Firm of the Year

The boutique law firm of the year category honours firms that specialise in a niche area of law. In our case, data breach and cybercrime. Last year, we were highly commended for our work in this area at the final awards ceremony.

Marketing and Communication Strategy of the Year

The Marketing and Communication Strategy of the Year class looks at firms which have shown exceptional originality and innovative thinking in this area.

A very busy year ay Hayes Connor

Commenting on the honour, our MD Kingsley Hayes said:

“The Hayes Connor team is committed to exceeding client expectations, so we are delighted to be recognised once again by the Modern Law Awards’ panel of industry experts.”

This award shortlisting recognises a very busy year ay Hayes Connor. Over the past 12 months, our firm has rapidly grown from six to 15 employees as we actively pursue a number of global organisations who have failed in their data protection obligations.

Appointed as data protection supplier to the Communication Workers Union, we are also currently acting for thousands of claimants with data breach action against the likes of Ticketmaster, Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, Dixons Carphone, Yahoo, OnePlus and the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Find out more about our firm. 

Hayes Connor shortlisted for two Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards for second year running

Data breach and cybercrime specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors has been shortlisted by the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards 2020 for the Boutique Law Firm of the Year (11+ Employees) and Marketing and Communications Strategy categories for the second year running.

The firm, currently representing thousands of clients with multi-party data breach actions including against Ticketmaster, British Airways and Equifax, won the Highly Commended award for Boutique Law Firm of the Year (1-10 Employees) in January 2019.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cybercrime specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “The team is committed to exceeding client expectations, we are delighted to be recognised once again by the Modern Law Awards’ panel of industry experts. Hayes Connor has rapidly grown in the past 12 months from 6 to 15 employees as we actively pursue a number of global organisations who have failed in their data protection obligations.”

Hayes Connor was the first firm to serve a representative data breach claim in the High Court following the Court of Appeal’s ground-breaking ruling on 2nd October. The action against Equifax has a total estimated value of £100 million.

The firm is appointed as data protection supplier to the Communication Workers Union and is currently acting for thousands of claimants with data breach action against Ticketmaster, Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, Dixons Carphone, Yahoo, OnePlus and the Police Federation of England and Wales.

The Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards 2020 will be held at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on 6th February 2020.

 

 

Digital Guardian, 15th December 2019

We talked to the Digital Guardian about the importance of behavioural analysis, and the impact this has on data protection, with more than three quarters of data breaches taking place as a result of preventable human error. Analysing behaviour to identify how these risks can be mitigated is key says Kingsley Hayes.

british airways data breach
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Why should you claim compensation for the British Airways data breach

In 2018, almost 400,000 British Airways customers had their bank card details stolen in what is being called one of the most severe cyber-attacks in UK history. In response, the airline is now facing legal action from thousands of people in the UK. As expert data breach solicitors, here at Hayes Connor, we launched a British Airways Data Breach Group Action to help victims of this breach claim compensation. But since then, two more data breaches were uncovered at the airline.

What happened in the 2018 BA data breach?

Cybercriminals carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on the British Airways website. This attack has put the personal and financial details of customers making bookings at risk. In total, about 380,000 transactions were affected.

Along with the financial info stolen, the hackers also gained access to personally identifiable information (PII). If this information gets into the wrong hands, it can be used to undertake identity and financial fraud.

British Airways admitted that the cybercriminals spent more than two weeks accessing data online before the hack was spotted and reported. This increases the risk substantially.

A second BA data breach

To make matters worse, when investigating this case, a second data breach was uncovered. In this instance, 77,000 people had their names, addresses, email addresses and detailed payment information taken. This included card numbers, expiry dates, and card verification value (CVV) numbers

What happened in the 2019 BA data breach?

In the latest British Airways data breach, researchers at security firm Wandera uncovered unencrypted links within BA’s e-ticketing process. Furthermore, they have warned that this vulnerability means that attackers could easily intercept these links. This means that they could access and change the flight booking details and personal information of passengers.

The vulnerability with British Airway’s e-ticketing system may have also exposed sensitive passenger information.

Should you accept compensation from British Airways?

After the first data breach was uncovered, British Airways said that compensation claims would be discussed on an ‘individual basis’. However, it is not up to the airline to dictate the terms of any compensation payments.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are experts in data breach cases, and, once you have registered with us, it’s not uncommon that we uncover information that allows us to increase the value of your claim significantly. What might seem irrelevant to you, could make a huge difference in the eyes of the law. That’s why it’s important not to be fobbed off by a low initial offer from British Airways. Instead, by making a no-win, no-fee claim with us, we can increase the amount of compensation you receive substantially.

Why launch a group action?

A group action is undoubtedly the best way forward for data breach claims of this nature. It allows people with the same type of claim in principle to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

Find out more about group actions.

What should you do now?

For anyone worried that their data has been exposed by British Airways, you should:

  1. Determine what was stolen. To protect yourself as much as possible you need to know what kind of information was accessed in the data breach. British Airways should be able to advise you on this
  2. Contact your bank. If any financial information has been stolen, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately and explain that your account is at risk of fraud. As well as issuing a new card, the bank should be able to advise you if it detects suspicious activity on your account
  3. Change your passwords. If an online account (such as an email address) has been compromised, change the password right away. You should also change all other accounts that use the same password, and – if your email could be compromised – any accounts that could be accessed via your email. To keep you safe in the future, create a secure, unique password for each account (you might want to consider using a password manager to do this for you)
  4. Deploy additional security measures. If an app or website offers two-factor authentication to protect an account, use it
  5. Be vigilant. Beware of scammers using your stolen data against you. For example, don’t click on any links in emails asserting to be from your bank and always use the numbers they provide on their website if they ask to talk to you
  6. Sign up for a credit and/or identity-monitoring service. This will help you to monitor your financial accounts and sensitive personal information. Many organisations will offer such services free following a data breach but it’s important to check the small print. Be careful that in accepting any offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  7. Keep a record. Make a list of all the accounts that could have been accessed and note down why you are concerned about them
  8. Inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your concerns. At present the ICO is undertaking an investigation into the British Airways Data Breaches. While it does not award compensation, if the ICO believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  9. Contact Hayes Connor Solicitors ASAP. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

Data breaches often have severe consequences for those affected. And crucially, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t lost out financially or have suffered emotionally as a result of the hack. If an organisation has failed to protect your personal data, you have a right to claim compensation. Even if you haven’t suffered as a result.

Furthermore, because we offer no-win, no-fee funding arrangements, you have nothing to lose.

Find out more about no-win, no-fee.

in our British Airways data breach group action compensation claims, you will need you to register with us. We’ll let you know what is happening in this case and if and when you can make a data breach compensation claim.

 FIND OUT MORE

 

 

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Hayes Connor sees surge of interest in British Airways data breach

Since British Airways (BA) customers had their personal data stolen in a series of breaches, we have been contacted by hundreds of people who were put at risk by the airline. And, in good news for consumer-rights, in October 2019, the Court gave its permission for official legal action to be launched against the airline. Since this decision, lots of new clients have contacted us to join our BA group action case.

What happened in the BA group action case?

In 2018, hackers accessed the BA website and mobile app to steal information including card details, addresses, email addresses and travel arrangements. According to an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), some passengers were taken to a fake website where hackers harvested their details. As a result of this breach, many customers were forced to change their bank accounts or credit cards.

Why is this BA’s fault?

Following an investigation, the ICO found that the hacks were only possible due to inadequate security arrangements at the airline. In response, it is planning to impose a fine of more than £183 million on BA. But, none of this money will go to the victims.

Leading the way when it comes to data breach law

To secure justice for data breach victims, it’s vital that organisations are held to account for their security failures. And, at Hayes Connor, we believe we are the best firm to help BA customers to achieve this. This is because we are a true specialist in data breach law. This is all we do. And, because of this, we have the legal expertise needed to take on big players such as BA. We also have experience in similar huge cases against the likes of Ticketmaster and Equifax.

In addition to our own legal expertise, we also work with expert barristers to help us win our cases. So, we are confident that our team will get the results you deserve.

Crucially, when it comes to making a compensation claim, a lack of care can leave data breach victims open to advice and representation below the standard expected. And this could see you lose out financially as a result.

Our No-Win, No-Fee BA group action makes sure you are protected against all possible costs

At Hayes Connor, we offer a No-Win, No-Fee guarantee. This makes sure our clients are protected and insured against all possible outcomes.

Find out more about what No-Win, No-Fee means.

Why join our BA group action?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have already started a group action claim against British Airways to help victims of this data breach to secure compensation. This means we have everything in place ready for you to join. And, we are using the evidence uncovered by the ICO to make the strongest possible case.

Unlike other UK law firms, we have experience in group action data breach cases. Where cases are very similar, such group actions can be a powerful tool and can have a bigger impact than a single claim.

Don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve!

The deadline to join the BA Group Action has been set by the Court. And, our group action is still open to you to join. You can make a claim even if the theft of your data has not caused you any harm or distress.

However, we would recommend that you join ASAP to give you plenty of time. We are already gathering evidence to give our clients the best possible chance of success. There may also be the chance to secure a settlement before this case gets to Court.

Without joining a group action, hundreds of thousands of people could miss out on the compensation they deserve.

To join our British Airways data breach group action compensation claim, register with us today.

 REGISTER NOW

data breach advice
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Four simple steps to protect your data following a data breach

Negligent business processes, human error and cybercrime are causing a growing number of data protection act breaches. And, if you have been the victim of a breach or cyber-attack, it is vital that you know how to react.

What to do when you find out your data has been breached

STEP ONE: Protect your finances

A data protection act breach can result in financial theft. And, with enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts. To protect your money you should:

  • Contact your bank (or credit card provider) immediately if you are worried that your financial data has been exposed
  • Look out for any bills or emails showing goods or services you haven’t ordered
  • Check your account for any unfamiliar transactions and alert your bank or card provider immediately if there is any suspicious activity
  • Keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected dips
  • Call Credit, Experian and Equifax to ensure credit isn’t taken out in your name
  • Understand that a genuine bank or other financial organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN or full password
  • Know that a legitimate bank or other business would never ask you to move money to another account for fraud reasons.

STEP TWO: Watch out for further attacks

All too often, cyber-criminals get access to your name and email address following a data protection act breach. And they might use this to try and extract additional information from you (such as your banking details). As such, you should:

  • Follow any security instructions provided to you by the company which breached your data
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. This could result in you giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details
  • Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number
  • Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows your details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine
  • Be careful who you trust – criminals may try and trick you by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Criminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and to reveal your security details
  • Know that criminals can make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if you recognise a name or number, or if it seems authentic, it might not be genuine
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. A trustworthy organisation would never force you to make a financial transaction on the spot
  • Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong, then it is right to question it
  • Have the confidence to refuse requests for personal or financial information. Stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it
  • Never hesitate to contact your bank or financial service provider on a number you know
  • Beware of any unsolicited communications that refer you to a web page asking for personal data
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media and review your privacy settings
  • Report any suspected phishing attempts to the police and Action Fraud.

STEP THREE: Put some data protection best practices in place

If you are concerned that your data might be at risk, there are some steps you can take to stop the threat from escalating. For example, you should:

  • Register with the Cifas protective registration service. This will slow down credit applications made in your name with additional verification checks made to ascertain that the applicant is actually you
  • Change your passwords
  • Use a different password for every account (if you are worried about remembering them all you could sign up to a password manager)
  • Make sure your devices are protected by internet security software and that this is kept up-to-date.

STEP FOUR: Make a data breach compensation claim

Every day, data protection act breaches are causing misery and upset to people across the UK. Organisations have a duty to protect your sensitive data. And letting other people access this is a complete failure of this responsibility. So, why shouldn’t you seek compensation for this inability to look after your information correctly if it has caused you distress?

If you want to make a data breach compensation claim you should:

  • Contact the ICO to let them know about your concerns. The ICO might investigate the data breach and, while it does not award compensation, if it believes that the organisation in question broke the law, you can use this information in court to help prove your claim
  • Make sure that if you are offered any form of compensation or free services from the organisation that put your data at risk, you check the small print. Be careful that in accepting an offer you are not giving away your rights to pursue a separate data breach compensation claim at a later date
  • Write down your version of events ASAP, including any impact resulting from the data breach as this could provide valuable evidence in court
  • Contact Hayes Connor Solicitors. Our expert, online fraud and data protection solicitors will advise you on whether you have a valid claim and will be pleased to answer any questions you might have. If you are not sure whether your information has been misused or mishandled, we can find this out for you. Our initial assessment is always free. We’ll ensure that you are fully informed on this matter and will notify you about the investigation and your legal rights when making a claim.

Crucially, if an organisation has failed to protect your personal data, you have a right to claim compensation. Even if you haven’t suffered as a result.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow our #NotJustHackers campaign on Twitter and Facebook.