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Sunday Times, 15th December 2019

Kingsley Hayes spoke to the Sunday Times about the Hayes Connor data breach action against Ticketmaster. Individuals who were affected by the breach who have yet to claim compensation – whether or not they have suffered any actual loss to date – may still join the action.

Data protection at the forefront in the lead up to general election

Robust cybersecurity is front of stage again as news of two attempted cyber attacks on Labour were exposed.

The party has claimed that no personal data has been breached in what has been described as “large scale and sophisticated” attacks. Read more

Data protection is everyone’s business during Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an annual reminder for businesses and individuals that cybersecurity risks are ever present and data protection is everyone’s responsibility.

Preventing data breaches can be as simple as managing password usage across multiple platforms and regularly checking for any compromises according to cybercrime specialist Hayes Connor. Read more

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Data breach leads to neighbour harassment

The headlines lead us to believe that data breaches occur as a result of cyber-attacks. The reality is that the vast majority of cases take place as a result of human error. In these instances, the breach itself can lead to a damaging chain of events which could have been prevented.

Our solicitors see every day how clients are affected. Financial loss may not be a factor in all cases, but the damage and suffering following a breach can quickly escalate.

What happened in this case?

Our client lives in a privately managed block of flats and she made a complaint about another leaseholder to the management company.

The management company proceeded to forward her detailed email to all residents in the block, including the leaseholder being complained about.

This data breach, which appeared to have taken place due to an error of judgement rather than by mistake, started a frightening chain of events exposing our client to serious harassment and compromised the safety of her family.

Following the breach, our client, who has two young children, was subjected to having the gas pipe to her property deliberately cut with access to the mains deliberately obstructed.

She suspected that the volatile neighbour she had complained about was behind the vandalism, but he denied any wrongdoing.

Having lived at the property for some years, with generally good relations with the other neighbours, the data breach also led to these relationships becoming strained.

Alongside taking legal action against the management company, our client also reported the data breach to the ICO resulting in the business now being monitored to prevent further incidents.

We secured £3,000 compensation from the management company responsible for breaking data protection laws not least, due to the psychological suffering endured by our client and her young children.

The situation has become so intolerable that our client plans to sell her property and move her family in the near future.

Have you been in a similar situation? Contact us today.

Lessons learned

If you are an employee handling a customer complaint of any kind, consider how the complaint should be handled before sharing any information.

Consideration should be given to a possible solution to the complaint and thought put into the appropriate sharing of the complaint with individuals who may be part of the solution.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow Hayes Connor on Twitter or give us a like on Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, find out how we can help you to recover any losses or give us a call on 0151 363 5895 to discuss your case in more depth.

 

Report exposes lack of sufficient data security amongst employees

Research published by Egress has exposed that employees are the biggest threat to an organisation’s data protection obligations showing that attitudes and practices when using and sharing personal information are significantly lacking. Read more

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Morrisons loses data breach appeal

Supermarket Morrisons has lost its appeal following a breach at the company which resulted in thousands of its employees’ details being posted online. The case is the first data leak group action in the UK.

In December 2017, in a landmark ruling, the High Court found Morrisons supermarket group liable for a mass data breach caused by the criminal actions of a rogue employee. However, Morrisons went on to challenge this decision.

The employee stole data from nearly 100,000 staff. This included names, addresses, salary and bank details. The information was then posted online and sent to newspapers. The media did not publish the data and Morrisons was informed of the breach. The employee was subsequently jailed for eight years.

The Court of Appeal upheld the original decision against the supermarket with three judges saying they agreed with the High Court’s earlier decision.

 

Where Next

Over the last 18 months, we have seen numerous examples of significant personal data loss. Many of these violations have been able to occur due to weaknesses contained in companies’ IT software.

As the trend towards a cashless society accelerates, this will only continue as retailers and other businesses seek quicker and slicker interfaces with their consumers. Both at the point of sale and throughout their customer journey.

In the case of Morrisons, significant steps were taken to protect data, but those steps failed. In this instance, the data was lost at the hands of an employee turned hacker. However, data is also at threat simply due to careless employees going about their day-to-day business.

The latest ruling is the tip of a very large iceberg. Mass data breach actions are also being made against Ticketmaster and British Airways among others. Such actions, when properly prepared and investigated, will have significant financial consequences in terms of damages and costs.

Data breaches on a large scale are a real and pressing threat. In response, the clear and overwhelming view of the Court of Appeal is that such events must be foreseen by companies, and insured against.

The reaction of the insurers to such events, their provision of cyber cover and premium costs is now under the spotlight. Indeed, we predict a situation where the volume of exclusions to policies will increase.

Companies must now protect themselves better from data loss. But they also need to be extremely vigilant as to the activities and errors of their employees to be afforded the cover they pay for, or think they pay for.

 

If you have been affected by this or any other data breach then you can get in touch with our experts today

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Data protection complaints increase by almost 50% in three months

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the number of reported data protection complaints has almost doubled since April this year. The increase in data breach complaints has happened since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25th.

The stats show that:

  • 4,214 data protection complaints were made in July
  • 3,098 data protection complaints were made in June
  • 2,310 data protection complaints made in May
  • 2,165 complaints were made in April.

In total, there were 957 reported data security incidents in Q4 2018. Common causes for these data violations include:

  • Data sent to the wrong recipient
  • Loss of theft of paperwork
  • Failure to redact data
  • Failure to use bcc when sending an email.

Worryingly, reported cybersecurity incidents also increased by 31% over the same period. Overall, general business, education and local government were the sectors with the most reported data breaches (the figures exclude the health sector).

Commenting on the changes since the introduction of the GDPR, a spokeswoman for the ICO said: “It’s early days and we will collate, analyse and publish official statistics in due course. But generally, as anticipated, we have seen a rise in personal data breach reports from organisations.

“Complaints relating to data protection issues are also up and, as more people become aware of their individual rights, we are expecting the number of complaints to the ICO to increase too.”

A rise in data breach awareness

The stats indicate that more and more people are becoming aware of their data protection rights. This makes sense as there have been many high-profile data protection scandals over the last few months.

For example, at Hayes Connor Solicitors we are involved in the following cases:

 

  • Emma’s Diary. Emma’s Diary sold its users’ information to Experian’s marketing division. This data was then used to create a database which the Labour Party manipulated to profile new mums in the run-up to the 2017 General Election. Find out more about the Emma’s Diary data breach
  • Dixons Carphone. The Dixons Carphone or Carphone Warehouse data breach took place in 2017. It resulted in 10 million customer records being accessed from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. The details stolen by cyber criminals include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses. All of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes. Find out more about the Carphone Warehouse data breach
  • Ticketmaster has admitted that thousands of UK customers have been put at risk due to third-party software on their website. This has since been removed but not before the software accessed a number of customers’ personal and financial details. Find out more about the Ticketmaster data breach
  • Last year, Equifax warned that up to 400,000 UK consumers might have had their personal details stolen. The data included names, address, dates of birth, and credit card numbers. Find out more about the Equifax data breach.

 

If you have been affected by any of these data protection cases, or if you want to make a data breach compensation claim against another organisation, let us know.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we’ve been helping people to get the justice they deserve for over 50 years, so we know what it takes to make a successful data breach compensation claim.

Crucially, the law recognises the potential damage that is caused by psychological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

START A DATA BREACH CLAIM

 

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Join a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim

Dixons Carphone is facing legal action from potentially millions of people after it was revealed that hackers have accessed the information of close to 10 million customers. The hackers also got access to the records of 5.9 million payments cards (nearly all of which were protected by chip and pin).

While the company claims that no customers have been the victim of fraud as a result of the hack, you can still claim for any distress you have suffered as a result of the Dixons Carphone data breach.

The National Crime Agency has been investigating the Dixons Carphone data breach. It is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office (the UK’s data protection regulator).

As expert data breach solicitors, here at Hayes Connor, we are carefully watching developments unfold in this case, and are preparing to launch a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim once the relevant investigations are complete.

What happened in the Carphone Warehouse data breach?

The Dixons Carphone data breach took place in 2017 and resulted in customer records being accessed from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. Both payment card details and non-financial records were compromised.

The Dixons Carphone’s investigation has not uncovered any evidence of additional fraud, but it has revealed that significantly more data was taken than first thought.

Crucially, the details stolen by cyber criminals include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses. All of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes.

Dixons Carphone has been criticised for downplaying the severity of the hack. Because today, criminals don’t need payment card or bank account details to cause havoc. Indeed, the sheer scale of damage and distress that can be created by criminals gaining access to personally identifiable information (PII) cannot be underestimated. So, while there is no evidence of financial losses suffered by customers of Currys PC World and Dixons, this doesn’t mean that the impact on victims is any less significant.

To make matters worse, this is not the first time that the company has failed to protect its customers. Earlier this year, the Carphone Warehouse, which merged with Dixons, was fined £400,000 following another cyber-attack. The huge fine is one of the biggest ever handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office. So, with a history of failures, the relevant authorities will now be looking very carefully at this latest data breach.

What are we doing about a Carphone Warehouse data breach claim?

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have received a large number of queries from people concerned that their information is now at the mercy of cybercriminals. In response, we are now considering launching a group action against Dixons Carphone.

As such, we have appointed an expert barrister to help in this case. Having developed a practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies who have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties, we are confident that our team will get the results our clients deserve.

Why launch a group action Carphone Warehouse data breach claim?

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 to bring it together on a collective basis to strengthen their overall position and increase their chances of settlement or success in litigation.

What’s more, with a group action claimants often share the legal fees. Even better, while the cost of pursuing small claims can be a barrier to justice, by grouping cases together, solicitors are often able to run group actions on a no win-no fee basis.

Find out more about group actions.

What should you do if you have been affected by the Dixons Carphone data breach?

If you are worried that Dixons Carphone has exposed your data, there are a few simple steps you can follow.

  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. Dixons Carphone should be able to advise you on this
  2. 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)
  3. Deploy additional security measures. If an app or website offers two-factor authentication to protect an account, use it
  4. Contact your bank. If any financial information has been stolen, contact your bank 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
  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 Dixons Carphone Data Breach. 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.

To find out more, read our handy step-by-step guide to making a data breach claim

How can you join the Carphone Warehouse data breach claim group action?

If you have had an email from Dixon’s Carphone you could be entitled to several thousand pounds in compensation so it’s important to act now. And, because we offer no-win, no-fee funding arrangements, you have nothing to lose.

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

To join a group action compensation claim, 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.

REGISTER NOW

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Ten million customers could claim compensation for distress in Dixons Carphone data breach

Following the Dixons data breach discovered in June this year, Dixons Carphone has begun contacting customers to warn them that their information has been accessed by hackers. And, while the company initially estimated that 5.9 million people could be at risk, that figure is now closer to 10 million. But with Dixons Carphone claiming that no customers have been the victim of fraud as a result of the hack, can you claim compensation for distress?

What has happened?

The breach, which took place in 2017, saw data leaked from servers containing customer records from Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. Both payment card details and non-financial records were compromised.

While Dixons Carphone’s investigation has not uncovered any evidence of additional fraud, it has revealed that significantly more data was taken than first thought.

In an email to customers affected by the data breach, Dixons Carphone admitted that the scale of the non-payment leak reached around 10 million customers. Details stolen during the attack include names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses – all of which can be used by cybercriminals to commit further crimes.

Alex Baldock, chief executive of Dixons Carphone, has apologised for the breach and admitted that the company had ‘fallen short’ of its duty to protect customers. And, a spokesperson for Dixons Carphone said that: “While there is now evidence that some of this data may have left our systems, these records do not contain payment card or bank account details and we have no confirmed instances of customers falling victim to fraud as a result.”

However, by downplaying the severity of the hack, it is clear that Dixons Carphone does not understand the importance of keeping its customers’ personal data safe, and the sheer scale of damage and distress that can be caused by criminals gaining access to personally identifiable information (PII).

In fact, while there is no evidence of financial losses suffered by customers of Currys PC World and Dixons, this doesn’t mean that the impact on victims is any less significant.

Distress matters in data breach cases

Being the victim of a crime can have a considerable effect on you. Both mentally and physically. Everyone reacts differently, but for some people, the consequences can include a lack of sleep, feeling ill, unsettled or confused. Stress can also affect your friends, your family and your job. So, just because your financial details were not exposed or used, doesn’t mean the breach should be treated any less seriously.

According to Victim Support: “The effects of crime can also last for a long time, and it doesn’t depend on how ‘serious’ the crime was. Some people cope really well with the most horrific crimes while others can be very distressed by a more minor incident”.

Compensation for distress in data breach cases

If you have suffered damage or distress caused by an organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation.

Crucially, the law recognises the potential damage that is caused by psychological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss.

A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. So why shouldn’t you seek compensation for this failure to look after your information correctly?

What next in the Dixons Carphone data breach case?

The National Crime Agency has been investigating the Dixons Carphone data breach. It is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office (the UK’s data protection regulator).

Dixons Carphone has said that is “continuing to keep the relevant authorities updated.”

This is not the first time that the company has failed to protect its customers. Earlier this year, the Carphone Warehouse, which merged with Dixons, was fined a £400,000 following another cyber-attack.

The huge fine is one of the biggest ever handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office. In that breach, the personal data of over three million customers and 1,000 employees was put at risk.

With a history of failures, the regulator will now be looking very carefully at this latest revelation.

Can you claim compensation for distress in the Dixons Carphone data breach?

Absolutely. Data breaches can have severe consequences for those affected, so, customers of Dixons Carphone should now be looking to claim compensation.

In this case, because of when the breach took place, any financial penalties paid by Dixons Carphone for failing to protect customer data adequately will be calculated under old data protection legislation. This means that the company will escape the threat of much more substantial fines now possible under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

But with a history of data negligence at the company, and a clear downplaying of the importance of this latest breach, something must be done to hold them to account.

If you have had an email from Dixon’s Carphone you could be entitled to several thousand pounds in compensation so it’s important to act now.

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A CLAIM THEN COMPLETE OUR CONTACT FORM.

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Ticketmaster data breach: putting GDPR to the test

Following the Ticketmaster data breach – where cybercriminals got away with customers’ personal and financial information- the latest data protection regulations are now being put to the test.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have heard about GDPR. In fact, you’re probably fed up hearing about it. But GDPR is likely to have a significant impact on the way companies handle your valuable data; with enormous fines for those that don’t look after it properly.

And, according to data protection lawyers, the Ticketmaster data breach could be a real test to see if the legislation will hold companies to account.

What happened in the Ticketmaster data breach?

Ticketmaster was affected by a substantial data protection breach after cybercriminals hacked the company’s website. Different customers had different data stolen including:

  • Financial information stolen and used. There are reports that customers of Ticketmaster have been the victims of theft, with their cards used on money transfer service Xendpay, Uber gift cards and Netflix (among others). Anyone who has had their financial details stolen and used fraudulently could now be looking at compensation in the region of £5,000
  • Financial information stolen. Many of those affected by the Ticketmaster data breach will have had their financial details stolen but not used (at least not yet). Crucially, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally following a data breach, even if you have not experienced any financial loss. If you had your financial details stolen during the Ticketmaster data hack, you could be looking at compensation in the region of £3,000
  • Email address stolen. If your email account has been hacked the consequences could be devastating. Again, it doesn’t matter if there is no evidence of your data being used. If the distress of having your data in the hands of cybercriminals has caused you suffering, you can make a claim. Anyone who has had their email address stolen could be looking at compensation in the region of £1,500
  • Other personal information stolen. Along with the financial info and email addresses stolen, the Ticketmaster hackers also gained access to personally identifiable information (PII). PII includes any data that can be used to identify a specific individual, and, if it gets into the wrong hands, it can be used to undertake identity fraud. Anyone who has had their personal data stolen could be looking at compensation in the region of £500 – £1,000.

 

Find out more about the different types of data breaches in this case.

Ticketmaster data breach and GDPR

The Ticketmaster data breach affects up to 40,000 people who bought tickets between September 2017 and 23 June 2018. With the GDPR coming into force on May 25th 2018, this means that the breach spans two different data protection acts:

  • The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998
  • The Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 (the UK’s version of the GDPR).

These acts have drastically different level of fines. The first up to a maximum of £500,000 and the second up to £17 million (or 4% of an organisation’s annual turnover, whichever is higher).

It is not yet clear which legislation is relevant, but the breach could be judged under both. Alternatively, the entire data protection failure could be treated as a breach under GDPR as it kept happening after the new laws came into force. If GDPR is used, the Ticketmaster data breach case will be considered a test case that is likely to set the tone for action to be taken by the ICO in future breaches.

What does this mean for you?

In truth, while data protection lawyers are eagerly waiting to see what legislation applies, for people who had had their data breached it doesn’t make much difference. Mainly because, while the ICO can impose a fine on a company, this isn’t given to victims of the data breach.

The only way for you to hold Ticketmaster to account is to make a data breach compensation claim.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we have already been contacted by lots of Ticketmaster customers who are worried that their data was not looked after as carefully as it should have been.

In response, we are supporting no-win, no-fee compensation claims for everyone who has had their data accessed in the Ticketmaster data breach. Depending on the numbers involved we may even start a group action against Ticketmaster.

Find out more about making a claim against Ticketmaster.

To start your compensation claim, 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.

 

REGISTER NOW