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As consumers, our personal data is a valuable commodity, both to businesses and to criminals. Companies can obtain our personal information via legitimate methods, whereas cybercriminals are constantly looking for opportunities to steal information. One key means of sourcing personal data is to take advantage of details leaked in a data breach.
Whether through a targeted cyberattack or internal cybersecurity errors, the personal data held by companies can be leaked to unauthorised third parties. Given the value of private information, cybercriminals can deliberately seek to profit from vulnerabilities in companies’ systems, proceeding to then use the stolen information for their own gain.
Due to the threat of cybercrime, and their legal obligations, data controllers have a responsibility to protect the information they hold about consumers and employees. If they fail to have enough security measures in place, if information is compromised as a result, they could be liable for a breach of data protection law.
Having your details leaked in a data breach is always concerning, but the impact can also vary from person to person. The consequences of a data breach can typically depend on the amount of information you have had exposed, as well as the nature of the details involved.
For example, if victims have bank account or payment card information exposed, they can be at immediate risk of fraud. In such cases, those affected may need to take action as soon as possible, alerting their bank so that any authorised transactions can be blocked. However, where only contact details are leaked, criminals may need to be more indirect when scamming their targets, using fraudulent calls and emails to attempt to trick victims into handing over financial details.
There can also be the psychological or emotional dimension to the impact of data breaches, with victims suffering varying degrees of stress or anxiety caused by the exposure of their information. This can again be affected by the types of details leaked in a data breach: for example, the exposure of highly sensitive information, such as medical records, could be more likely to cause severe distress to the victims.
Victims can have their details leaked in a data breach in a variety of different ways. For example, in the British Airways data breach, customer information relating to hundreds of thousands of people was leaked due to a targeted cyberattack on the company’s systems. In another example, in the Virgin Media data breach, there was not a direct attack but, instead, an internal failure to secure a database left it open to unauthorised access, potentially giving criminals a route to the personal data held.
Regardless of how an incident has occurred, if you have had your details leaked in a data breach due to the negligence of a data controller, you could be eligible to make a compensation claim. We have represented many claimants for data breaches over several years, recovering over £1m in damages to date in mostly individual cases. In some of our ongoing group action cases, we are looking to secure compensation from British Airways, Virgin Media and Equifax for data breach claimants.
To take advantage of our expertise, contact us for free, no-obligation advice today, and we can advise you on your eligibility to make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim.
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