Compensation claims over Virgin Media data breach

Victims of a data breach that exposed the details of more than 900,000 people have been contacting their solicitors.

Newcastle-based solicitors Ben Hoare Bell LLP are just one of the firms investigating the breach, which was allegedly down to “human error” rather than a cyber-attack.

The database at the centre of the breach, contained phone numbers, home and email addresses and was accessed “on at least one occasion” by an unknown user.

According to reports, the database had been “incorrectly configured” by a member of staff not following the correct procedures.

Unauthorised access

Virgin Media has confirmed almost all of those affected were Virgin customers with television or fixed-line telephone accounts, although the database also included some Virgin Mobile customers as well as potential customers referred by friends as part of a promotion.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media said: “We recently became aware that one of our marketing databases was incorrectly configured which allowed unauthorised access. We immediately solved the issue by shutting down access to this database, which contained some contact details of approximately 900,000 people. Protecting our customers’ data is a top priority and we sincerely apologise.

“We urge people to remain cautious before clicking on an unknown link or giving any details to an unverified or unknown party.”

Chronicle Live reported that Andrew Freckleton, a Partner at Ben Hoare Bell who specialises in Data Protection, said he has been instructed by several clients whose details were disclosed.

He said: “If you are a customer of Virgin Media and have recently been informed that your details were left unsecured then you will no doubt have concerns about how your personal and sensitive data has been handled and the potential repercussions of this data breach.”

 “You have a right to claim compensation from an organisation if you have suffered damage as a result of your data having been breached. This can include if you have suffered financially and also if you have suffered distress and worry as a result of the data breach. We at Ben Hoare Bell LLP have an experienced Data Protection Law team ready to assist you in claiming compensation if your data has been breached”.

Claimants contacting solicitors is fast becoming the norm after a data breach. And when the data breach is allegedly down to “human error” it is very clear that effective training in data protection would be hugely beneficial to organisations to make sure that they do not find themselves in similar situations.

iCaaS offers comprehensive online awareness training to ensure responsible data handling practices supported by simple, easy to use software.

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