5 of the UK’s biggest data breaches

It seems that every time you turn on the news, there’s a story about a business losing customer data!

As we do more and more online, there’s more risk to our sensitive data. It’s easy for companies to accidentally misplace data, and for unscrupulous cyber criminals to try and steal it.

Here are some of the most high-profile data breach claims that rocked the country, from airlines to the Government.

1. Easy Jet (2020) and British Airways (2018)

With credit card information, travel patterns, and passport details available, airlines are often targeted in data breaches. In 2020 it was revealed that nine million customers had had their information exposed. The airline came under fire for waiting four months to let customers know their data was at risk.

Many Easy Jet customers are being encouraged to take part in a claim against the business, with a group litigation claim currently being established.

Two years earlier, British Airways experienced a data breach where a redirected website led customers to enter their payment details on a fake site. Nearly half a million customers were affected, and the airline was slapped with a £183 million fine by the ICO; currently the biggest fine issued.

We are currently helping some of those affected by the Easy Jet data breach and have developed a great deal of experience managing these claims for over a hundred different claimants.

2. Transform Hospital Group (2020)

It’s bad when financial and personal data is stolen, but having intimate photos taken is another thing entirely.

Transform Hospital Group fell victim to a ransomware attack in 2020, with customers’ personal data, medical details, and pre/post-surgery photos stolen. The cyber hackers threatened to post this information to the internet.

Trust is important in a medical environment, and this incident led to a loss of trust between the Hospital Group and its customers.

3. The Police Federation of England and Wales (2019)

It’s not just private businesses that are impacted by data breaches. The public and government sector is finding itself increasingly affected by the threat of missing and stolen data.

This happened to the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) in 2019, when information from multiple databases was stolen, one of which contained the personal data of 120,000 police officers across the UK. Like Easy Jet, PFEW was criticised for not telling the affected people straightaway.

With an estimated 65,000 attempts to hack businesses in the UK each day, it’s important to stay vigilant. Many people look to the police for trust and support, and incidents like this don’t help.

4. Marriott Hotels (2014-2018)

This data breach took four years to uncover, and Marriott Hotels ultimately took responsibility.

Starwood Hotels experienced a data breach in 2014 following a cyber-attack where 399 million guest records were stolen. However, with data protection not being the significant issue it is now, the problem quickly got swept under the carpet.

In 2018, Starwood got bought out by Marriot Hotels, who discovered what had happened and contacted customers accordingly. As GDPR had become law in the meantime, Marriot had to pay a fine of £18.4 million for not keeping customers’ data secure.

5. Cabinet Office (2019)

All the incidents we’ve looked at so far have been caused by cybercriminals; however, data breaches can also be caused by human error.

This was the case with the Cabinet Office in 2019. Following the announcement of the year’s New Year’s Honours List, a document containing the names of over 1,000 recipients was put online. Unfortunately, this document was unredacted, meaning it had addresses and other personal data.

The document stayed online for two hours until it was taken down, but the damage had been done. The Cabinet Office was fined £500,000 and made to review the security of its systems.

How can I claim for a data breach?

Having your personal and financial data breached, whether accidentally or on purpose, can be a frustrating experience.

Fortunately, you can take steps to claim for any financial harm, as well as any stress and anxiety caused.

Our data breach solicitors will handle your case from start to finish, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. And with our no-win, no-fee approach, there’s no risk involved.

Whether you want to claim individually or as part of a group litigation claim, we’re here to help. Contact us today for your free consultation.