Ian Whitehurst working with Hayes Connor Solicitors on Dixons Carphone data hack

June 22, 2018

Ian Whitehurst from Exchange Chambers is advising data breach and cybercrime experts, Hayes Connor Solicitors, on how they can help victims of the latest Dixons Carphone data hack to claim compensation.

The firm of online fraud and data protection solicitors is expecting an influx of queries from clients who have been contacted by Dixons Carphone informing them that their data may be at risk.

Dixons Carphone admitted the latest data breach last week. It came following a prolonged hacking attempt involving one of the processing systems of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel store. The data hack – which was carried out over a period of 12 months – saw cybercriminals gain access to 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records.

The personal data records compromised by the hackers included information such as names, addresses and email addresses. All of which can be used to carry out data theft and fraud. In addition, while most of the cards had chip and pin protection, some 105,000 non-EU issued cards did not have this technology.

While the company has said there is no evidence that any of the cards have been used fraudulently, a full police investigation is now underway. The regulators have also been informed, and it is thought that the breach could leave the company open to a substantial fine.

Dixons Carphone has admitted that the company has fallen short of its data protection responsibilities and is said to be taking the matter extremely seriously.

Ian Whitehurst, an expert data breach barrister at Exchange Chambers works closely with Hayes Connor Solicitors in data protection cases.

Commenting on the Dixons Carphone breach he said: “We should all be very worried about what could happen if our personal data gets into the wrong hands. With enough information, cyber criminals can steal our identities, apply for credit in our name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access our existing accounts.

“However, you can still make a claim if you haven’t lost out financially because of a data breach. A recent case has recognised the potential damage that is caused by physiological suffering. So, you can make a compensation claim if you have struggled emotionally.

“A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled and being the victim of a crime can have a significant impact on you mentally and physically. So, it is understandable that victims would want to seek compensation for a failure to look after their information correctly.”

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at Hayes Connor Solicitors said: “Unfortunately this is just the latest in a series of data protection failures at the company. Earlier this year, the Carphone Warehouse, which merged with Dixons, was fined a whopping £400,000 following another cyber-attack which put the personal data of over three million customers and 1,000 employees at risk. In that instance, the fine was one of the biggest ever handed out by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“The reality is that data breaches often have severe consequences for those affected. So, customers and employees of the Carphone Warehouse and the merged Dixons Carphone should now be looking to claim compensation.

“The company has said that it will be contacting those affected to advise them of the breach and we would urge anyone contacted to let us know and start a data protection compensation claim; particularly as there is a history of data negligence at the company. Something must be done to hold them to account, and in response, we are building a secure database of victims who want to seek compensation.

“If you were affected you could be entitled to up to several thousand pounds, so it’s important to act now.”

Ian is a member of the criminal team at Exchange Chambers.