TalkTalk customers could be entitled to compensation after being left traumatised by the cyber attack on the telecom company which may have left their personal details in criminal hands, according to Hudgell Solicitors.
The firm says that questions need to be asked as to whether TalkTalk could have acted quicker in its communication of the situation, as it appears to have taken too long to reveal that customers’ personal information had been put at risk. This may have prevented customers from taking swift remedial action themselves and could have potentially furthered any knock-on effects of the breach.
Although TalkTalk has strongly denied any breach of the Data Protection Act, the company has been summoned by MPs to provide evidence of its preventative measures. Hudgell Solicitors has said that despite numerous statements from the company reassuring their customers, it is highly likely that some are still experiencing significant levels of stress and worry over the situation – especially given the nature of the leaked data.
Until March 2015, it was difficult to bring compensation claims under the Data Protection Act for such distress being caused. However, Hudgell Solicitors says that a Court of Appeal decision earlier this year allowed individuals to claim compensation for that very reason, even if they suffered no financial loss as a result of the breach.
“The Information Commissioner’s Office has already said that such a breach of personal information can bring the risk of identity theft,” said the firm. “As a result, customers of TalkTalk could be entitled to compensation, likely to be in the region of between £500 and £1,000, for the stress caused by their personal details potentially being exposed by a cyber-attack.”
Cyber attacks are an increasing issue for companies, especially in the rise of the digital world, and reports against businesses have risen 23% since 2014 alone, costing the UK economy an estimated £300bn a year.
Major brands such as Marks & Spencer and British Gas have also fallen victim to online hackers in a bid to retrieve personal data from their customers and businesses are being warned about the potential risk to their customers’ personal data and the responsibility they have to their customers.
As a result of the data leaks, which could include customers’ email and bank details, both police and MPs are now investigating whether the companies involved did enough to prevent this from happening.