Five Things You Should Know About Data Breaches

on 16 Oct 2020 | by Simon Chadwick

1: Data breaches happen all the time.

What do Apple, Uber, and EasyJet have in common? Answer: They are among the hundreds of major companies which have suffered data breaches in the past few years. The list is extensive, and that’s before we include smaller companies you may not have heard of. Every time one of these breaches occurs, innocent people are put in danger of identity theft and other concerns. Statistically, you are more likely than not to be caught in a data breach at some point. In 2018 alone, more than 470 million people’s confidential information was exposed in data breaches – and those are just the ones we know about.

2: Any organisation can suffer a data breach.

We tend to think of data breaches as being something that happens to commercial businesses, but this isn’t the whole picture. Any organisation which stores personal information is at risk of a data breach. It may be a government department, it may be a political party, it may even be a charity. Regardless, they are all required to follow the same rules, and if they fail to do so then you can bring a claim against them.

3: The severity of data breaches differs from case to case.

Not every data breach is equally bad. The ways in which information is exposed, along with the quantity of information involved, plays a decisive factor in how serious a particular breach becomes. In some cases, there is little or no damage caused, like when a company realises there is a flaw in its system and fixes it before anybody notices, or if the person who does find it is a decent human being and doesn’t use it maliciously. On the other end of the spectrum, hackers may breach a system with sophisticated techniques and steal very sensitive data that can have devastating consequences for people. As such, the type of data breach you are caught in will be factored into any compensation you may receive.

4: There’s not a lot you can do to prevent data breaches.

The scariest thing about data breaches is that they’re mostly out of your control. Yes, you can be careful about who you give your data to in the first place, but that’s about the extent of your own power over the matter. Even if you’re very careful, most companies nowadays collect and store data on you, often without you fully realising. Trusting large and reputable companies is no guarantee of safety either, but if you want to live in the modern world and use the services available to you, this is a risk you have to take. You just have to give them your data and hope that they’re responsible with it. Which, unfortunately, they often aren’t.

5: But you should demand justice if you are a data breach victim.

Any organisation which holds data about you is bound by law to take all possible measures to safeguard that data. If they fail to do so, the cost to you can be huge. When that happens, you shouldn’t just shrug it off and say “these things happen”, because these things shouldn’t happen. The only way to ensure data security is taken more seriously is to create incentives for companies to do so, and having to pay compensation is about as good of an incentive as there is. The more that companies have to pay out for claims, the more likely they are to start looking after your data in the future so this doesn’t happen to you or anybody else again. Don’t be a silent victim – stand up and make your voice count!

23/10/2021 06:06:35