Carphone Warehouse fined £400000 for customer data breach

ICO slaps Carphone Warehouse with £400,000 fine for failing to prevent 2015 mega-hack

In 2015, hackers invaded unauthorised access to the personal data of more than three million Carphone Warehouse customers and 1,000 of the organisation's employees.

Carphone Warehouse, which tells us that it'll only have to hand over £320,000 due to early payment, said in a statement sent to V3: "We accept today's decision by the ICO and have co-operated fully throughout its investigation into the illegal cyberattack on a specific system within one of Carphone Warehouse's United Kingdom divisions in 2015".

The compromised personal data included names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, marital status and, for more than 18,000 customers, their historical payment card details.

However, Denham also acknowledges that while Carphone Warehouse's lax security measures were to blame for the data breach, no evidence has emerged that the data loss has resulted in identity theft or fraud.

1,000 employees also suffered the breach with their names, phones numbers, postcodes, and auto registrations accessed.

And with regards to infrastructure, firms have to ensure that they are using data protection hardware that provides "sufficient guarantees in respect to technical and organisational security".

The ICO considered that the personal data involved would significantly affect individuals' privacy, leaving their data at risk of being misused.

Carphone warehouse was responsible for a range of "systemic failures" that led to the data attack, said the ICO, when it slapped the company with the hefty fine.

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According to the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, what is concerning is that the failures they found related to rudimentary and commonplace measures.

The company was accused by the ICO of failing to adequately secure its systems, enabling intruders to easily access the data.

Indeed, Peter Carlisle, VP EMEA at Thales eSecurity suggests "the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in less than six months' time will come as a stern warning to those falling short of having the correct cyber defences in place, should companies fail to meet compliance". It shows how highly companies should value the sanctity of their data in an age of massive breaches, especially in the case of a large trusted brand with a big customer database.

After the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, a new United Kingdom data protection law will be in place with similar requirements and fines.

"It is also a shot across the bow of such companies in the run-up to GDPR".

'Companies and public bodies should ensure strong IT governance and information security measures are in place, tested and refreshed to comply with the provisions of the law, ' it said. "While it is a relatively large headline figure, it is a fraction of what is possible under the GDPR".

In order to ensure that firms will fewer resources to invest on cyber security are able to comply with the upcoming data protection law, the ICO launched a new helpline previous year exclusively for small and medium businesses.

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