Welcome to our in-depth guide on claiming data breach compensation from companies that have been hacked. Data breaches can devastate individuals and businesses, and it’s important to know your rights and legal options if your personal data has been compromised. In this guide, we will explain the process of making a compensation claim and provide advice on how to navigate the complex world of data protection and cybersecurity.
Should you have questions about making a claim for compensation for a data breach that occurred due to hacking, please get in touch. An advisor could help to answer your questions. Plus, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor who could take on your claim.
Understanding Data Protection and GDPR
The Data Protection Act and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are designed to protect the privacy and personal data of individuals. GDPR came into effect in May 2018 and has had a significant impact on the way businesses handle personal data. If a company fails to comply with GDPR, acting wrongfully and exposing data to unauthorised people, they may be liable for compensation if a data breach occurs and harms people.
Types of Data Breaches
There are many different types of data breaches, including hacking, phishing, malware, and physical theft. The impact of a data breach can range from minor inconvenience to severe financial loss and emotional distress. In recent years, several high-profile data breaches have resulted in significant compensation payouts for victims.
What Is Hacking And How Common Is It?
Hacking is the act of gaining unauthorised access to a computer system or network, often with the intent to steal, modify, or destroy data. Hackers use a variety of techniques to breach computer security, including exploiting vulnerabilities in software, guessing passwords, or tricking users into installing malware or divulging sensitive information.
Hacking can occur on a large scale, affecting millions of people, such as the 2017 Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal information of 147 million people. However, hacking can also happen on a smaller scale, affecting individuals or small businesses.
Unfortunately, hacking is becoming increasingly common in today’s digital age. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new techniques to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks, and businesses of all sizes are at risk of being targeted. In fact, according to a 2022 report by the National Cyber Security Centre, over the past year, instances of hacking targeted towards social media and email accounts with the intent of financial extortion or data compromise for the purposes of fraud have increased. The number of reported cases of social media hacking in the UK in 2021/22 was 8,023, marking a 23.5% increase from the previous year.
Rights And Compensation Claims Process
If your personal data has been breached, you have certain rights under GDPR. You have the right to be informed, the right of access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to restrict processing, the right to data portability, and the right to object. If you believe that your rights have been breached, you may be entitled to compensation.
When Could I Claim From A Company That Has Been Hacked?
The difference between a hacking incident that could lead to a claim and one that wouldn’t lead to a claim depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the breach, the nature of the data that was compromised, how the hacking was possible and the impact that the breach had on the affected individuals.
In general, a hacking incident that could lead to a claim is one in which personal data has been compromised due to wrongful action by the data controller and the affected individual has suffered some form of harm as a result. This harm could take a variety of forms, such as financial loss, emotional distress, or reputational damage.
For example, if a hacker gains access to a company’s database and steals the personal and financial information of its customers, those customers could be at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, or other forms of financial loss. If the company failed to take adequate security measures to protect the data, the affected customers could have grounds to make a compensation claim for the harm suffered.
On the other hand, a hacking incident that wouldn’t lead to a claim is one in which personal data is compromised, but there is no evidence of harm or loss suffered by the affected individuals. For example, if a hacker gains access to a company’s database but doesn’t actually use or steal any of the data, the affected individuals may not have grounds to make a compensation claim.
If you’ve suffered harm because your data was exposed by a company that was hacked, it’s important to seek the advice of a specialist data breach claims solicitor. They could help you discover whether the data controller was at fault.
The Impact Of Data Breaches
Data breaches can have a significant impact on individuals and businesses. Victims may experience financial loss, emotional distress, and damage to their reputation. The impact can be particularly severe for businesses that have suffered a breach, as they may be liable for significant fines and legal fees. Compensation claims can help to mitigate the impact of a data breach and provide victims with the support they need to recover.
How Companies Can Avoid Being Hacked
Companies can take several steps to protect themselves from hacking:
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication: Strong passwords and two-factor authentication can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access to company accounts and systems.
- Keep software up to date: Regularly updating software and operating systems can help ensure that known vulnerabilities are patched, reducing the risk of exploitation by hackers.
- Train employees on cybersecurity best practices: Companies should provide regular training to employees on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and avoid phishing scams, how to create strong passwords, and how to report suspicious activity.
- Use firewalls and antivirus software: Firewalls and antivirus software can help detect and prevent malicious activity on company networks and systems.
- Conduct regular vulnerability assessments: Regular vulnerability assessments can help identify potential weaknesses in company systems and processes, allowing for proactive mitigation measures to be implemented.
- Limit access to sensitive data: Limiting access to sensitive data to only those who need it can help reduce the risk of data breaches and limit the potential impact of a breach.
- Have an incident response plan in place: Having a clear and well-communicated incident response plan in place can help companies respond quickly and effectively to a security breach, minimising the impact on the business and affected individuals.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim From Companies That Have Been Hacked?
Determining the amount of compensation you may receive after from the harm caused to you by companies that have been hacked can be a complex process. While data breach compensation calculators can provide some guidance, their accuracy may be limited. To help provide insight into potential compensation amounts, lawyers and solicitors may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines.
- Severe psychological harm – £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately Severe psychological harm – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate psychological harm – £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe psychological harm – £1,540 to £5,860
It’s important to note, however, that these figures represent compensation brackets for successful claims in Wales and England and relate only to non-material damages.
Furthermore, the specific circumstances of each case can vary greatly, so it’s important to consult with legal professionals to get an accurate estimate of what compensation you may be eligible for.
No Win No Fee Claims Against Companies That Have Been Hacked
If you’re looking to make a claim from companies that have been hacked, seeking the assistance of solicitors can be extremely helpful. While it’s ultimately up to you whether or not you choose to engage legal support, it’s highly recommended that you work with solicitors who have prior experience in handling data breach claims. Opting for a No Win No Fee solicitor may also be a viable option that doesn’t require any upfront payment. Typically, a Conditional Fee Agreement will be used in these cases, meaning you’ll only be charged a success fee if your solicitor successfully obtains compensation for the breach on your behalf.
Furthermore, It’s worth noting that the success fee is legally limited by the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 and will be directly deducted from your data protection breach compensation. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about excessive charges once your claim has been settled.
If you’re looking for further assistance or would like to begin a claim, our advisors are available at any time. You can contact us via our helpline at 0800 408 7827 by using our online form to contact us, or through our Live Chat feature.
Further Insight Into Claiming From Companies That Have Been Hacked
Finally, you can learn more about data breaches by visiting the links below.
Examples Of An Accidental Data Breach – When Can You Claim? – First, learn about claiming for accidental data breaches here.
How To Claim Compensation For a Data Security Breach – Next, learn more about data security in this guide.
What Are The Requirements For A Valid Data Breach Claim Under The Data Protection Act? – More insight into data breach claims.
Cyber Crime – Learn more about cyber crime from the NCSC.
Be Data Aware – Understand your data rights by visiting the ICO website.
Data Protection Complaints – Finally, learn how you can report a complaint here.