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Flurry of data breach cases highlights scale of global problem

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that data breaches are rare. Given that we might only hear about significant data breaches, such as the 2018 British Airways breach from the mainstream news, this is understandable.

Yet, a flurry of recent worldwide data breach stories highlights both the scale of the issue and the frequency at which incidents occur. Given the interconnected nature of the modern world and the extent to which we rely on digital platforms to go about our lives, it’s no surprise these are occurring on a global scale, either.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most significant data breach stories we’ve seen in the past week.

Dutch data regulator fines TikTok €750,000

If you have teenage children or grandchildren – or lots of Facebook friends with nothing better to do – you probably see and know more of TikTok than you’d ideally like.

The social media platform, where users upload short videos of themselves typically playing pranks, dancing, or lip-syncing to songs, has fallen foul of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. The Dutch Data Protection Authority found, in failing to provide privacy policies in Dutch, children were more likely to sign-up to the platform without understanding the implications of using social media or how TikTok collected and used personal data.

While TikTok has appealed, the fact the platform had already made changes around making itself safer for under 16s is likely to be seen as an admission of liability. This isn’t TikTok’s first run-in with data authorities, either, having been fined $5.7 million by the US Federal Trade Commission back in 2019.

Do you know which apps your children or grandchildren are using? How confident are you they’re protecting them and any personal details they must input to gain access?

Charity data at risk following National Lottery Community Fund Breach

The National Lottery Community Fund has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), with over six years’ worth of data potentially at risk.

The breach potentially affects charities that applied for funding between September 2013 and December 2019 via the UK Portfolio, England funding, and Building Better Opportunities programmes. Charities that applied for grants via programmes based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not thought to have been affected.

A wealth of information is thought to be at risk, including names, addresses, and contact details of signatories, along with the bank details of affected charities.

The Fund has informed the charities potentially affected and advised them to monitor bank accounts, be wary of fraudulent communications, and to carry out a credit check to highlight any fraudulent applications that may have been made.

Although individuals’ sensitive financial data isn’t involved, this case highlights the ease with which you can find yourself involved in a data breach through no fault of your own.

100,000 data records stolen from leading UK firearms seller

In a data breach story that did make it to the mainstream news, leading UK firearms seller Guntrader confirmed a breach that saw around 100,000 customer records stolen.

Despite admitting the stolen details included names and addresses, Guntrader told the BBC that “no information relating to gun ownership or the location of firearms was taken.”

However, with these customer records reportedly circulating the dark web, many are understandably anxious their homes could be targeted by criminals looking to acquire firearms.

When we hear about data breaches, our first thought as individuals is often to worry about our financial data and whether we’ll be the victim of digital fraud. However, this incident starkly highlights the potential for a data breach to lead to more than just a need to change a password for a handful of digital accounts. As such, we’re likely to hear more about this as the ICO undertakes its investigation.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this, too!

If you’re a Guntrader customer and your data was involved in this breach, contact LawPlus now! We’ll await the outcome of the ICO’s investigation before pursuing a data breach claim on your behalf but learning and understanding your circumstances now will help us when it’s time to proceed.

Tokyo 2020 ticketholder and volunteer data stolen in “not large” breach

An unnamed Japanese Government official has admitted that login details for some Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics ticketholders and volunteers had been stolen in a data breach described as “not large.”

News of such a data breach is somewhat unexpected; cybersecurity has been a strong focus leading up to the Games. In addition, the United States charged six Russian intelligence officials in 2020 in connection with a global hacking program that included the 2018 Winter Games.

While the volume of data stolen is small compared to what may have been available were the Games not taking place mainly behind closed doors, and without overseas spectators, this is one of the most common types of data breach people often ignore, but that can cause the most significant damage.

For example, while login data may seem trivial, cybercriminals know that many people will use the same password repeatedly. As such, those affected are likely to see their other digital accounts targeted in the coming days and weeks. Sensitive data within those accounts is at risk if they’ve used the same passwords for their Olympic Games ticket or volunteer account.

Protect yourself, but take action if an organisation fails to protect your data!

While you can do a lot to protect your data and stay safe from the activities of cybercriminals, the bottom line is that you cannot control whether an organisation is negligent with your data.

If your details are involved in a data breach, ensure you take action!

As well as changing any passwords and protecting other sensitive details following a data breach, you may also be entitled to compensation!

If your details have been involved in a data breach, contact LawPlus now for a FREE assessment of your claim.

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