Carphone Warehouse hit with £400000 fine over data breach

12 January, 2018, 20:13 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Carphone Warehouse office

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".

It's one of the biggest fines the ICO has dealt out, and it's not hard to see why.

Affected information included the names, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers of more than 3 million customers; the staff records - including vehicle registration numbers and work usernames - of 1,000 employees; and historic transaction details - like card numbers and expiry dates - for March 2010 to April 2011 for 18,231 payment cards.

In a statement, Carphone Warehouse said: "We accept today's decision by the ICO and have co-operated fully throughout its investigation into the illegal cyber-attack on a specific system within one of Carphone Warehouse's United Kingdom divisions in 2015".

One of the retail giant's computer systems was affected in the 2015 cyber attack when intruders gained access via out-of-date WordPress software using valid login credentials.

The records for some Carphone Warehouse employees, including names, phone numbers, postcodes, and vehicle registrations were also accessed.

The ICO notes that while the company took steps to fix the problems and protect people affected by the breach this still amounted to a "serious contravention" of the Data Protection Act.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "A company as large, well-resourced, and established as Carphone Warehouse, should have been actively assessing its data security systems, and ensuring systems were robust and not vulnerable to such attacks".

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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.

He added the Europe-wide introduction of General Data Protection Regulation from May will mean this fine could have been almost £195m.

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

"Once the GDPR is implemented, any organisation that puts the data of its European customers at risk will not only face eye-watering fines, such as those suffered by Carphone Warehouse, but will also be subject to crippling reputational damage".

"We are very sorry for any distress or inconvenience the incident may have caused".

"Since the attack in 2015 we have worked extensively with cyber security experts to improve and upgrade our security systems and processes", it said.

The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000, although so far it has tended to keep below that level even when major breaches are involved.

'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.

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