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University Of Warwick Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 31st August 2021. Welcome to our guide on making data breach claims against Warwick University. This guide also contains advice which you could use for similar types of claims at other universities, such as those potentially made for an oxford brookes data breach. A data breach claim against the University of Warwick could be made if you have evidence that personal data of yours has been compromised by the organisation and you’ve suffered mental or financial damage as a result.

data breach claim against the university of warwick

Data breach claim against the University of Warwick

The law regarding data protection explicitly states that organisations must ensure your personal information is secure. If the university fails to keep your information protected, whether the data is compromised accidentally or due to a malicious cyber-attack, you may have grounds to sue.

To find out if you have grounds to start a data breach claim against the University of Warwick, please continue reading our guide. However, if you have any questions regarding this kind of claim, or you feel ready to begin a claim, please contact a member of the Legal Expert team on our freephone number 0800 073 8804.

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A Guide On Data Breach Claims Made Against The University Of Warwick

Your personal information is collected, processed, and stored by many organisations which are known as ‘data controllers’ or ‘data processors’ depending on the role they play. Any organisation that holds personal data should comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 plus the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It’s required by law that all organisations protect the personal data they hold and if they don’t do this, compensation can be sought if you go on to suffer damage to your finances or mental health.

Our guide to seeking compensation due to a data breach involving the University of Warwick explains the legal justifications behind making a claim. We explain how your personal data could be affected in a breach, and what you can do about it. In the sections below, you will find information on how universities in the UK have been affected by breaches in security.

We explain your right to seek compensation when personal information is compromised, and we provide a rough idea of potential compensation payouts. We also provide advice on how specialist No Win No Fee solicitors from our panel could represent you.

Data Breach Time Limits

There are time limits applied to making a claim for a data breach. You would have 6 years starting from when you were made aware of a data breach to claim compensation. That said, if your human rights have been affected, you only have one year to find a claim.

As such, it’s recommended you seek legal advice as soon as you can if you are thinking about starting a claim. A member of the Legal Expert team can offer essential free legal advice on which time limit applies to your case.

To discuss a data breach claim with an advisor from our team, please get in touch online or by phone today. Any questions you have can be answered and if you are ready to begin a claim, a member of our team will provide information on how best to proceed.

What Are Breaches Of Data Protection At Warwick University?

A data breach can be an internal or external incident where personal info is accessed without authorisation. The data could be:

  • Copied
  • Altered/modified
  • Deleted
  • Stolen

If the breach is a cyber-attack or a physical attack, it could involve the following:

  • Phishing emails
  • Man-in-the-Middle attacks
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Stolen devices/computers
  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities
  • Physical files left in unsecured places

Cybercriminals find vulnerabilities in cybersecurity whether this is in a university’s security or that of a third-party service provider, such as Blackbaud, which we’ll examine below. In this instance, the service provider and not the university was responsible for the breach of their security systems.

Although a breach may not have serious consequences, it could result in the following:

  • Identity theft
  • Reselling data to other cybercriminals
  • Damage to your credit rating
  • Harm to your mental health, such as suffering from stress, anxiety or depression

Consequences can be devastating when your sensitive data is compromised. If hackers get hold of your name, address, passport number, contact details as well as bank information, you could suffer mental anguish as well as financial losses.

To find out how much data breach compensation you could receive in a successful claim, please contact a member of the Legal Expert team today.

How The GDPR Applies To University Data

All universities in the UK must abide by data protection law. The end goal of this is to reduce the risk of a data breach occurring. The breach could be malicious or accidental, but either way, organisations must follow the 7 key principles of the GDPR. These are:

  • Fairness, transparency, and lawfulness – in short, a university must have good reason to hold personal data and be transparent as to how the data is used
  • Purpose limitation – data controllers must have a valid reason to collect and use data
  • Data minimisation – a university must only hold the minimum data required
  • Accuracy – data needs to be accurate
  • Storage limitation – data must only be kept for as long as necessary
  • Integrity and confidentiality – data controllers and processors have a duty to keep data secure
  • Accountability – organisations which collect data must be GDPR compliant

When an organisation is non-compliant with the law, you may have grounds to sue if you’re able to establish with proof that personal data belonging to you has been compromised and you’ve suffered either mental or financial damage as a result.

As well as seeking compensation, you also have the ability to request the following:

  • A copy of the personal data stored – Right of Access
  • Delete all the data held – Right to Erasure
  • An explanation on how personal data on you is being used – Right to Information
  • Stop data being used in a certain way – Right to Restriction of Processing
  • To correct data held – Right to Rectification
  • Your data can be sent to you – Right to Portability
  • Object on how data is used – Right to Object
  • Prevent automated business processes – Right to Avoid Automated Decision-making

To learn more about your rights when it comes to protecting your personal data, please get in touch.

What Are Examples Of Breaches In Data Protection At Universities?

There have been a number of data breaches involving higher education institutions over recent times. A survey carried out by a security firm Redscan found that 54% of universities in the UK reported a data breach in a 12 month period.

Universities are often the target of an attack because many of the facilities hold sensitive research material.

An example of a serious data breach that affected numerous UK universities happened in 2020 when a cloud service provider was the target of a ransomware attack. The company, Blackbaud, saw its databases unlawfully accessed by hackers who held the company to ransom in order to regain access to them. On these databases was the personal information of a number of alumni and people affiliated with various UK universities.

Blackbaud decided to pay the ransom. However, there is no guarantee that the criminals deleted the copies of the data that they took.

The universities affected by the breach include:

If you’ve suffered damage to your mental health or finances due to the Blackbaud breach, you may be entitled to compensation if you are able to prove the harm caused.

A data breach claim would likely be made against Blackbaud as opposed to the universities themselves, but it’s best to get legal advice first, so why not get in touch with us today?


What about Accidental Data Breaches?

Data breaches could also occur when physical files are accessed because they are not securely locked away. In short, a data breach does not always involve cybersecurity.

An example of an accidental data breach occurred at the University of East Anglia. The breach happened when a member of staff sent 300 recipients a spreadsheet by mistake. Personal information was contained in the spreadsheet which included student data relating to health issues and bereavements.

The university’s insurance provider had to pay out a sum of over £140,000 in compensation for the breach.

To find out if you have grounds to start a data breach claim against the University of Warwick, please contact a member from our team today.


Statistics On Breaches In Data Protection In Higher Education

Redscan is the internet security company that sent out a Freedom of Information Request to universities in the UK. Of the 86 that responded, over half of them confirmed that they’d suffered a data breach in the preceding 12 months.

The Redscan report also found the following:

  • Awareness training was not provided to 46% of university staff over a period of 12 months
  • Universities spend on average £7,529 a year educating staff on cybersecurity
  • 51% of UK universities proactively provide their students with training awareness, however, 37% provided the needed resources to students when requested

When a data breach is reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office, an investigation is often launched, if the breach is serious enough. If the ICO finds that a university is not GDPR compliant, they have the power to issue a heavy fine. This could be as high as £17.5 million or 4% of turnover (global) whichever is the higher.

The University of Greenwich received a data breach fine of £120,000 for non-compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 before the Data Protection Act 2018 came into effect. The incident involved a microsite set up for a training conference. This site held the personal data of thousands of people. The site was never securely shut down which allowed cybercriminals to take advantage of its vulnerabilities.

To find out if you have grounds to sue for data breach compensation, please speak to a member of the Legal Expert team today on the freephone number viewable above.

Criminal Breaches In Cyber Security

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) continuously provides details on the number of data security incidents they receive. In their latest report covering the period from 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2021, they’d received a total of 2,425 data breach notifications.

The top 3 sectors in which breaches occurred were:

  1. Health – 420 breaches
  2. Education – 342 breaches
  3. Finance – 255 breaches

Cyber-attacks and Universities

Universities should install the latest cybersecurity to reduce the risk of data breaches happening. Cybercriminals have more sophisticated tools these days and as such, a university’s security must be tested on a regular basis.

The sort of cyber-crimes, as well as cyber attacks on universities, include the following:

  • Phishing emails are dangerous and they are the most common form of cyber-attack. Universities in the UK receive thousands of phishing emails annually
  • Theft of information
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Distribution Denial of Service attacks (DDoS)

If you have any questions about proving liability in a data breach claim, please get in touch with a member of our team. An experienced adviser will provide free legal advice about whether or not you have grounds to arrange a data breach claim against the University of Warwick.

What Victims Affected By A Data Breach Could Receive Compensated For

In appropriate circumstances, you’re entitled to seek data breach compensation under the General Data Breach Protection Regulation (GDPR). This EU legislation was enacted into law in the UK when the Data Protection Act 2018 came into effect.

There are two forms of damage that you can see compensation for—financial (also known as material damage) or harm to your mental health (otherwise known as non-material damage).

In the past, it was necessary to have suffered financial damage to claim compensation for mental harm. However, the law changed with the case of Vidal-Hall v Google [2015]. Now it’s possible to seek compensation for either form of harm.

As such, you could claim the following in a successful data breach claim against the University of Warwick:

  • Emotional harm – such as post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, anxiety or depression
  • Financial losses – identity theft, money taken from your bank accounts, damage to your credit rating

An experienced adviser will answer any questions you have about the compensation you may be entitled to. As such, please get in touch with a member of the Legal Expert team today to benefit from free legal advice.

Warwick University Data Breach Compensation Calculator

As a result of the Vidal-Hall case, when you make a data breach claim against the University of Warwick, the following would be taken into consideration:

  • The severity of the data breach and how it negatively impacted your mental health and well-being

The Court of Appeal in Vidal-Hall advised lawyers to turn to personal injury law for guidance on valuing the mental damage inflicted by a data breach. It’s, therefore, possible to use a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to gain an insight into how much compensation you may be entitled to.

Below, you can find details of potential figures.

Type of psychological harm/injurySeverityDetailsAmount awarded in general damages based on Judicial College Guidelines
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)SevereCompensation payout would reflect the negative impact a data breach has on a claimant and the severity of PTSD£56,180 - £94,470
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Moderate - severeClaimant experiences PTSD but symptoms are not as serious as above. The compensation payout reflects how a claimant is impacted by a breach£21,730 - £56,180
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)ModerateA claimant experiences moderate PTSD symptoms but the prognosis is positive£7,680 - £21,730
Psychiatric injury/harmSevereA claimant experiences severe symptoms of psychiatric harm. Their ability to lead a normal life and to work is negatively impacted £51,460 - £108,620
Psychiatric injury/harmModerate - severeA claimant experiences similar symptoms to those above however the prognosis is better. The ability to work and lead a normal life is seen to improve£17,900 - £51,460
Psychiatric injury/harmModerateA claimant experiences similar symptoms to above but the prognosis is better. That said, work-related stress could be a problem£5,500 - £17,900
Psychiatric injury/harmLess severeThe compensation payout reflects how a claimant's life and well-being have been negatively impacted by a breachUp to £5,500

If you are unsure as to how much your own data breach claim might be worth, please get in touch with an advisor from our team. They will provide free legal advice to determine whether you have grounds to sue for compensation.

What Steps Should You Take If Impacted By Data Security Breaches?

If you want more information on making a data breach claim against the University of Warwick, one of our advisers can answer any questions you have. You are not obliged to contact a solicitor local to you when you pursue a claim.

The best option is to check out our reviews to see how Legal Expert has successfully helped claimants in the past. When we have assessed your claim and found you have good reason to sue for compensation, we will introduce you to a solicitor from our panel of lawyers.

To find out if a solicitor from our panel will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, please get in touch today.

No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breach Against The University Of Warwick

Once we have determined you have strong reason to sue for compensation, a solicitor from our panel of lawyers would offer you No Win No Fee terms.

When you sign and return the Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal title of a No Win No Fee agreement) to the solicitor, they can immediately begin their investigations, and the solicitor can do so without asking you to pay an upfront fee. There are no ongoing fees to pay as your data breach claim progresses either. If you lose your case, you do not have to pay your solicitor any fees. 

You only pay your No Win No Fee solicitor when you receive data breach compensation. This payment, which covers your solicitor’s costs, forms a small percentage (called a success fee) of the compensation payout, with the balance being sent to you. The amount deducted is capped by law.

To find out if you can make a No Win No Fee data breach claim against the University of Warwick, please get in touch on the freephone number below.

Speaking To An Expert

To learn more about pursuing a data breach claim against the University of Warwick, please contact a member of our team. All claimants who contact us receive a free, no-obligation consultation. An adviser will assess whether you have grounds to sue for compensation.

You can get in touch with us in any of the following ways:

Our freephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and an adviser is here to offer free legal advice. Your initial, consultation is free of charge, and you are under no obligation to pursue a claim if you do not want to.

Related Guides

Please check out our other guides by clicking on the links below:

Here are some links to external websites that offer useful data breach advice and information:

Your right to seek compensation under the GDPR:

Your right to compensation under the GDPR

The 7 key principles of GDPR

How The Seven Principles Of GDPR Work

Thank you for reading our guide to making a data breach claim against the University of Warwick. We hope you found the contents of this guide useful if you are considering a data breach claim against Warwick University, or a similar kind of claim against another university (such as an Oxford Brookes data breach claim, for example).

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