Most of us have a reasonable fear of getting our data stolen, so we take reasonable measures to protect our data. We do not use public computers or public wireless networks for tasks that require us to enter credit card information and other sensitive data, and we choose passwords and security questions that are difficult for other people to guess. Meanwhile, we freely give out our payment information and other identifying details to many different parties with the assumption that they will keep it safe.
For example, your car insurance company automatically charges your debit card every month; none of its employees have ever stolen your credit card number, and it has never crossed your mind that they would do so. Trust between a vendor and its customers is essential to any business relationship. Anyone can be a victim of a cyberattack, although caution offers effective protection against data theft.
As harmful as a data breach of an individual’s devices or email account can be to the victim, the financial losses are exponentially greater if the victim of the data breach is the computer network of a large corporation or even a sizable local business. Hundreds or thousands of people can lose large sums of money due to identity theft or theft of credit card information. The legal consequences of a corporate data breach are messy, to say the least. The Philadelphia data breach lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you if you or your company lost money due to a data breach.
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is when an unauthorized party gains access to the data contained in a device, email account, or entire computer network and steals information for the breaching party’s own financial gain. Most data breaches occur when a hacker steals or guesses the login credentials to a company’s computer network; they can do this by gaining access to a single employee’s login information because once they access the network, everything is connected. Phishing scams, in which hackers send fake emails that look like they are coming from within the employer’s network, asking the employees to verify login information, are a common method of breaching companies’ computer networks. Malware attacks that breach the cybersecurity protections of corporate computer networks are another way that data breaches can occur.
Why are Data Breaches Disastrous for Consumers and Businesses
What do hackers find after they have breached a company’s computer network? They find all kinds of information that is supposed to be kept private. For example, if the company uses autopay to provide subscription services to its customers, it will find the numbers of the credit and debit cards and bank accounts that the customers have left on file. The data that hackers find on the devices of the human resources department is even more damaging. These computers may store the numbers of the bank accounts in which employees receive their paychecks through direct deposit. They might also contain the Social Security numbers of the employees, which they had to provide to the employers for tax purposes. There might even be scanned copies of passports and driver’s licenses that employees used to verify their identities during the onboarding process.
One of the principles of liability law is that individuals and businesses are legally responsible for damage caused by property they own. This means that companies have a legal duty to take reasonable cybersecurity measures to protect the data on their networks and devices from data breaches. Customers and employees who suffer financial losses as a result of their data being stolen in a data breach have the right to sue the company whose networks were breached for damages. Several class action lawsuits have resulted from data breaches at large companies, in which numerous customers and employees suffered financial losses due to identity theft. In a famous data breach class action lawsuit, victims lost their data due to a malware attack on the company’s devices; Microsoft had issued a patch several weeks earlier to protect against this very malware, but the company had failed to implement it.
How to Prevent Data Breaches
Most corporate data breaches are preventable. The best protection against data breaches is a robust cybersecurity strategy. Your company is vulnerable to data breaches if you have been using the same cybersecurity measures for years; as hackers continue to find new ways to breach companies’ computer networks, companies must always stay ahead of them and find new ways to protect their data. Large companies should hire a cybersecurity team that works full-time on detecting vulnerabilities in the company’s computer network and repairing them. Even if your company does not have the budget to hire cybersecurity personnel full-time, you should at least work with cybersecurity firms on a consulting basis. Do not let more than a year go by without having a cybersecurity firm diagnose and repair vulnerabilities in your company’s network.
Other ways to protect against data breaches are to store sensitive data through cloud-based software instead of on the physical hard drives of devices. Provide several layers of protection against unauthorized logins. You can do this by requiring employees to change their login passwords every three months and by requiring two-factor authentication for logins.
How a Data Breach Lawyer Can Help You
After a data breach, police may or may not find out who caused the breach in order to file criminal charges against the hackers; the court can order people convicted of financial crimes to pay restitution to the victims that they caused to suffer financial losses. Even if this does not happen, the victims have the right to sue the company that suffered the breach. Data breach lawyers can represent companies that got their networks breached and employees and customers who suffered identity theft because of the breach.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Data Breach Claims
The Philadelphia employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you recover compensation for your financial losses resulting from a data breach. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to set up a consultation.