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LONDONBritish Airways is facing the largest group claim over a data breach in UK legal history following a 2018 incident that exposed details of more than 400,000 of its customers.

More than 16,000 customers have joined the case ahead of a March deadline to sign up for the action, according to PGMBM, the lead solicitors in the group litigation case. The update comes after BA indicated it was prepared to settle claims in a letter filed with the court last week and seen by the Financial Times.

The breach exposed the personal and financial data of more than 400,000 customers, and led to a £20m fine from the UK’s data protection regulator in October, down from an initial fine of £183m.

The lawyers said victims could each be compensated up to £2,000, based on previous court rulings, leaving BA facing a total bill of more than £800m if every victim came forward.

“We continue to vigorously defend the litigation in respect of the claims brought arising out of the 2018 cyber attack,” BA said.

“We do not recognize the damages figures put forward, and they have not appeared in the claims,” it added.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said the attacker potentially accessed sensitive information of BA customers, including names, addresses, payment card numbers, and CVV codes. It pointed to measures the airline could have taken to reduce the risk, such as the testing of its cyber-defenses. Still, it noted that BA had “considerably” improved its cybersecurity since. Tom Goodhead, a partner at PGMBM, said BA had presided over a “monumental failure”.

“We trust companies like British Airways with our personal information and they have a duty to all of their customers and the public at large to take every possible step to keep it safe.”

The BA case is the first group lawsuit of its kind to be brought under sweeping data protection rules known as GDPR introduced in 2018.

It is also the largest “opt-in” claim in relation to a UK data breach.
Via (Financial Times)

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