The hack was said to have occurred nearly a year before it was disclosed, so it either went undetected, which is common where there is inadequate security monitoring in place, or the business knew about the breach but choose not to disclose it to their impacted customers.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined the Dixons Carphone £400,000 for a data in 2015 breach, however, Currys PC World stated the incidents were not connected.
The business stressed it has now improved its security measures including enhanced controls, monitoring, and testing to safeguard customer information, and "trebling their investment in cybersecurity". Unfortunately, no details have been disclosed explaining how the hackers were able to access such large quantities of personal data. The company "security improvement" statement suggests their IT security was rather underfunded and not at a sufficient standard to adequately secure their business operations and customer data.
The ICO (statement) and the NCSC (statement) both have released statements in June about the breach. So we'll see what the ICO makes of it, but I think the business is likely to be fined again, although not the potentially massive GDPR penalties, as this data breach occurred before the GDPR came into force in May.
Customer statement by Currys PC World to their customers today
We promptly launched an investigation. Since then we have been putting further security measures in place to safeguard customer information, increased our investment in cyber security and added additional controls. In all of this we have been working intensively with leading cyber security experts.
Our investigation, which is now nearing completion, has identified that approximately 10 million records containing personal data may have been accessed in 2017. This unauthorised access to data may include personal information such as name, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
While there is now evidence that some of this data may have left our systems, these records do not contain payment card or bank account details and we have no confirmed instances of customers falling victim to fraud as a result. We are continuing to keep the relevant authorities updated.
As a precaution, we are letting our customers know to apologise and advise them of protective steps to take to minimise the risk of fraud. These include:
If you receive an unsolicited email, letter, text or phone call asking for personal information, never reveal any full passwords, login details or account numbers until you are certain of the identity of the person making the request. Please do not click on any links you do not recognise.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, on 0300 123 2040*.
We also recommend that people are vigilant against any suspicious activity on their bank accounts and contact their financial provider if they have concerns.
You can find more information here
We take the security of your data extremely seriously and have previously announced that we have taken action to close off this access and have no evidence it is continuing. Nevertheless, we felt it was important to let customers know as soon as possible.
We continue to make improvements and investments to our security systems and we’ve been working round the clock to put this right. We’re extremely sorry about what has happened – we’ve fallen short here. We want to reassure you that we are fully committed to protecting your data so that you can be confident that it is safe with us.