Specialist legal experts contacted by former workers at a Blackburn business hit by a major cyber attack say criminals are getting increasinly sophisticated in their bid to steal data.
Data breach law firm Hayes Connor has revealed worried ex-staff at wallpaper company Graham & Brown have been in contact after facing the "nightmare scenario" that criminals could gain access to their bank accounts.
The information accessed by cybercriminals includes names, addresses, national insurance numbers, bank account details, medical information and passport numbers of those working for the company.
Access was gained via a ransomware attack, in which a user unwittingly installs compromised software, giving criminals access to their systems. The perpetrators typically request a ransom is paid to avoid harm being done.
The data was accessed in February although the breach did not come to light straight away. When the criminals reached out, Graham & Brown contacted the police, the Information Commissioner's Office and broke the news to all employees.
Andrew Graham, the company's chief executive, said that no ransom was paid and the critical business systems remained unworkable for two weeks, and required the help of specialist recovery experts.
While none of the employee data has yet been found on the dark web, where it can be bought and sold to individuals looking to commit identity fraud, the company admits that the criminals still threaten that this may happen if demands are not met.
Richard Forrest, legal director from Hayes Connor, said: "This is a significant and concerning cyber-attack. The fact that the cybercriminals claim to have accessed sensitive data, including bank accounts and medical records, is a nightmare scenario. The letter from Graham & Brown came out of the blue, and current and former employees of the business are understandably stressed and worried about what this means for them.
“Although Graham & Brown outlines the security steps it has taken since the attack in its letter, questions remain about why such a significant attack happened in the first place.”
Graham & Brown was founded in 1946 and today sells its wallcoverings around the world.
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