The North American arm of automotive giant Nissan has recently acknowledged that the personal information of almost 18,000 customers was exposed in a data breach last year. The breach was not suffered by Nissan directly, but rather by a third-party vendor the company uses for some of its software requirements.
This incident demonstrates just how vulnerable your data can be in a world of increasing digital interconnectedness. When you share your data with a company, you need to be confident that not only will they protect it, but that any third parties they work with will do the same. Unfortunately, this cannot always be guaranteed.
What was the Nissan data breach?
The Nissan North America data breach was revealed on 16th January 2023, when the company reported the incident to the Office of the Maine Attorney General. The breach itself took place in June 2022.
In its report on the breach, Nissan disclosed that the incident was related to customer data it had sent to one of its third-party software development vendors. The data had been shared with the vendor to facilitate the testing of new software options. However, the database in which the information was stored was poorly configured. As a result, it was exposed to unauthorised access.
Nissan confirmed that, while the database was secured immediately after they learned of the incident, an unauthorised person had been able to access the data while it was exposed.
What data was exposed in the breach?
According to a report on the tech news website TechRadar, Nissan’s incident report stated that 17,998 customers had their personal information exposed in the breach. This included customers’ full names, dates of birth, and their Nissan finance account numbers.
While Nissan has claimed that this information has yet to be used for any illegal activities as far as they can tell, this will likely be small comfort to those affected. The consequences of having this kind of personal data exposed to unauthorised access can be severe.
The growing risk of data breaches
This incident shows just how much risk we face when it comes to protecting our personal data. Indeed, Nissan themselves suffered a similar incident in January 2021, with 20GB of data being leaked due to database security failings.
While this recent incident only affected Nissan’s North American customers, the UK automotive industry has seen similar issues. As we have discussed recently, the British car retailer Arnold Clark suffered a significant data breach at the hands of cyber-criminals in December 2022.
With ever-greater amounts of our personal data being stored and processed by many different companies, as well as their third-party service providers, data breaches are an increasing concern. And with ransomware groups continuing to find ways to steal data, it can sometimes feel like losing control of your data is an inevitability.
The consequences of a data breach
It’s important to remember that organisations in the UK must follow strict regulations when it comes to protecting against data breaches. The Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) both stipulate the various steps that organisations must take to keep any data they hold safe and secure.
If organisations fail to adhere to these regulations, the consequences for those affected can be severe. A data breach can lead to a range of damaging outcomes, including:
- Financial losses
- Identity theft
- Reputational damage
However, there are steps you can take if you have experienced any of these outcomes as the result of a data breach. This includes seeking compensation from the organisation responsible.
HNK Solicitors can support your data breach claim
Here at HNK Solicitors, we have supported a wide range of clients to secure compensation following a data breach. We have a dedicated team of data breach solicitors who have extensive, specialist knowledge of the rules and regulations related to data protection. They can help to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your data breach claim.
Our team offers free consultations, so if you are a data breach victim considering a compensation claim, get in touch today to find out how we can help you. If we do believe you are owed compensation, we can offer to take up your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.