Virgin Media customers urged to join data breach action

BT Virgin spat

A group calling itself Data Leak Lawyers is calling on Virgin Media customers affected by the firm’s data breach – revealed earlier this month – to join a legal action even if they have not suffered any financial loss or distress.

A notice on the law firm’s website states: “If you’ve been notified by Virgin Media that your data was exposed during the breach incident, then you could be entitled to claim thousands of pounds in compensation from Virgin Media with our no win, no representation.”

Having sent out an initial email to the 900,000 customers whose data was compromised, it has all gone quiet over at Virgin Media.

Virgin has insisted that only name, home and email address and phone numbers, technical and product information, and in some cases date of birth had been compromised.

However, the firm which uncovered the issue said that, as well as contact details, it had found requests to block or unblock various pornographic, gore related and gambling websites, corresponding to full names and addresses and IMEI numbers associated with stolen phones.

It also discovered subscriptions to the different aspects of Virgin Media services, including premium components; the device type owned by the user, where relevant; the “referrer” header taken users’ browser, containing details on the previous website that the user visited before accessing Virgin Media; and form submissions by users from their website.

Virgin continues to play down the severity of the breach.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media has made the bizarre move of bringing back over 500 contact centre jobs to Britain to help counter coronavirus lockdowns in India and the Philippines, even though UK workers are also in isolation.

Quite how effective this recruitment drive will be is anyone’s guess given that UK call centre staff are already in short supply. However, Virgin Media insists it will aim to hire new workers through remote job interviews, using video conferencing technology.

They will then be posted to existing call centres in Teesside, Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham, which have introduced new measures to deal with Covid-19, including social distancing.

Virgin Media customer director Abby Thomas said: “The company has introduced a number of measures to ensure its people remain as safe as possible while continuing to help answer customer calls and queries. This includes providing remote working capabilities, where possible, and ensuring strict social distancing and hygiene measures are in place for sites that need to remain open.”

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