Data breaches within the legal sector uncover persistent compliance issues

The legal sector has ranked sixth among industries that have struggled with data breaches in 2023, calling for greater awareness of basic data handling.

Since 2019 the ICO has been tracking and recording data leaks and security breaches within UK industries. UK based data breach solicitors Hayes Connor have streamlined the data to highlight which sectors experienced the most data infiltrations last year.

Overall the top ten offenders and percentage of total incidents each sector was responsible for included; Health – which stood at number one and has been responsible for 17% of data breaches, Education and childcare, Finance, Local Government, Retail and Manufacture, Law, Charity, Land services, Transport and Leisure and Online tech including telecoms.

Within the legal sector, basic personal identifiable  information was breached 85.80% of the time, with economic and financial data also significantly compromised. A total of 80 of the legal sector breaches last year involved children’s data, a concerning revelation considering the sensitivity of such information.

Analysis from Hayes Connor suggests that data emailed to wrong recipients and phishing as the top two reasons for a breach in this industry, highlighting critical areas for immediate action in data handling training.

Additionally, the findings expose a ‘troubling trend’; 40.99% of legal sector breaches were reported past the 72-hour deadline mandated by GDPR, risking substantial fines.

Richard Forrest, Legal Director at Hayes Connor, says:Despite regulatory advancements, and the introduction of stricter compliance mechanisms, the rate of data breaches remains a serious concern. The recent ICO trends portray a continuous need for vigilance and updated compliance strategies from businesses, especially in how they manage and protect personal data against emerging cyber threats and human error.”

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