Shares in Dixons Carphone are -3.1% after a data breach that will do little to boost its reputation. No evidence of fraud has been identified but that doesn’t make up for the fact that client data was at risk. 5.9m payment cards in its Currys PC World and Dixons Travel processing systems to be precise, 5.8m of which may well have been protected by chip & pin (no transaction enabling details held on record) but the remaining 100K non-EU issued cards were not, and thus very much at risk.
More importantly perhaps, and awful timing with GDPR not even a month old, is the revelation that 1.2m records including names, addresses and emails have also been accessed. Again, no sign the info left Dixons’ systems but, at the end of the day, it was left at risk.
In this data-fuelled world where we’re happy to entrust it to companies (and the ether) it has become a valuable commodity, as much for targeted advertising as for fraudsters. In which case we should be able to assume it is held securely. Very securely. After all, isn’t that what we opted for in that May deluge of emails from every company we ever dealt with, and what we sign along the dotted line for each time we enter into a new contract.
Interestingly, TalkTalk shares are +4.1%, perhaps amid a preference for a rival telco provider which has already learnt its lesson. That said, remember that TALK’s share price fell very heavily in late 2015 after it finally revealed a hack and struggled with fallout. But perhaps it’s Dixons which learnt the lesson, taking note of how not to deal with things, its shares down only 3% after getting the bad news out early doors.
On the flip side, in this new era of big data, are we simply resigned to the fact that breaches are more commonplace and may happen, and just hope for the best.