Virgin Media experiences cybersecurity “data incident”
Virgin Media acknowledges that it has made a mistake in not securing its data after leaving over 900,000 people's data exposed.
It was announced today that Virgin Media is responsible for exposing over 900,000 people’s data by having it unsecured and accessible.
Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media said: “We recently became aware that one of our marketing databases was incorrectly configured which allowed unauthorised access. We immediately solved the issue by shutting down access to this database, which contained some contact details of approximately 900,000 people, including fixed line customers representing approximately 15% of that customer base. Protecting our customers’ data is a top priority and we sincerely apologise.
“The database did not include any passwords or financial details, such as credit card information or bank account numbers, but did contain limited contact information such as names, home and email addresses and phone numbers. Based upon our investigation, Virgin Media does believe that the database was accessed on at least one occasion but we do not know the extent of the access or if any information was actually used."
Schüler confirms that Virgin are now contacting the individuals affected. He goes on to urge Virgin’s customer’s to be aware when clicking on suspicious links, or providing sensitive data to unverified parties. He concludes: “We have kept the Information Commissioner’s Office fully updated since we became aware of this incident.”
Jonathan Compton, partner at city law firm DMH Stallard, said: "It is important to note that this was not a case of a secure database being hacked. No, this was an “error by a member of staff not following correct procedures.” He goes on to share that the company can expect to incur major fines. “The maximum under the 1998 Act for data transgressions during the period that that Act was in force was £500,000. Under the new Act, the penalties rise to Euro 20m or 4% of global turnover, whichever is the greater.”
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GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”