If you are healthy and aged 18 to 75, you might be eligible to take part in a paid medical trial with Hammersmith Medicines Research (HMR). And many students have done this over the years. But taking part in a paid student medical trial has proven to be dangerous for some volunteers – not because the studies were not safe and well designed – but because the data security systems at HMR may not have been up to scratch.
In March 2020, a hacker group targeted HMR and managed to get access to some extremely sensitive and confidential private data. The hackers demanded money in return for not making these details public, but HMR refused to pay the ransom and many of the stolen records were published online.
Initially, HMR said the hack affected 2,300 former volunteer patients, but our early investigations indicate that thousands more people could be involved. And victims of this breach might be eligible for compensation.
What data was stolen in the student medical trial data breach?
The information accessed by the hackers included volunteer:
- Dates of birth
- Identity documents (scanned passport, National Insurance card, driving licence and/or visa documents, and any photographs taken at the screening visit)
- Health questionnaires
- Consent forms
- GP information
- Some test results (including, in a few cases only, positive tests for HIV, hepatitis, and drugs of abuse).
The hackers may also have accessed bank details. The stolen files are likely to date back 20 years, so, even if you are not a student now, if you have previously taken part in a student medical trial with HMR, you could be at risk.
Find out if hackers accessed your details
If you have previously volunteered for a paid student medical trial via www.londontrials.com your records could have been stolen. HMR has already emailed some former volunteers to let them know that their details were compromised. If you have previously volunteered for a student medical trial with HMR, but you have not received this email, it is worth checking your spam folder.
However, even if you have not been contacted, you could still be at risk.
To find out if your information was exposed in this breach, contact HMR at DataProtection@hmrlondon.com. You have a legal right to ask for this information and HMR cannot refuse this request.
Victims of the data breach must protect themselves
Cybercriminals can do extensive damage with the information stolen in this breach, so victims must be extra vigilant.
There is a real danger that anyone exposed in the student medical trial data breach could see criminals use their stolen identity documents to commit fraud (such as taking out a loan in their name). Victims might also experience phishing. Stolen personal information may also be put up for sale on the dark web. That is why it is worth finding out if you were involved.
Upholding your data privacy rights
If you have been affected by this hack, register with Keller Lenkner UK to find out how we can help you claim compensation. There are no costs to register and no obligation to proceed.