In March 2020, hacker group Maze targeted Hammersmith Medicines Research (HMR). The cyberattack resulted in criminals gaining access to sensitive and confidential patient data. In total, the hackers accessed the personal and medical details of more than 2,300 former volunteers and published many of these online.
Were you affected by the Hammersmith Medicines Research data breach?
The published records were from some volunteers with surnames beginning with D, G, I or J. However, HMR admits that criminals might still have your data, even if Maze did not publish them online. In a letter to those affected, HMR said:
“On Saturday 14 March 2020, HMR was subjected to a targeted and sophisticated attack by cyber criminals. We took immediate action to stop the attack, but not before the attackers had stolen copies of some of our files. A criminal group called Maze has claimed responsibility. We reported the crime to both the Police and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and are working with them.
“We’re sorry to report that, during 21–23 March 2020, the criminals published on their website records from some of our volunteers’ screening visits. The website is not visible on the public web, and those records have since been taken down. The records were from some of our volunteers with surnames beginning with D, G, I or J. The records were scanned copies of documents and results we collected at screening, including name, date of birth, identity documents (scanned passport, National Insurance card, driving licence and/or visa documents, and the photograph we took at the screening visit), plus health questionnaires, consent forms, information from GPs, and some test results (including, in a few cases only, positive tests for HIV, hepatitis, and drugs of abuse).
“Even if your records weren’t among those that were published, the criminals might have stolen copies of them.
You might be at risk, even if you have not received an email from HMR
At Keller Lenkner UK, we are representing several clients who are seeking compensation from HMR for the breach of their private information. During our investigations, it is has become clear that some of those affected by this hack never received this letter from HMR. This is likely because their email provider redirected it to their spam folders, or because they have since changed their email address (the files date back 8 to 20 years).So, if you are a former volunteer of HMR, your data could be in the hands of cybercriminals, even if you are not aware that your data was compromised. We also believe that the hackers may also have had access to bank details.
If you are concerned that your details may have been breached, but you have not received this email, you should check with HMR at DataProtection@hmrlondon.com.
Stay safe after the Hammersmith Medicines Research cyberattack
In its letter, HMR also warned former volunteers to be vigilant. It said:
“There’s a risk that your identity documents could be used by criminals to commit fraud (such as taking out a loan in your name), so we recommend that you inform your bank about the attack on HMR, ask their advice, and look out for suspicious activity in your account. Many of the ID documents we have on file have expired, but if you believe you provided to HMR IDs that are still valid, report these documents as being compromised to the organisation that issued them.
“Consider contacting CIFAS (the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) to apply for protective registration. Once you’ve registered, you should be aware that CIFAS members will do extra checks to see when anyone, including you, applies for a financial service, such as a loan, using your address.”
HMR also directed concerned former volunteers to Action Fraud (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or Police Scotland (as Action Fraud do not deal with people who live in Scotland), Bank Safe Online and the Financial Ombudsman Service. And it warned victims to
“ Be aware that any suspicious calls or emails claiming to be from HMR might not be genuine, particularly emails asking you to click on a link (consider searching for it in your browser).”
Make a claim with Keller Lenkner UK
Poor security processes at HMR likely helped the criminals to access the data and put former patients at risk. In response, Keller Lenkner UK is helping multiple clients to take action against HMR – and we have already successfully concluded many of these claims. If you have been affected by this hack, register with us to find out how we can help.