British Airways is to be fined more than £183m by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after hackers stole the personal data of half a million of the airline’s customers.
The ICO said the incident took place after users of British Airways’ website were diverted to a fraudulent site. Through this false site, details of around 500,000 customers were harvested by the attackers, the ICO said.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “People’s personal data is just that – personal. When an organisation fails to protect it from loss, damage or theft, it is more than an inconvenience.
“That’s why the law is clear – when you are entrusted with personal data, you must look after it. Those that don’t will face scrutiny from my office to check they have taken appropriate steps to protect fundamental privacy rights.”
The airline, owned by IAG, says it was “surprised and disappointed” by the penalty from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
At the time, British Airways said hackers had carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on its website.
The ICO said it was the biggest penalty it had ever handed out and the first to be made public under new rules.
The incident was first disclosed on 6 September 2018 and BA had initially said approximately 380,000 transactions were affected, but the stolen data did not include travel or passport details.