Travel insurer Staysure warns customers over IT hack

computer Some 93 000 Staysure travel insurance customers may be affected by a data breach

The travel insurer Staysure has warned customers that some of their sensitive bank card details may have been stolen after its IT security was breached.

Some 93,000 people who bought policies prior to May 2012 may be at risk, it said.

Staysure said it believed hackers may have stolen the three digit Card Verification Value (CVV) numbers of some policy holders.

It has apologised to customers, urging them to check their accounts.

'Used fraudulently'

In a letter written to customers, the company said it had become aware of the breach on 14 November.

It said: "While the payment card number you provided was encrypted, some of the other personal data that you provided to us, including the 3 digit CVV number on the back of the card, may have been accessed.

"Although you will understand that this cannot be used without the payment card number, there is still a risk that by using our records combined with data obtained from elsewhere, it may be possible for your card to be used fraudulently."

Start Quote

We did act as fast as we could”

End Quote Ryan Howsam Chief Executive, Staysure

One customer, Francine Collison from London, told the BBC she had received a letter on 19 December from Staysure warning her of the breach, which it said it believed had happened at the end of October.

Ms Collison said she was angry about the way her details had been kept.

"[The firm's explanation] suggests that the CVV number had been stored and had not been encrypted. That's a security code and I'm astonished that they kept it and in an unencrypted form."

She added: "I can't understand why I wasn't informed earlier. They'd [Staysure] clearly been in contact with the Financial Conduct Authority, the Information Commissioner and the police, and it seems to me as a victim I was the last person to find out about it."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Financial Fraud Action UK, representing the bank card industry, said: "The holding and storage of the three-digit Card Verification Code data (also known as the Card Security Code) by merchants and payment intermediaries is expressly prohibited under card schemes rules."

Ryan Howsam, chief executive of Staysure, apologised to customers and said those affected were being offered a free subscription to a credit agency data monitoring service.

He said: "We did act as fast as we could. We locked down our systems. We deleted all of the card data from our live systems and brought in forensic IT specialists."

Mr Howsam also insisted customers' CVV numbers were no longer kept by the firm.

"These were legacy systems. We initially stored [them] to help customers with their renewal process."

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it was making enquiries into the incident.

It said the law did not require firms to notify customers following a breach.

Sir Alan Beith, MP for Berwick on Tweed and chair of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee which monitors the ICO, said companies needed to react quickly to let people know when security breaches took place.

"I think customers are entitled to be informed as soon as a company knows and that should be much clearer. This raises questions which I'd like to pursue with the Information Commissioner."

Money Box is broadcast on Saturdays at 12:00 BST on BBC Radio 4 and repeated on Sundays at 21:00 BST. You can listen again via the BBC iPlayer or by downloading Money Box podcast.

Have you been affected by the Staysure security breach? Let us know your views

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    COGNAC SALES 11:04:
    COGNAC

    Sales of cognac fell in the past year after a drop in sales to China, according to France's trade body the National Interprofessional Bureau of Cognac. An anti-corruption purge in China reduced consumption of luxury goods by officials. Sales for the year to August fell 10.2% by value.

     
  2.  
    MORTGAGES 10:51:

    More from the Council of Mortgage Lenders on those strong lending figures for July. Mortgage activity has remained "robust" despite the introduction of tougher mortgage lending rules in April, it said. Property sales in the first six months of 2014 were up 25% from a year earlier, it added, but "we expect tha0t intensifying affordability pressures could start to dampen this upwards trend".

     
  3.  
    INTEREST RATES Via Email Peter Hemington Partner at BDO

    "There are still big question marks for businesses on when the rise might come. Businesses cannot plan for growth on the basis of vague or conflicting statements - policy makers can do more to provide certainty for businesses, enabling them to make informed decisions for the future."

     
  4.  
    MORTGAGES 10:33:
    Mortgage form

    Mortgage lending hit a near six-year high in July, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Gross mortgage lending rose to £19.1bn last month, the CML said, the highest figure since August 2008. The figure was up 7% from the previous month and 15% higher than a year earlier.

     
  5.  
    INTEREST RATES 10:23: BBC News Channel
    Michael Saunders

    A "fairly major step" is how Michael Saunders, chief economist at Citigroup, describes the news of the split vote on the MPC. But he says we shouldn't fear a rate rise as the economy is in good shape. "Rates will go up in the next six months or so... and will steadily rise from there," he tells the BBC. The pound may rally further as rates rise because of sterling's "incredibly weak" starting point, he adds.

     
  6.  
  7.  
    POUND REACTION 10:10:
    Pound-Dollar

    News of the split vote on the MPC has sent the value of the pound higher, as the minutes suggest a rate rise could happen that much sooner. Against the dollar, sterling climbed to $1.6680, which was up 0.3% for the day.

     
  8.  
    STANDARD CHARTERED Ian Gordon Banking analyst, Investec

    "There appears to be no suggestion by the New York Department of Financial Services of any wrongdoing or breach of regulations by Standard Chartered. What it claims to have identified is a deficiency in a surveillance system at Standard Chartered's New York branch to identify and/or flag certain "high risk" transactions... We estimate a 1-2% adverse earnings impact."

     
  9.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:52:

    For the majority of the Monetary Policy Committee, "there remained insufficient evidence of inflationary pressures to justify an immediate increase in Bank Rate", the minutes showed. They noted that the latest Inflation Report had inflation reaching the 2% target only at the end of a three-year forecast period. Economic growth is likely to slow slightly, and wage growth remains weak, they said.

     
  10.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:44:

    For Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty, "the continuing rapid fall in unemployment alongside survey evidence of tightening in the labour market created a prospect that wage growth would pick up", the MPC minutes show. "Since monetary policy, too, could be expected to operate only with a lag, it was desirable to anticipate labour market pressures by raising Bank Rate in advance of them."

     
  11.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:32:

    The MPC minutes show that Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty both voted to raise interest rates to 0.75% from 0.5%. It's the first time the MPC's vote has not been unanimous for more than three years.

     
  12.  
    INTEREST RATES Breaking News
    Bank of England

    The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 in favour of holding interest rates at 0.5% earlier this month, minutes have shown.

     
  13.  
    MARKET UPDATE 09:22:

    Shares in Balfour Beatty have fallen more than 6% after the company rejected the latest takeover proposal from rival Carillion. Glencore shares are up 0.4% after the commodity trader and miner reported better-than-expected first half profits.

     
  14.  
    MORTGAGES 09:13: BBC Breakfast
    BBC Breakfast

    The expectation that interest rates are going to start rising in the coming months has led to a surge in homeowners remortgaging. The Money Advice Bureau says there was a 21% spike in remortgaging applications last month. Kerry Rowling from Marble Mortgages told BBC Breakfast it's worthwhile putting the time in to find a good rate. And she says there are still many fee-free deals around.

     
  15.  
    FRENCH ECONOMY 09:02: BBC Radio 4

    The Today programme has been looking at why the French economy has ground to halt, with zero growth over the past six months. "The main drag on French growth is the lack of investment," says Eric Chaney, chief economist at AXA Group. "Companies in France do not want to invest because of very high taxation, very tough regulation and a lot of uncertainty about government policy."

     
  16.  
    AMAZON ROW 08:48: Radio 5 live
    Amazon screen shot

    Amazon has been criticised recently over its treatment of publishers. Economist John Kay says on Wake Up to Money the traditional publishing business is on the way out. "It used to be a complicated business getting a book into the hands [of the public]," he says, "it's not any more." Authors will get more proceeds from the books, he says, and Amazon won't have a monopoly.

     
  17.  
    GLENCORE BUYBACK 08:39:

    Commodity trader and miner Glencore has said it will buy back $1bn of shares over the next six months. The company also reported an 8% rise in first half earnings to $6.5bn (£3.9bn), beating analysts' estimates.

     
  18.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:24:

    After two days of strong gains, the main European stock markets have inched lower in early trade.

    • The FTSE 100 is down 11.11 points at 6,768.20
    • Germany's Dax index is 14.86 points lower at 9,319.42
    • In France, the Cac 40 is down 9.57 points at 4,244.88
     
  19.  
    ARGENTINA DEBT 08:20:
    Cristina Fernandez

    President Cristina Fernandez has proposed laws that will push bondholders to swap defaulted debt for new bonds governed by Argentine law, to try to avoid a US ruling that prevented her government from paying some creditors. Argentina entered default last month after a New York court blocked an interest payment of $539m owed to holders of bonds issued under US laws that was restructured after the country's record 2002 default.

     
  20.  
    INTEREST RATES 08:02: BBC Radio 4

    The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted unanimously to hold rates at 0.5% for the past three years. Peter Warburton, who sits on a 'shadow' MPC, organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs, tells the Today programme that it looks like the consensus is beginning to crumble, although the latest MPC minutes could still show a 9-0 vote in August.

     
  21.  
    Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Diego Hernández to become Chief Executive Officer of FTSE100 miner Antofagasta"

     
  22.  
    HEINEKEN RESULTS 07:35:
    beer

    Heineken beat analysts' forecasts for its first-half results, although along with Carlsberg it said it sold less in Russia. The Central and Eastern Europe business was hit by bad weather and floods. Operating profit before one-off items rose 9.6% in the first six months of the year to 1.45bn euros ($1.93bn; £1.16bn),

     
  23.  
    CARLSBERG RESULTS 07:23:
    beer

    Danish brewer Carlsberg has said annual profits will drop because of western relations with Russia. The country generates 35% of operating profit but Russia could enter recession this year. "The overall performance in the second quarter looks fine, but they are downgrading their guidance due to the macroeconomic uncertainty in the Eastern European region. So it is a mixed bag," analyst Morten Imsgard from Sydbank said.

     
  24.  
    BALFOUR BEATTY 07:18:

    Balfour Balfour said it rejected Carillion's latest offer because it failed to address "two key concerns". It said there were "considerable risks" associated with the proposed business plan. It also objected to Carillion's intention to halt the planned sale of Balfour's Parsons Brinckerhoff business in the US, "at a point when it is reaching a successful conclusion".

     
  25.  
    BALFOUR BEATTY 07:08:
    Balfour Beatty worker

    Balfour Beatty has rejected the latest takeover bid from rival Carillion. The offer was sweetened on Tuesday for the third time, valuing Balfour at more than £2bn. But Balfour said the proposal was "not in the best interests" of its shareholders.

     
  26.  
    BHP BILLITON 06:57: BBC Radio 4
    BHP Billiton logo

    On Tuesday, mining giant BHP Billiton announced plans to spin-off billions of dollars worth of assets into a new company. Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin, told the Today programme that it's a sign that shareholders in the sector are demanding more discipline from management and seeking better dividends.

     
  27.  
    STANDARD CHARTERED 06:44: Radio 5 live
    Standard Chartered

    Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin is on Wake Up to Money, this time talking about Standard Chartered. Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $300m (£180m) to New York's top banking regulator for failing to improve its money laundering controls. "It's a blow," she says. "In the past the management were very well respected."

     
  28.  
    JAPAN EXPORTS 06:31:
    Tokyo port

    Japan's exports grew in July for the first time in three months, figures have shown. Exports were up 3.9% from a year ago thanks to higher shipments of cars and electric machinery. However, imports rose by 2.3%, largely due to purchases of oil and gas. This meant the trade deficit came in at a larger-than-expected 964.0bn yen ($9.4bn; £5.6bn) for the month.

     
  29.  
    BALFOUR MERGER 06:16: Radio 5 live

    Elaine Coverley, head of equity research at Brewin Dolphin is on Wake Up to Money. Carillion is back with improved terms to buy Balfour Beatty. "It is getting more hostile," she says. Balfour Beatty shareholders "need to petition the board to look at this offer much more closely", she says.

     
  30.  
    INTEREST RATES 06:10: Radio 5 live
    Bank of England

    A rise in interest rates is "long overdue", economist Peter Warburton tells Wake Up to Money. The minutes from August's meeting of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee are out later and could show some members favoured a rate rise. Mr Warburton thinks several economic indicators suggest rates should already have gone up.

     
  31.  
    PALLADIUM PRICES 06:02: Radio 5 live

    Jim Slade, a director of European Exhaust & Catalyst, is on Wake Up to Money talking about palladium, which is used in catalytic converters. The price of palladium has risen by 25% this year. "There's a lot of debate about Russia and whether they have a huge stockpile or whether it's depleted," he says.

     
  32.  
    06:00: Nick Edser, Business reporter

    Good morning. You can email us at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk and tweet us at @bbcbusiness.

     
  33.  
    06:00: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Hello. Today we can look forward to minutes from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, plus company results and analysis. Stay tuned.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.