UK Energy Startup ‘People’s Energy’ Discloses Data Breach

UK energy supplier People’s Energy this week started informing customers of a data breach that affected some of their personal information.

The Shawfair, Scotland-based startup was founded in 2017 and currently has approximately 270,000 customers, all of which were affected by the newly disclosed cyber-incident. The company provides electricity and gas to customers in Scotland, England and Wales.

In a data breach notification published on its website, the energy supplier reveals that, on December 16, it was the victim of a cyberattack in which an unauthorized party accessed one of the systems used to store member data.

The breach was stopped immediately after the compromise vector was identified, and no financial information was accessed in the attack, but other personal data was indeed affected, the company says.

“As soon as we became aware of what was happening, we acted immediately to close down the route being used to get into our system, and to stop access to any further information,” People’s Energy notes.

Impacted data, the company reveals, includes names and phone numbers, physical and email addresses, dates of birth, numbers for People’s Energy accounts, tariff details, and identification numbers for both gas and electricity meters.

People’s Energy says that user account passwords were not affected in the incident.

“We’ve informed the Information Commissioner’s Office and the energy industry regulator, Ofgem. We’re following their guidance, and are keeping them updated on the situation,” the company says.

The data breach affected both current and former customers and the company is currently working on contacting all of the affected parties.

According to the BBC, People’s Energy revealed in an interview that 15 small-business customers had their financial information accessed by the attackers.

With the stolen information opening the venue for possible phishing attacks, affected customers are advised to exercise caution on all unsolicited calls and emails, and to avoid clicking on links in emails or messages they did not request.

“We have no idea of the motivation behind this attack. The police are investigating, and we’ll pass on any relevant information as soon as it’s available,” People’s Energy says, adding that it is currently working on improving protections for its systems.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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