Can We Sue a Website like Airbnb if They Are Hacked and Personal Information Is Stolen?

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When a website is hacked, and the user account information is stolen, the question becomes who is responsible, and then the matter shift into if it is possible to litigate against the company that owns the website. Hacked websites could render the company or network administrator responsible for damages to those affected.

Attempting to sue a company that owns a website that has been hacked is often difficult. The lawyer hired must first find the business liable and responsible for the incident. Then, if the user account was provided additional protections, this could factor in favor of the company. However, if preventative measures were not taken and the software or hardware were not enough to keep out moderate or even mild hacker attempts, then the owner of the website might be liable. An expert witness in computers, networking or online websites may be needed in these cases to explain the concern further to the judge or jury.

Once a lawyer has been hired, it is important to look at the factors of the data breach. If the company is liable based on what the owner or management attempted or tried to do for the user either before during or after the breach, it is possible that the matter is taken care of before further injury transpires. However, if the business did not protect the users at any point, cause further damage through inaction or the wrong action after the breach or similar circumstances, the person harmed may have a claim against the company. The lawyer will need to determine how strong the case is before pursuing action.

Suing for a Data Breach

To sue a company based on a data breach is difficult if the organization is able to prove that all preventative measures were taken to keep these events from occurring. There are multiple companies involved in these situations such as the hosting account, the organization where the domain resides, the network administrator and anyone else that is overseeing the data security. Even if the business has a website, the data breach may have involved another entity that was responsible for the incident. This would mean contacting multiple areas and researching what happened. The lawyer would need to communicate with these persons or companies and determine how best to proceed.

Sometimes, the website is not breached. If the company behind Airbnb has not been hacked or there is no data breach, the entity is not usually responsible for any damages or action. This would entail a hack of the userís information only. This is a crucial factor that must be discovered before attempting to sue anyone. When the company is not responsible, there is no case, and liability cannot be proven against the company. If the Airbnb administrator registered logins from around the world, the account may have been disabled for fraudulent activity. This is the responsibility of the user to take care of and change login credentials.

Complications with Pursuing Legal Action

Before a claim is processed through the courts, the individual affected by a data breach should first contact a lawyer. The legal professional will explain the situation and start the process to determine if the claim is sound, if the case is possible and any factors that may halt the procedure from progressing. The data breach must be determined to have been the fault of the company. If the information stolen was only for one person or a group that disqualifies the business or website specifically, the claim may need to adjust to a different party entirely and remove Airbnb as the other party.

The login history of the account may need to be recorded and used in the case if Airbnb was hacked. If the event is considered a data breach, the lawyer involved in the concern will need to acquire the logs and communicate with the network admin for the website. Then, if preventative measures were taken or the company had protocols in place to stop any further complications from arising, the claim may have a weaker stake. This could lead to litigation failing.

Legal Action against Airbnb

It is crucial to contact a lawyer in the event of a possible data breach if the company of a website has not attempted to make reparations. The legal representative will protect the rights of the user and pursue all available action if there is a legitimate claim against the company.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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