A data leak at holiday company Thomson has exposed the names, addresses and holiday dates of up to 500 customers.
The error occurred on 15 August after an email was sent out containing the information. Thomson confirmed to V3 that it is aware of having wrongly exposed "a small number of customers' information".
"The error was identified very quickly and the email was recalled, which was successful in a significant number of cases. We would like to apologise to our customers involved and reassure them that we take data security very seriously," the company said in a statement.
"We are urgently investigating the matter to ensure that this situation will not be repeated."
A spokesperson at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) told V3: "We are aware of an incident at Thomson Holidays and will be making enquiries."
Jacob Ginsberg, senior director at security firm Echoworx, explained that the breach highlights the need for customer data to be secured in the same way as corporate data.
"If Thomson's data is leaked that highlights customers' personal details, like their address and holiday details, which show when they will be out of their house, it's like a goldmine for burglars as well as cyber criminals," he said.
"Airline and travel companies need to be more aware of the amount of personal detail they have on their customers, and should have the capability to send payment confirmation details and travel tickets to a one-time customer in a secure, encrypted format."
Tony Pepper, chief executive at encryption services provider Egress, warned that human error is a major challenge for companies.
"It is the simplicity of email that creates a challenge to security teams as it is so easy for them to be sent in error," he said.
"In fact, a Freedom of Information [request] to the ICO at the end of last year showed that 93 percent of reported breaches were due to human error, so Thomson is not alone.
"Mistakes happen. It's a fact of life. Yet organisations need to ensure they give employees the right tools to work securely, while providing a safety net should they make a mistake."
Security firm Trend Micro reported on a number of ways to reduce human error earlier this year when dealing with sensitive information.
"The threats posed by phishing, human error and activities such as social media use are alike in that they can be best addressed through a combination of training and technology," the firm said in a blog post at the time.
Trend Micro revealed a number of common risks involved in maintaining security, including the use of unapproved applications, ineffective software patch management and lack of encryption.
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