TalkTalk had recently suffered a “significant and sustained” cyber-attack. This was the third breach of its kind within a span of one year, however, CEO Dido Harding maintains that all three attacks were “completely unrelated” and that the latest one might have placed over 4 million customers at risk.
In a recent revelation, the operarot has now confirmed that as many as 159,969 customer accounts were exposed to the hack. Almost all of them included bank accounts with sort codes but as per TalkTalk, hackers could not use them as some digits were hidden from view.
Through a press release published earlier today, TalkTalk said:
"Investigations by both TalkTalk and the Metropolitan Police continue, and further to our update on Friday 30th October we are now able to confirm which customers were affected:
•The total number of customers whose personal details were accessed is 156,959;
•Of these customers, 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed;
•The 28,000 obscured credit and debit card numbers that were accessed cannot be used for financial transactions, and were ‘orphaned’, meaning that customers cannot be identified by the stolen data."
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Harding said, “On Wednesday lunchtime, all we knew was that our website was running slowly and that we had the indications of a hacker trying to attack us. I can’t even tell you today exactly how many customers have been affected. We have tried to come public as fast as we can once we have got a reasonable idea of what potential data has been lost.
I really appreciate the frustration and the worry and the concern that this causes customers – I am a customer myself – and I am very sorry for that. We are rushing to try and get that information to our customers as fast as we possibly can.”
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Currently investigating the breach, the Metropolitan police cybercrime unit have not laid any accusations yet. However, to reassure customers, they said that “there have been no arrests and inquiries are ongoing. We are aware of speculation regarding alleged perpetrators. This investigation remains at an early stage. A full assessment of the alleged data theft is ongoing.”
The alleged hackers call themselves “TalkTalk Hackers” and have laid out their bounty on Pastebin, a popular parking lot for cyber hackers. They also posted a message which said “We will teach our children to use the web for Allah … your hands will be covered in blood … judgement day is soon.”
The hackers claim to have got their hands on a number of email addresses as well as national security numbers which come within the ambit of customer privacy. As per TalkTalk, the breach may have been much more severe.
“That investigation is ongoing, but unfortunately there is a chance that some of the following data has been compromised: names, addresses, date of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, TalkTalk account information, credit card details and/or bank details.
“We are continuing to work with leading cybercrime specialists and the Metropolitan police to establish exactly what happened and the extent of any information accessed.”
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Mobile network operators and broadband providers store large amount of customer information for identification as well as for payments. Any breach of their' databases not only embarrass the firms themselves, but also leave your privacy in tatters. The fact that TalkTalk did not encrypt their stored data completely contributed to the severity of the hack.
While changing internet banking passwords or even bank accounts is possible with some effort, what would you do if not-too-well-meaning terrorists get hold of your home addresses?
We hope the Metropolitan police cybercrime unit will come up with some answers soon.
TalkTalk have finally gotten their heads around the full extent of a recent hack that led them to shut their website for over two days.
Even though this may seem miniscule compared to the 4 million accounts with TalkTalk, 21,000 unique bank account numbers with sort codes, 15,000 date of births, 28,000 credit and debit card details and 1.2 million names, addresses and e-mail accounts were stolen as a result of the hack.
After these details were revealed, TalkTalk sounded relieved, stating, "Today we can confirm that the scale of attack was much smaller than we originally suspected, but this does not take away from how seriously we take what has happened."
However, for the millions whose details are not exactly in the right hands now, we don't think 'relief' will be an apt word to describe how they're feeling.