Four million TalkTalk customers at risk after “significant and sustained” cyber attack

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TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding apologises after customers names, addresses, date of birth, phone numbers, email addresses and bank details are feared to have been stolen

TalkTalk has been hit with a major cyber attack with previous and existing customers private information feared to have been stolen.

The attack on the fixed line and mobile provider, which has more than four million customers, took place yesterday, with the company admitting every one of its customers “potential” could be affected. It is the second attack on TalkTalk this year, after an email scam hit its customers in February.

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TalkTalk said details including; customer names, addresses, date of births, phone numbers, email addresses, and bank and credit card information may have been compromised as a result.

The company, which also has around 500,000 mobile customers, is now working with the cyber crime unit of the Metropolitan Police to establish what happened and the extent of the information taken.

TalkTalk said it first realised there was a problem after a slow down in the website performance, before shutting it down yesterday evening after advice from the police.

Click here for Exclusive Q & A with expert hacker about security threats 

Its CEO, Dido Harding, who has described herself as a victim of this attack, said the firm has been working through the night to get its website and customer accounts back online, such as its webmail services. Broadband, mobile and fixed line telephone services continue to run as normal the company said. The sales site is currently not available, as its ‘My Account’ service, which allows customers to check their bills, but is expected to be back up during today (October 24).

Customers are being encouraged to closely monitor their bank accounts and to contact its customer service teams for advice. Customers will not be offered the opportunity to cancel their existing deal if under contract. Emails and letters will be sent to customers detailing the events and precautions to take.

Compensation 

All customers will receive a years free credit monitoring service, allowing them to check their credit history at all time to see if attempts on their accounts are being attempted or carried out. This will be available “very soon”, said Harding.

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TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding

Harding admitted TalkTalk’s security defences could be stronger, but noted there were more than 650,000 cyber attack attempts on UK companies during the summer.

“TalkTalk constantly updates its systems to make sure they are as secure as possible against the rapidly evolving threat of cyber crime, impacting an increasing number of individuals and organisations.

“We take any threat to the security of our customers’ data extremely seriously and we are taking all the necessary steps to understand what has happened here. As a precaution, we are contacting all our customers straight away with information, support and advice around yesterday’s attack.”

It comes just months after Carphone Warehouse, of which TalkTalk split from in 2010 to become a standalone business, was also hit by an attack which exposed up to 2.4 million customer accounts. There have however been no reported incidents of bank related crime as a result of the attack to date.

 

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