Phone and internet provider TalkTalk are the latest giant to fall victim to a cyber attack.

The company, which has more than 4 million customers, announced last week that they had suffered a “significant cyber-attack” on their website, and that personal and banking details could have been accessed.

Worryingly, TalkTalk said that it was possible that up to 100% of its customers could have been affected and a criminal investigation has been launched. It was announced on Monday that a boy aged 15 had been arrested in connection with the attack.

The customer information that could have been stolen included:

  • Names and addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • TalkTalk account information
  • Credit card & bank details

Not all of this information was encrypted, hence why the hackers were able to access the information.

We understand that it was a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service), in which a website is hit with so much traffic that it cannot cope. This normally only results in the site going down, but it is likely that the hackers used this as a distraction to TalkTalk’s cyber defence team while they stole the unencrypted data.

TalkTalk have announced that they intend to contact all of their customers but they cannot be sure how many people will be affected.

This scandal shows the importance of encrypting your customer data to protect it from hackers. This is TalkTalk’s third cyber-attack of the year, and their weak defences against cyber threats is becoming increasingly attractive to criminals.

In February, customers of the phone and internet provider were warned about scammers who had managed to accesses many thousands of customer names and account numbers.

TalkTalk Chief Executive Dido Harding said “Unfortunately cybercrime is the crime of our generation. Can our defences be stronger? Absolutely. Can every company’s defences be stronger?”

Worrying times lay ahead for TalkTalk, but this should provide a stark warning that no company is beyond the reach of cyber criminals.

If you would like any advice about your cyber security, please do not hesitate to contact our team on 01522 883636.