17-year-old was reportedly “just showing off” to friends when he hacked TalkTalk!
healthcare cyberattacks

17-year-old was reportedly “just showing off” to friends when he hacked TalkTalk!

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TalkTalk’s data breach has cost them a total of 42 million pounds so far – and it’s all because a teenager was trying to show off to his mates…

At 17 years of age, you’re expected to go out with friends, go shopping, do some homework, etc ; all the usual stuff…

But not the 17-year-old who successfully hacked telecoms giant TalkTalk…

The minor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged for the TalkTalk hacking in October 2015, which has led to hundreds of thousands of people being at risk of further fraud from criminals.

Nature of the security breach

TalkTalk was fined £400,000 for the cyber-attack which happened in October last year. Up to four million customer details were thought to have been accessed initially, but it was later confirmed that around 157,000 accounts were directly accessed. That being said, information from sources has relayed to us that TalkTalk may never truly know the extent of how many accounts were actually compromised!

TalkTalk is no angel

TalkTalk seem to be pleased with the outcome of the investigation headed by the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, releasing a statement to say:

“…we are pleased that their investigations have led to a successful prosecution.”

But at the end of the day, TalkTalk were hacked by a teenager – that can never be seen as acceptable by anyone’s standards!

The telecom group say that they hope this outcome will encourage other companies and organisations to notify their customers as soon as possible. On that note… Yahoo, are you listening?

But that isn’t the issue: the issue is the fact that TalkTalk had inadequate protection in place to secure their customers’ details. If they had sufficient safeguards in place, they wouldn’t have had to pay hefty fines and clean up their damaged image.

ICO’s stance

TalkTalk’s action (or shall I say inaction) is not short of critics. Although the telecom giants warned four million of their customers when they were first aware of the breach, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) criticised them by saying that they should have had the capacity to safeguard their customers’ information.

Financial penalties

The hack hasn’t been cheap for TalkTalk. Since it erupted, the company claimed that it has cost them £42 million. The Information Commissioner at the time, Christopher Graham, described the breach as a “car crash”.

Discounted Penalty

The penalty that the ICO imposed was understood to be discounted by 20 per cent for an early payment. But that is no skin on their teeth as the telecom providers recently profited £46 million.

Maybe they should spare some ‘extra change’ for putting their customers in a vulnerable position in the first place. With any data hacks, hackers could place the personal information for sale on the ‘Dark Web’, putting customers at a big risk of identity fraud and other forms of theft.

TalkTalk’s lost customers

The compromised information included customer names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Of the 157,000 customers, 21,000 had their bank details stolen.

As expected, TalkTalk lost 29,000 broadband and 56,000 TV customers in the six months following the incident. TalkTalk said that the dip in TV customers is due to the fact that customers were looking elsewhere for cheaper providers. But I suspect that many customers didn’t want to return to the telecom providers following the scandal. This is supported by Deloitte’s survey where 59 per cent of consumer state that a single data breach would negatively impact their likelihood of returning to that company.

It’s common knowledge that a single data breach, or any negative experience with the company for that matter, could quickly erase the years of building company reputation.

In reality, the impact of a data breach could damage a company beyond repair.

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