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On the 22nd October 2015, telecommunications company TalkTalk suffered a huge cyber-attack. The result was some 157,000 of their customers’ personal details being breached, and this included 16,000 bank details being accessed.
The case has been somewhat concluded now as two men have pleaded guilty to the attack. At the Old Bailey courthouse, Matthew Hanley and Douglas Allsopp pleaded guilty to several offences.
Hanley pleaded guilty to three offences under the Computer Misuse Act; the hacking of the TalkTalk website, obtaining files that would enable the hack on the website, and supplying the files that enabled the hacking to others. The cyber hacker also admitted to supplying others with a spreadsheet with TalkTalk’s customers data on it, under the intention of committing fraud.
Allsopp on the other hand pleaded guilty on one offence under the Computer Misuse Act; supplying a file for the purpose of hacking.
The court found that both Hanley and Allsopp had been working together on the TalkTalk cyber-attack.
Despite the fact he covered up his tracks in terms of the files he had hacked, Hanley forgot to cover up his tracks on social media… A rookie mistake? After an investigation by the London Metropolitan’s Cyber Crime Unit, which is part of the service’s Fraud and Linked Crime Online Unit – aka Falcon – they found conversations on Hanley’s social media revealing how he had carried out the cyber-attack on TalkTalk.
The investigation also revealed conversations on social media between Hanley and Allsopp where they discussed selling the data for a handsome profit. Allsopp revealed that he had failed in passing the data on, although he still had the sensitive data of 157,000 individuals in his possession when it should never have been obtained in the first place.
The two hackers are set to appear in the Old Bailey courthouse on the 31st May to be sentenced.
It’s clear to say that hacking can be an extreme offence, but TalkTalk have to share some of the blame in the cyber-attack. TalkTalk have arguably neglected their customers basic rights to data protection, as their customers put their trust in them to keep their data safe. When you hand over your personal details and your bank details to a company, you expect them to be kept safely away from the hands of hackers.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) investigated TalkTalk for the breach of security and data, and they found that the communications giants had violated the Data Protection Act by failing to “implement the most basic cyber security measures” that allowed hackers to penetrate TalkTalk’s systems with ease.
Following on from their investigation, the ICO issued TalkTalk with a record breaking £400,000 fine. The cyber-attack has had a significant backlash on TalkTalk; costing them nearly £73 million to clear up the mess, and they’ve also reportedly lost 95,000 customers as a result of the breach.
Although the men responsible have pleaded guilty to their offences and TalkTalk have had to pay fines to the ICO, no measures have been put in place by TalkTalk to compensate customers for their data being breached as of yet.
Having your data shared unwillingly without your knowledge or consent is against the Data Protection Act, and if the Data Protection Act is breached, the data holder can be entitled to compensation.
We understand the distress that having your personal information leaked can cause. Although we may not be able to do anything to get that information secure again, we can help you to recover compensation if you were a victim of the TalkTalk hack.
Get in touch with us today and we can see if you are eligible for compensation.
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