Arrest Made in TalkTalk Hacking Case

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

15-year-old arrested over British cyber attack.

By Saturday, day four of the security crisis that has engulfed TalkTalk, as she appeared on video for the umpteenth time to update customers on the status of the investigation, the chief executive was completely exhausted. Police arrested a 15-year-old boy over a cyber attack on telephone and internet provider TalkTalk, feared to have breached the data of millions of Britons, Scotland Yard said on Monday.The Metropolitan Police in London said the teenager was detained in Co Antrim at about 4.20pm on Monday by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences.

The boy was apprehended during a raid in County Antrim by Northern Ireland police officers working with Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit detectives. “He has been taken into custody at a County Antrim police station where he will later be interviewed. But the firm’s chief executive Dido Harding said: “If we look after our customers through this really difficult time, when we’ve all been victims of a crime, then I hope they’ll forgive us.” A search of the address is ongoing and inquiries continue.” More than a tenth of the value of TalkTalk was wiped off the London Stock Exchange on Monday as traders reacted to the breach, the third cyber attack in eight months on TalkTalk in which customers’ data has been stolen.

In the U.K., criminal suspects aren’t named before formal charges are laid, though even if the teen is charged with a criminal offense, he is unlikely to be named by authorities due to laws designed to protect underage offenders. A PSNI spokeswoman was last night unable to provide comment, as she said the Met cybercrime unit was leading the investigation into the major security breach of the telecoms company. When Harding said on national television that she could not guarantee there will never be a security breach again in the future, she was honest and correct. We will continue to assist in the ongoing investigation.” Police are investigating a ransom demand that was sent to TalkTalk purporting to be from the hacker, though the firm is unsure if the demand for money was genuine. It emerged last week that the personal information of an unknown number of customers could have been compromised during a major cyberattack on its website.

A statement issued by the Met on behalf of TalkTalk acknowledged it was a “worrying time” for customers following the data breach in which customer names, addresses and partial bank account details were allegedly stolen. “We know this has been a worrying time for customers and we are grateful for the swift response and hard work of the police. It would instead give a false assurance to customers and to boards by propagating the idea that security is “done” once the kitemark forms are filled in. He said the security breach had concerned people across the UK and he would be seeking updates as the investigation progresses. “The type of attack suffered by TalkTalk once again highlights the significant danger that cybercrime poses and the impact that it can have on the community,” he added. “Virtually every household will have banking or other personal information stored by companies on computer systems and should those systems be compromised it can leave people vulnerable to a range of crimes.” Customers are also trying to abandon it for rivals such as BT and Sky, which are now inevitably perceived as safer pairs of hands when it comes to their personal and financial data. TalkTalk is a victim but the Data Protection Act says it might be a law breaker, too, if it did not have the appropriate technical and organisational measures in place to guard its customers’ data.

Although investigations by the police, BAE Systems and the Information Commissioner are still in their early stages, the circumstantial evidence we have so far raises questions for TalkTalk, a company run on a shoestring relative to its broadband rivals. As the British telecoms and media market continues to undergo tectonic transformation, TalkTalk has been forced to deploy its relatively limited resources creatively to keep up. So while BT has gone into television by laying down billions of pound on sports rights, TalkTalk sought to retain its customers with free set-top boxes and heavy marketing spending. It is also now preparing a major expansion of its mobile ambitions – a so-called “thick” MVNO – that requires major investment and technical innovation.

A spokesman for the company said the drive to reduce IT spending was unrelated to security and spending on defending customer data was up, although he could not provide figures. For investors, intensity of competition in the broadband market has taken a toll on the share price of a company that has always divided opinion in the City. This week, some analysts claimed that in spite of recent share price falls – the company is down 30pc over the past six months – it remains significantly overvalued.

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