Hacked TalkTalk receives ransom demand

24 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

EDWARD LUCAS: Plain truth is we’ve all been far too complacent.

Hilary Foster, a barrister’s clerk from south-west London, says she found that scammers had stolen the cash from her account and used it to buy goods out of Tesco and Office shoes.Shares in British broadband provider TalkTalk were hit as it said it had received a ransom demand from an unidentified party claiming responsibility for a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of personal data from its more than four million customers.

Imagine a hotel careless enough to put its guests’ room keys on public display, along with their names, credit cards, passport details and home addresses. I am really, really angry TalkTalk found out about this on Wednesday and didn’t tell customers until a day later.” Yesterday we reported that the internet terrorists carried out a “significant and sustained cyber attack” on the British broadband company and sent the boss a ransom message. If the theft is confirmed by a police investigation it would be one of Britain’s biggest online security breaches. “We have been contacted by, I don’t know whether it is an individual or a group, purporting to be the hacker,” TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding told the BBC. It has admitted that its website was hacked earlier this week, and that information including the date of birth, address, credit card, and bank details of its four million customers might have been stolen. “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,” TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding said in a statement.

A message posted on the internet by the hackers said: “We Have Made Our Tracks Untraceable Through Onion Routing, Encrypted Chat Messages, Private Key Emails, Hacked Servers. That made it easy for the still-unknown attackers – perhaps criminals, perhaps political extremists, perhaps a mixture of the two – to steal customer information from its computers. No chief executive would sleep easily at night if the company headquarters were secured merely with a child’s padlock, with vital commercial secrets strewn on every desk. Far too many company directors have not the faintest idea how computers work, or the formidable arsenal of weapons and trickery which attackers can deploy.

The hapless Miss Harding, bumbling from studio to studio, was unable to explain how her company had been attacked, how long the attack had gone on for, what had been stolen and whether the computers and networks were now secure. An illiterate and venomous posting on the Pastebin website, accompanied by what appears to be a portion of the data stolen from TalkTalk, appears to claim responsibility on behalf of Islamist extremists.

So attacking TalkTalk, a major provider of mobile phone and internet services, could be a stunt by those bent on destroying our way of life in the misguided pursuit of piety. Even ordinary internet users can be blackmailed because they have left a compromising trail online by browsing pornographic websites, or posting indecent pictures.

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