London police arrest 15-year-old boy over TalkTalk hack

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Irish teenager arrested over Talk Talk data theft.

The Metropolitan Police in London said the teenager was detained at around 4.20pm on Monday by officers from the PSNI on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences. “He has been taken into custody at a Co Antrim police station where he will later be interviewed.

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in Northern Ireland on Monday over a cyber attack on British broadband provider TalkTalk that may have led to the theft of data from its more than 4 million customers.The arrest is the first major development since the phone and broadband provider said last week it had been hacked, prompting warnings from the company that the bank details and personal information of its four million customers may have been accessed.A team from Scotland Yard’s Cyber Crime Unit joined Police Service of Northern Ireland officers as they raided the teenager’s home in County Antrim. News of the suspect’s age stunned security experts who had assumed that a group of Isis terrorists or a country such as Russia had been behind the massive breach. The Met said the property was being searched and inquiries by CCU detectives, the PSNI’s Cyber Crime Centre and the National Crime Agency are continuing.

A statement from TalkTalk said: “We know this has been a worrying time for customers and we are grateful for the swift response and hard work of the police. Earlier on Monday it was announced that TalkTalk executives are to be summoned before MPs to explain how hackers were able to steal customer bank details as the company continues to try to limit the damage of last week’s cyber-attack. On Monday the culture minister, Ed Vaizey, told the House of Commons that an inquiry into the TalkTalk hack will be launched by Jesse Norman, chair of the culture, media and sport select committee. Shares in the embattled broadband and pay-TV firm fell 12% on Monday as city traders came to terms with the potential fallout of the hacking episode, the third possible data breach in 10 months.

IT security experts had already expressed surprise at how a company the size of TalkTalk was still vulnerable to the method, as it is a well-known type of attack and there are relatively simple ways of defending against it. The company has been heavily criticised for its handling of the cyber attack – the third it has suffered in the last eight months, with incidents in August and February resulting in customers’ data being stolen. TalkTalk said on Saturday that the amount of information was “materially lower” than first feared and insisted that it would be impossible for customers to lose any money solely as a result of the cyber-attack.

TalkTalk said there is currently no evidence that customers’ bank accounts have been affected but it does not know how much customer information was encrypted. The company chief executive, Dido Harding, insisted in the wake of the hack that the company’s cybersecurity was “head and shoulders” better than its competitors.

One, Adrian Culley, a former Metropolitan police detective and now a security consultant, has likened it to the Great Train robbery and said the potentially liability for TalkTalk could be “huge”. He said the Information Commissioner’s Office can already levy “significant fines” but told the Commons he was “open to suggestions” about how the situation could be “improved”. Announcing the inquiry, Vaizey described the hack as “very serious”, although he said any compensation for customers would be a matter for the information commissioner.

TalkTalk is facing a maximum fine of £500,000 but the SNP’s John Nicolson said the prospect was “clearly not terrifying” for a company with an annual revenue of £1.8 billion a year. An ICO spokesperson said: “Our investigations into previous incidents are ongoing, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to presume a company had breached the Data Protection Act until our enquiries are complete. But what is clear is that organisations do need to make sure they have the appropriate level of security in place to protect the customer information they hold. Having warned them that their computer was under threat of virus, they have successfully taken over the customer’s computer and gone on to apply a sophisticated scam and emptied their bank account.

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