TalkTalk hires BAE Systems to investigate cyber attack

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cyber-crime needs to be tackled urgently.

(By Kylie MacLellan, Reuters) – British broadband provider TalkTalk said on Sunday it had hired defense company BAE Systems to investigate a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of personal data from its more than 4 million customers. Last week, it was revealed that a group of Russian jihadist hackers had broken into the company’s computers and accessed the personal data and bank details of customers, with one expert likening it to ‘the Great Train Robbery of the 21st century.’ Information security consultant Paul Moore has also claimed that the firm previously ignored his warnings about data incryption after making changes to the way that credit and debit card payments were handled.TalkTalk customers targeted by cyber-criminals reacted with fury last night after being told they will be fined hundreds of pounds for cancelling their accounts. ‘It is appalling,’ said Dawn Palmer, 50, an educational manager from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, who has received 50 calls from impostors claiming to be from TalkTalk over the past six months. ‘They said my account doesn’t run out until July 2016 so I’d have to pay an early-leavers’ penalty.’ Her sentiment was echoed by hundreds of others whose personal details were compromised.

TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc said the cyber-attack on its website this week probably gleaned less financial information than initially thought, and not enough to allow access to customers’ bank accounts. As the telecom firm’s chief executive Dido Harding faced calls to quit last night, customers took to social media to register outrage after their bank accounts were emptied following the attack. A spokeswoman for BAE’s Applied Intelligence division said the company’s cyber-specialists were analyzing “vast quantities” of data to help establish how the breach happened and what information was stolen. TalkTalk last night insisted that its website rather than its computer servers were targeted and that no credit card details are stored on the website.

Adultery website was hit in July and the perpetrators ended up releasing information they said included details of more than 36 million users including full names, e-mails and banking information. Asked whether customers should be compensated rather than penalised, Baroness Harding, who pledged to clean up the web from hackers after her elevation to the House of Lords last year, said: ‘It is too early to start thinking about generic principles of compensation.’ Consumer watchdog Which? insisted customers should now be compensated, stressing: ‘No one should lose out as a result of this breach’, while the Information Commissioner’s Office questioned whether TalkTalk acted fast enough to tell customers about Wednesday morning’s attack. Britain’s Information Commissioner watchdog, which can impose fines of up to 500,000 pounds ($765,600), has said it is looking into the incident but security experts said the prevalence of cyber crime showed more needed to be done. The stock fell the most in more than two years in London after the company said it had been the victim of a “significant and sustained” hack on Wednesday. Simon Moores, chair of the International eCrime Congress and a former government technology ambassador, said so far the commissioner had proved “somewhat toothless”. “The Information Commissioner needs to have more powers to reflect the direction of travel … at a time of rampant identity theft and exploitation of financial details,” Moores told Reuters.

He said Britain should give responsibility for information security to a single minister rather than have it spread across several government departments. “You need to encourage a culture and a level of responsibility where all large organizations … take serious ownership and responsibility for the privacy of people’s financial and personal data rather than having a cavalier attitude, which we have seen in so many cases,” he said. Of the penalty fines on leaving contracts early, the company said: ‘Because we do not know which customers are affected we cannot make a decision on cancellation fees.’ All the major banks contacted by this newspaper said they were working with TalkTalk to ensure their customers’ accounts were not affected by the hacking and advised customers to watch out for any suspicious activity on their accounts.

It was still unclear last night who was behind the attack, though it is now thought less likely to be the work of Islamic extremists with experts suggesting that Russian cyber-criminals might be responsible. ‘My personal take is that this could be part of a wider pattern of activity encouraged or even supported by the Russian state as part of an effort to destabilise the West,’ said Ewan Lawson, a cyber-security expert at the Royal United Services Institute. Most importantly, what lessons can be learnt by us all about the risks involved in living so much of our lives online – and the strategies for protection? Jens Monrad, from the cyber-security company FireEye, said the data stolen in the TalkTalk hack could have been sold days ago, perhaps before the breach was made public. He said: ‘These hackers will want to sell it on as soon as possible so that customers don’t have time to change their passwords.’ Harding’s husband, Tory MP John Penrose, speaking at their Somerset home yesterday, said she was working ‘incredibly hard’ at TalkTalk’s West London HQ this weekend. ‘She feels that the captain should be on the bridge of the ship right now,’ he said. The impostor called the couple, both in their 80s, on Tuesday – the day before TalkTalk claim the hack took place – telling them that the internet connection at their Kent home was faulty.

In 2013 the Home Affairs Select Committee warned that the UK was now the favourite target of online criminals in 25 countries, in part because companies “simply reimburse the victims with no pursuit of the perpetrators”. She told the man posing as a TalkTalk employee that she had been overpaid and wanted to return the money – to which she was told to pay back £4,900 following his instructions. Shame on TalkTalk – that money was what my parents live on.’ Hilary Foster, a barristers’ practice manager from Surbiton, Surrey, said she discovered on Friday morning that her account had been targeted by the cyber-hackers. ‘It’s outrageous that TalkTalk didn’t tell me about the risk earlier,’ said the 43-year-old. ‘They’ve known since Wednesday and I only found out this morning when I checked my account.

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "TalkTalk hires BAE Systems to investigate cyber attack".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

ICQ: 423360519

About this site