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UK ISP TalkTalk Now Says Only 156,959 Customers Affected by Hack

Friday, November 6th, 2015 (7:42 am) - Score 427

At the end of last week TalkTalk informed their broadband and phone customers that “less than” 1.2 million customer email addresses, names and phone numbers had been compromised by the cyber-attack on their website (here), but today this has been sharply revised down to the figure of 156,959.

The attack, which was the result of a combined Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assault and later an SQL Injection exploit against TalkTalk’s site, has since been followed by the arrest of four people; three of which are young teenage boys. Sadly many of those cases won’t be heard until next year.

In the meantime the on-going investigation by both TalkTalk and the Metropolitan Police has now revealed that the scale of this attack was much smaller than stated last week.

TalkTalk Cyber Attack Update – 6th Nov

Further to our update on Friday 30th October we are now able to confirm which customers were affected:

* The total number of customers whose personal details were accessed is 156,959;
* Of these customers, 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed;
* The 28,000 obscured credit and debit card numbers that were accessed cannot be used for financial transactions, and were ‘orphaned’, meaning that customers cannot be identified by the stolen data.

Our ongoing forensic analysis of the site confirms that the scale of the attack was much more limited than initially suspected, and we can confirm that only 4% of TalkTalk customers have any sensitive personal data at risk. However, we continue to advise customers to be vigilant, and to take all precautions possible to protect themselves from scam phone calls and emails.

It was a difficult decision to notify all our customers of the risk before we could establish the real extent of any data loss. We believe we had a responsibility to warn customers ahead of having the clarity we are finally able to give today.

We have now contacted all customers who have had financial details accessed, reiterating our advice on what to do to keep themselves safe. The financial information accessed cannot on its own lead to financial loss. We will be contacting all other affected customers in the coming days.

We want to make customers aware that we will not call or otherwise contact them regarding this incident and ask for bank details or other financial or personal information.

The news is good-ish, although we’re hesitant to adopt any kind of celebratory tone given the fact that 156,959 is still a huge number of people. We’d also like to hear what actions TalkTalk are taking to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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