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TalkTalk fined 400k for customer details hack

TalkTalk has been fined a record £400,000 over cyber security failures that led to hackers accessing personal data of almost 157,000 customers.

Bank account details and sort codes of more than 15,000 TalkTalk customers were also accessed during the attacks in October 2015.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which could have issued a fine up to £500,000, accused the telecoms company of failing to take basic steps to protect customer information, adding that data was accessed “with ease”.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “Hacking is wrong, but that is not an excuse for companies to abdicate their security obligations. TalkTalk should and could have done more to safeguard its customer information. It did not and we have taken action.”

TalkTalk said it was disappointed with the decision after cooperating fully with the investigation.

It said it had been open and honest with its customers from the beginning to give them the best chance of protecting themselves.

The fine is more than double what the Money Shop was fined in August 2015 following the loss of customer details and financial information.

Flaws

Weaknesses in TalkTalk’s cyber security came about after it failed to properly scan infrastructure inherited following its takeover of rival company Tiscali in 2009.

Three vulnerable webpages, which TalkTalk didn’t know existed, enabled access to databases that held customer information. If the company had been aware of the inherited pages, they could have been quickly fixed and the attacker wouldn’t have been able to bypass access restrictions so easily.

The ICO says that TalkTalk was given two early warnings in July and September that year when similar successful attacks exploited the same vulnerabilities.

Ms Dunham believes that a company the size of TalkTalk - with all its expertise and resources - should have known better.

“When it came to the basic principles of cyber security, TalkTalk was found wanting,” she commented.

She added that cyber security was not an IT issue but a matter for the boardroom and urged companies to be diligent and vigilant as a duty to their customers, not just the law.

Written by for Comms ExpressADNFCR-1186-ID-801826421-ADNFCR

TalkTalk fined 400k for customer details hack - Article Discussion

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