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techUK Responds to "Significant" Cyber Attack on TalkTalk

TalkTalk was the victim of a “significant and sustained” cyber attack which may have compromised the personal data of millions of customers.

TalkTalk, the phone and broadband provider, was the victim of a "significant and sustained" cyber attack on Wednesday 21 October which may have compromised the personal data of millions of customers.

The company confirmed that some data, not all of which was encrypted, could have been compromised. This data included information such as customer names, addresses, date of birth and credit card details. Initial reports indicate that the attack was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, where a website is inundated with vast amounts of traffic which cause it to crash. Although it is not clear how the website crash resulted in a loss of data, one theory is that the DDoS attack masked the real intentions of the hackers, enabling the criminals to steal the confidential information whilst the TalkTalk team responded to the DDoS attack. The speed with which the company have moved to alert potential victims and work with the police should be commended and highlights the seriousness of the situation. The incident also displays the importance of encryption for securing confidential data online.

Cyber crime continues to remain a problem for businesses and civil society, as evidenced in techUK's recent report 'Partners Against Crime', which analysed how the police and industry can work closely together to effectively tackle the growing problem. The long term response to cyber crime remains the collective responsibility of everyone, from big businesses to consumers, to take responsibility for their cyber security and protect themselves from criminals.

James Murphy, Associate Director - Defence and Security at techUK, said:

"Significant cyber attacks on companies are happening with increasing frequency as the tools to commit a cyber attack become more readily available. Unfortunately, cyber crime is a low cost but high reward endeavour".


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