Hack to cost UK's TalkTalk up to $53 million

The hack put at risk personal data of 4 percent of the company's customers

TalkTalk Telecom Group in the U.K. expects the one-off cost of a recent cyberattack to be up to £35 million (US$53 million) but said the number of customers affected may have been far less than had been earlier expected.

The company said, while presenting its half-year results Wednesday, that forensic analysis had found that 4 percent of its  customers have any personal data at risk.

Giving a breakdown, TalkTalk disclosed that  the total number of customers whose personal details were accessed were 156,959, and of these customers 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed. 28,000 obscured credit and debit card numbers were also accessed by the hackers but cannot be used for financial transactions, as they were were 'orphaned', and cannot be identified by the stolen data, the company said.

The October hack is the third so far on the company. Previous attacks were in December 2014 and in February this year.

Police have so far arrested four persons in connection with the hack, under suspicion of offenses under the Computer Misuse Act. They were released on bail without charges while the police investigation continues. The company's board is also conducting an inquiry.

On Oct. 23, the company said it had been hit by a "significant and sustained cyberattack" on its website, and there was a possibility that customers' names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, TalkTalk account information, credit card details and/or bank details were compromised. This led to speculation that a significant proportion of the 4 million customers of the telecommunications operator were under threat.

By Oct. 30, the company disclosed that during the hack less than 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes, under 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details of which the middle six digits had been removed, and less than 15,000 customer dates of birth had been accessed. Under 1.2 million customer email addresses, names and phone numbers were also part of the personal data accessed.

TalkTalk said it expects some near-term effects on customer churn from the cyberattack. While it was to early to assess the impact of the cyberattack on its business, it said early data on customer churn and retention after the hack are encouraging. The company has offered a free upgrade of services to customers, allowing them to choose from free TV content, a mobile SIM with monthly allowances of free text, data and calls, unlimited U.K. landline and mobile calls, and a broadband health checkup.

CEO Dido Harding told the BBC that the one-off costs on the hack would go towards covering for lost revenue as the company's online sales sites were down for the last three weeks, additional IT and technology costs, higher number of calls to its call center, and the cost of responding to the incident.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?