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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?