TalkTalk cyber attack: Urgent action called for

Business leaders say many firms being targeted by hackers

Updated: 

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The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called for a more robust approach to protect British businesses in the wake of the cyber attack on TalkTalk. The IoD claims only 'serious breaches' make the headlines, but attacks on UK firms 'happen constantly.'

It comes as police are investigating a 'ransom demand' from a group purporting to be behind the TalkTalk attack. The phone and broadband provider came under a 'sustained' attack on Wednesday resulting in the potential loss of customers' details.

It is thought up to four million customers may have had their information compromised but this is yet to be confirmed.

A Russian Islamist group has claimed they carried out the hack but experts have warned that it is too early to know who is responsible.

Former Scotland Yard detective Adrian Culley told BBC Radio 4 that the group had posted what they claimed was a sample of customers' details online. However, the accuracy of the information has not been verified and there was also speculation that blackmailers could have launched the attack.

A TalkTalk spokeswoman said that its investigation into what had been stolen includes a database of past customers, saying: 'We are running the data, we just don't know at the moment. New techniques for attack develop all the time, so TalkTalk constantly updates and reviews our systems to try to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.'


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What to do if you think you are at risk

1. TalkTalk will not call or email customers asking for bank details, ask you to download software or send emails asking for you to provide your password

2. Change your TalkTalk password and any other accounts that use the same password

3. Use a combination of letters (uppercase and lower) and numbers

4. If you detect any unusual activity on your accounts contact your bank and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk

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Government officials have reportedly told the BBC that they view the TalkTalk hack as a crime rather than a national security issue.

Responding to criticism of previous data breaches targeted at TalkTalk, a spokesman said: 'Since the previous attacks, we are working with world leading cyber security experts and investing a lot in making sure our system is as secure as possible.

'Unfortunately no system is ever totally invincible - there was clearly more that should have been done in this case, and I am very sorry for the worry and frustration this attack has caused our customers.'

TalkTalk has already provided details on how to get free credit monitoring alert from Noddle. Here there is how to activate the service for free http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/oct22incident