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TalkTalk reveals cost of cyber attack

Tuesday, February 2nd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

TalkTalk lost 100,000 customers in the three months following its latest cyber attack, costing it a total of £60m.

As it released its results for October to December 2015, the company’s CEO Dido Harding admitted it had been a “challenging quarter” but insisted that things were looking up.

In October last year, TalkTalk revealed that up to 21,000 unique bank accounts and sort codes, 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details, 15,000 customer dates of birth and 1.2m customer email addresses, names and phone numbers had been accessed.

The company said this was “significantly less than originally suspected” and ensured customers it was doing everything it could to investigate and remedy the situation.

TalkTalk’s quarterly results, out today, reveal the full extent of the damage caused by its latest hack.

It said it had lost around 101,000 customers, of which 95,000 were put down to the cyber attack.

The trading impact of the cyber attack was put at £15m, with ‘exceptional costs’ relating to the attack estimated at £40-45m.

Ms Harding said: “It is encouraging to see the business returning to normal after a challenging quarter that was dominated by the cyber attack.

“Our customers have responded well, with almost half a million customers choosing to take up our unconditional offer of a free upgrade.

“Both churn and new connections recovered during December and January, and independent external research has revealed that customers believe that we acted in their best interest.

“In fact trust in the TalkTalk brand has improved since just after the attack and consideration is higher now than it was before the incident.”

She said a “renewed focus” on its existing customers will help improve profits, and added: “As the value for money telecoms provider we are well placed to benefit from the current regulatory reviews in the sector and expect to see quad play driving sustainable long-term growth.”

'Forensic review'

Last week, TalkTalk revealed that three people had been arrested at a call centre it uses in Kolkata.

The provider said it had been carrying out a “forensic review” after the October 2015 cyber attack to make sure that all aspects of its security are as robust as possible, including its suppliers.

It said it had been working with Wipro, a call centre provider to TalkTalk and a number of other major businesses, as well as the local police in Kolkata.

In a statement it said: “Acting on information supplied by TalkTalk, the local police have arrested three individuals who have breached our policies and the terms of our contract with Wipro. We are also reviewing our relationship with Wipro.

“We are determined to identify and deal effectively with these issues and we will continue to devote significant resource to keeping our customers’ data safe.

“Data theft and scams are a growing issue affecting all businesses and they are notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute.

“We are pleased that our investigations have yielded results, and will continue to do everything we can to tackle these crimes.”

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