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TalkTalk hack: Over a million email addresses leaked

TalkTalk has finally begun to reveal the scale of the damage caused by the much-publicised hack, which took its website offline on October 21.  

While TalkTalk isn’t revealing the exact numbers involved, the UK’s fourth-largest ISP by subscriber size has confirmed that ‘less than 1.2 million’ customers contact details, including email addresses, names and phone numbers were leaked as a result of the attack. 

That’s equivalent to roughly a quarter of all of TalkTalk’s residential broadband customers. 

On top of this, under 21,000 bank account numbers and sort codes have been leaked, along with under 28,000 credit and debit card details. 

Related: TalkTalk customer data hack – What should I do? and How to create a strong passwordWhile TalkTalk sensibly had encrypted the credit and debit card numbers – the middle six digits were removed from all stored numbers – what’s worrying is that around 15,000 dates of birth have also been exposed by the attack. 

Dates of birth are used by banks, retailers and services to verify the identities of customers and, combined with contact details and credit card information, could potentially be used to access people’s bank accounts. 

In an email to TalkTalk customers, CEO Dido Harding said that the company had shared the details of affected customers with the relevant UK banks, ‘so they can take their usual actions to protect accounts in the highly unlikely event that a criminal attempts to defraud them.’

Harding also reiterated that no TalkTalk MyAccount passwords were accessed in the attack.  
“On behalf of everyone at TalkTalk, I would like to apologise to all our customers. We know that we need to work hard to earn back your trust and everyone here is committed to doing that,” Harding added. 

On Thursday, 29 October, officers from the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) arrested a 16-year old boy in Feltham on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences. The boy who has yet to be named has been released on bail. Officers have also searched a residential address in Liverpool, but no arrests were made. 

This follows the arrest of a 15-year old boy from County Antrim, Northern Ireland on Monday, 26 October, by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

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