TalkTalk customers offered free upgrades following hack


TALKTALK are offering a range of free upgrades to all their customers, following last month's data breach.

From December 1st, TalkTalk customers will be able to add one of the following products to their packages, at no additional cost, and with no additional commitment:

Customers have until December 31st to make their choice; TalkTalk say they'll "be in touch soon" with details about how users should go about upgrading their service.

They're also offering customers a new bundle of online and telephone security features.

No escape

In the meantime, they say customers should "remain vigilant", taking "all precautions possible" to protect themselves from scam calls and emails.

TalkTalk's "gesture of thanks" is designed in part to try to stem the flow of customers to other providers.

Many of the ISP's customers say they have lost faith in TalkTalk's ability to keep their data safe. After all, the October breach was the third in a year - we've covered the other two here and here.

What's more, they angered many when they said that customers would still be penalised for leaving their contracts early unless they'd lost out financially as a direct result of the hack.

This is likely to be relatively few people, as the number of accounts compromised was actually far lower than expected.

When news of the hack broke, TalkTalk warned that all four million of their customers could be affected.

Since then it has emerged that the hackers only gained access to 157,000 accounts.

Not enough information

Although 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were stolen, the ISP are adamant that the thieves don't have enough other information to be able to use those details to make transactions for themselves.

As with previous data breaches, it's thought that criminals will be most likely to use stolen contact and account details to run phishing scams, aimed at getting people to reveal additional personal information.

A TalkTalk spokesperson has tried to play the hack down, saying that "only 4% of TalkTalk customers have any sensitive personal data at risk".

In the meantime, TalkTalk are trying to appear super security conscious as they try to limit the long term damage.

As mentioned above, they're offering customers a new security package, including a web filter, anti-virus protection, and a range of call-blocking options.

TalkTalk's chief executive, Dido Harding, said that they were also taking "significant further steps to ensure our systems are protected".

Taking a beating?

More on TalkTalk
TalkTalk's broadband - reviewed here
How their TV compares with BT's
Do they beat Plusnet on price?

We could be forgiven for assuming that three significant data breaches in the space of a year would be bad for business.

However, TalkTalk's recently released half year results show that they expect to make £300 million in profits before tax this year.

Admittedly the results do not include the period covering the immediate aftermath of the most recent cyber-attack, in which confidence in the company has gone up and down depending on each day's revelations.

Ms Harding says that the bill for the clean-up operation could be as much as £35 million.

That covers the cost of their response to the breach, including work to secure and improve their IT and technology, and the likely impact of the accounts and sales sections of the TalkTalk website being down for the past three weeks.

People trying to access those parts of the site have been redirected to a holding page, with those wanting to find out more about the ISP's deals being told to call them instead. Ms Harding says there will undoubtedly be a loss of revenue as a result.

It's too early to tell exactly what effect the attack has had on customer numbers - but TalkTalk seem determined not to let anyone go without a fight.

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