Following the 21st October cyber attack on the UK’s telecoms company TalkTalk the firm’s management have been facing the press to allay fears of customers over potential future security problems.
The company’s chief executive Dido Harding believes the network’s cybersecurity is far more stringent than that of its competitors whilst reports have also emerged that the recent attack may have been less serious than previously reported.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper in an in-depth interview, Harding commenting, “We are understandably the punchball for everybody wanting to make a point at the moment. Nobody is perfect. God knows, we’ve just demonstrated that our website security wasn’t perfect – I’m not going to pretend it is – but we take it incredibly seriously.”
“On that specific vulnerability, it’s much better than it was and we are head and shoulders better than some of our competitors and some of the media bodies that were throwing those particular stones.”
Unfortunately for Harding, TalkTalk have still been unable to calculate exactly how many of its database of four million customers had their privacy violated by last Wednesday’s attack, which saw clients’ personal data such as names, addresses and some bank account details taken. Harding stated that it is too early to say whether the company will offer customers compensation for having their data hacked, whilst the company insisted that the amount of information leaked was ‘materially lower than first feared’. The firm were held to ransom by the hackers before going public about the security breach but have not revealed whether they had paid up on the ransom demands.
Specialists from BAE Systems were reportedly called to step in and track down the cyber criminals, whilst staff from Scotland Yard’s cybercrime team are on the case. The company are also unable to guarantee that another attack would be prevented and this is not the first time TalkTalk’s networks have been hacked.
About the possibility of future attacks Harding told the Guardian, “It would be naive to say something like this will never happen again to any business. Digital safety is no different to physical safety. You can do your upmost to minimise it. You can arm yourself to protect yourself, but in the end there are criminals everywhere and that’s the way of the world. It’s usually tempting to say there will never ever be another attack but that would be naive.”
Industry analysts have openly criticised TalkTalk’s security systems in the past and say that the company’s reacted slowly and poorly to breaches, failing to encrypt and make data secure.