What Does The TalkTalk Hack Mean For Me?
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There are some great, discount iPhone deals to be had right now but TalkTalk. The beleaguered UK mobile Network has seen online sales drop because it's been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Most notably, the poor Chief Executive faced calls to resign over a hacking scandal that rocked the UK news outlets.
Customers were upset by their treatment as the panic ensued but Dido Harding stood firm and refused to go.
So what happened?
It seemed that the TalkTalk customer database was hacked and the details of thousands of customers was stolen along with credit card information.
The news was bad and once again the public were fearful that their credit card details and identities would be used by criminals.
Let's be clear, this type of criminal event happens with alarming regularity and there appears to be nothing anyone can do about it.
We are now 3 weeks on from the initial news and things have quietened down a bit after the initial reports that 'Dido was a Dodo', and the sky was going to fall down.
The good news, as reported by the BBC and the Telegraph is that only 157,000 accounts were hacked. In addition, the credit card details of each were 'orphaned' from the customer records.
This means that there is no link between the credit card details and the customer.
So as TalkTalk customers now appear to be safe from financial ruin, what's next and what do we think at iPhonesbaby?
Well I for one have some sympathy with Ms. Harding, the Chief Executive of TalkTalk.
I shall explain why because I did not see any reports in the mainstream news outlets that took up these points.
Pretty much no news was sympathetic to TalkTalk.
Why They Should Have Been Given A Break
- Talk Talk are not the only company to have been hacked
- Walmart, JP Morgan, Vodafone, The White House and others have all been hacked
- The hacked company is actually the victim in all this
- Hacking can be likened to burglary and we rarely blame those victims
- Hackers who steal information are highly skilled criminals
So my point is that TalkTalk are innocent victims in all this. They have the same status as their customers who's details have been stolen.
Similar to a burglary in nature, a hacking event is organised by criminals who are rather determined to get around all the security that is in place.
To illustrate my point, when the recent Hatton Garden diamond burglary took place pretty much no-one blamed the premises that were broken into. They were the victims as much as their customers.
TalkTalk is the same as a burglary victim. They had industry standard security measures in place, but could not resist the hackers.
So As A Customer Of This Company What Can I Do?
The sensible advice is to diversify and randomise your behaviour as much as possible.
In practice this means using different usernames and passwords for each account that you have. If possible, use a different credit card for each and have a low limit on each card to place a low bar on any theft that might occur.
I know some people that use an online-only bank account for all of their direct debits to companies like TalkTalk.
By this I mean that they have a special, separate account that they top up every month. It is this account that they then use for all online based accounts.
This account will only ever contain a certain amount of cash and have no overdraft facility. Any theft will, therefore be limited.
On the other side, it is also important to limit the amount of personal information that you share on social networks.
I.e. Are you sure that your mothers Maiden name cannot be found on the Internet? That is a common security question and it would be good to know if the information is out there.
If you do find it on Google, then change your security question to something much more obscure. 'What was the name of your first pet?' is a reasonably good one as no-one will know the answer and you are unlikely to have publicly shared that on facebook.
If You Are A TalkTalk Customer Should You Be Concerned?
Fortunately for all, the hack doesn't mean very much as you are highly unlikely to have any money stolen as a result.
However, you should take precautions like changing your online passwords and security questions. Add some additional security to the bank account or credit card that you store with TalkTalk.
Most accounts have 2 step security
Most accounts have 2 step security or a text-back service if there is a transaction request.
If you really are panicked and want to take the highest precaution, then go ahead and give TalkTalk a new credit card number or bank account to work with and limit that account as I have described above.
All in all, it has been an exciting few weeks for the UK press but not much has happened after all that can damage customers.
However, here is an update from 17 November 2015
The main danger appears to be that some fraudsters have got hold of TalkTalk customer telephone numbers.
They are phoning these customers pretending to be TalkTalk and asking questions about the customers Broadband router or connection.
The Which? report have detailed a specific case of this type of telephone fraud in which a customer lost a lot of money.
This conversation can lead to the fraudster gaining access to the customer's computer and therefore the information on it.
People have allowed access to their computers because they believed it to be a genuine call from TalkTalk.
These fraudsters are not based in the UK but they are using UK phone numbers to call in from, making them look legitimate
My advice would be to hang up on this fraudster call and instead phone the TalkTalk genuine helpline number on their website to reassure you that there is, in fact no problem with your Broadband.
TalkTalk are still one of the most reasonable mobile networks in the UK and you can pick up some great iPhone 6 upgrades on their Network. So go ahead and spoil yourself!