TalkTalk Offers Free ‘Upgrades’ After £35m Cyberattack

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TalkTalk says it wants to recognise the uncertainty following last month’s major cyberattack and has put a figure on the cost of the assault

TalkTalk is offering free services to customers following the major cyberattack last month, with the company telling investors that the incident is likely to cost between £30 and £35 million.

Around four percent of users, or 157,000 customers, had personal details sotlen, including 16,500 account details and 20,000 card details.

Although this is significantly less than first feared, TalkTalk said it wanted to recognise the “unavoidable uncertainty” caused by the attack – even for those not directly affected.

Hack fallout

Dido Harding TalkTalk CEO LandscapeCustomers will be able to choose a ‘selection’ of additional TV content, a mobile SIM with various allowances, unlimited UK and landline calls, and a broadband ‘health check’ from an engineer. Users will also have access to a bundle of security products to minimise risk from online and phone scams.

This tactic was employed by Sony after the Playstation Network was hacked in 2011. Customer details were stolen and the onling gaming service was out of action for three weeks. Players were compensated with free games and subscriptions, although more formal compensation was offered four years later.

TalkTalk told investors it was right to reward customers’ “loyalty”, although many will not have a choice given that only those who have money stolen have the ability to terminate their contacts early.

“TalkTalk takes the security of customers’ data extremely seriously and we are taking significant further steps to ensure our systems are protected, as well as writing to all our customers outlining what we are doing to keep their data safe,” said CEO Dido Harding. “In recognition of the unavoidable uncertainty, and because we know that doing what is right for our customers will ensure the best possible outcome for the company over the longer term, we are today announcing the offer of a choice of free upgraded services to all our customers.”

So far four people have been arrested in connection with the attack, which took place on 21 October.

The cyberattack has overshadowed a good first half of the fiscal year for TalkTalk, during which revenues rose 4.7 percent to £912 million. The company now has 3.7 million broadband customers, of which 16 percent now take fibre, as well as 596,000 mobile users and 1.4 million TV customers.

The company plans to move customers on its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) from the Vodafone network to O2 next year with the intention of creating an ‘inside out’ infrastructure powered by the O2 macro network and femtocells. TalkTalk is also holding trials of fibre to the premise (FTTP) in York with Sky and CityFibre, with 262 participants.

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