Business Technology

Wednesday 18 September 2019

TalkTalk cyber attack could cost company nearly £35m

The TalkTalk Headquarters in west London
The TalkTalk Headquarters in west London

Peter Spence

A cyber attack which allowed hackers to gain access to the personal information of TalkTalk customers will cost the company £30m to £35m (€49.4m), it has estimated.

The telecoms giant has said that the details of 4pc of the company’s four million customers were accessed in an attack on October 21. It now believes that it will suffer a £30m to £35m "financial hit", due to "exceptional and one-off costs".

These include the impact on revenue from loss of online sales and the costs of providing customer service in the wake of the personal information hack.

Dido Harding, TalkTalk's chief executive, said that in recognition of the "unavoidable uncertainty" in the aftermath of the cyber attack, the company will offer a choice of free upgrades to customers.

"TalkTalk takes the security of customers' data extremely seriously and we are taking significant further steps to ensure our systems are protected," she added.

TalkTalk said that "while it is too early at this stage to assess the wider impact of the cyber attack on the business, early data on churn and retention activity in the days since the attack is encouraging".

It reported that it was "confident" of delivering full-year results in line with analyst forecasts made before the attack. Shares in the company have lost more than a quarter of their value since news of the hack became public.

The data of 157,000 customers, including email addresses, names and phone numbers were accessed by hackers, along with 15,000 dates of birth, 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes, and 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details.

The company said last month: “Our ongoing forensic analysis of the site confirms that the scale of the attack was much more limited than initially suspected, and we can confirm that only 4pc of TalkTalk customers have any sensitive personal data at risk.

“It was a difficult decision to notify all our customers of the risk before we could establish the real extent of any data loss. We believe we had a responsibility to warn customers ahead of having the clarity we are finally able to give today.”

Ms Harding has apologised for the security breach but said she is under no pressure to resign as a result of it.

Also in Business