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TalkTalk cyber-attack leads to a call for new regulatory powers

TalkTalk cyber-attack leads to a call for new regulatory powers

Experts have said that regulators must be given significant powers in order to attack the escalating issue of online fraud within the UK.

The urge for change arises after millions of customers had their data stolen from the communications company, TalkTalk. A breach which could cause issues for its victims that will last for years to come.

TalkTalk has stated that full credit card details were not stored within its system and that account passwords were not accessed. “We now expect the amount of financial information that may have been accessed to be materially lower than initially believed and would on its own not enable a criminal to take money from your account,” a spokesman added.”

However, some customers have already stated that their bank accounts have been targeted since the breach. To date, information which is believed to have been stolen includes names, addresses, date of births and email addresses of up to four million of its customers.

“With this level of information, fraudsters can create new bank accounts or take out loans under an actual person’s name, causing problems for fraud victims for years down the road,” said Ryan Wilk, director of NuData Security.

It is anticipated that TalkTalk will now have to address the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which has issued guidance to customers who fear their information may have been stolen. The ICO can impose penalties of up to £500,000 for companies which allow data protection breaches to occur.

Experts are concerned that this is only a fraction of the amount which can be imposed within the United States. For example, Telecommunications Company AT&T was recently fined £17 million over date breaches in its Mexico, Colombia and Philippine call centres.

Hazel Blears, the former home office minister has described the TalkTalk data breach as a wake-up call which should prompt a debate about whether further regulation was needed. She continued to suggest that cybercrime was “probably the biggest threat to our economy”.