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Data Breach Costs TalkTalk £60m, 100,000 Customers

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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TalkTalk says it took longer than expected to get back to normal, but believes it has now recovered from data breach

TalkTalk has admitted the major cyberattack it suffered last year has so far cost the company up to £60 million in terms of lost revenue and exceptional costs, and confirmed 101,000 customers left the company during the most recent quarter.

The telecoms provider says it believes the breach directly resulted in 95,000 lost subscribers and said the attack limited its ability to sell new products via its website – in particular mobile, which is done primarily online.

However, the firm is adamant it has weathered the storm and claims the free upgrade offer it made to customers in the aftermath of the breach has helped improve customer sentiment.

TalkTalk data breach

TalkTalk SIMRevenues increased by 4.5 percent, partly thanks to the addition of 54,000 fibre users and a 13 percent increase in the company’s mobile user base. Addiitonally, TalkTalk Business secured 2,100 new customers, boosting data revenues by 23.2 percent.

“It is encouraging to see the business returning to normal after a challenging quarter that was dominated by the cyber attack,” said TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding. “Our customers have responded well, with almost half a million customers choosing to take up our unconditional offer of a free upgrade.”

Independent figures from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech last month suggested TalkTalk’s share of the home communications market fell by 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, with reliability also a factor.

The scale of the assault was less than originally feared, but 1.2 million email addresses, names and phone numbers were stolen, as were 21,000 account numbers and sort codes and 28,000 partial card details. However, TalkTalk is adamant that the data stolen is not sufficient for the attackers to steal money.

And, only last week, many customers complained that the dial tone on their landline had gone missing, leaving them unable to make or receive phone calls. Furthermore, Ofcom’s recent customer service survey found TalkTalk finished bottom in the landline and broadband categories.

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