Security Experts:

TalkTalk Hack: Suspect Arrested for Blackmail

British authorities have arrested another individual as part of the investigation into the recent data breach suffered by the telecoms company TalkTalk.

The suspect, an 18-year-old boy from the town of Llanelli in Dyfed, Wales, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of blackmail.

After news broke that TalkTalk had been hit by distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks and suffered a data breach, the company’s CEO, Dido Harding, told the media that they received an email demanding the payment of a ransom. Paying the ransom would put a stop to the DDoS attacks and prevent the stolen data from being leaked.

It’s possible that this fifth suspect was arrested in connection to this extortion attempt. Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Cyber Crime Unit and officers from the Southern Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit executed a search warrant at the boy’s home.

The suspect, taken into custody at a Dyfed Powys police station, has been released on bail until March 2016, similar to three other individuals arrested in connection to the investigation.

Three male teenagers and a man were previously arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences. The suspects, none of whom were named, are a 15-year-old from Northern Ireland, two 16-year-olds from Feltham and Norwich, and a 20-year-old from Staffordshire. They all have been bailed pending further inquiries.

TalkTalk admitted suffering a data breach on October 22, several days after the company’s systems were hit by a serious DDoS attack. While the telecoms firm initially believed that a large number of customers might be affected, the final report on the incident shows that only 4 percent of users have been impacted.

More precisely, the attackers managed to access the personal details of nearly 157,000 customers. Roughly 15,000 bank account numbers and sort codes, and 28,000 partial debit and credit card numbers were also compromised.

The company has partnered with Noddle to provide one year of free credit monitoring services to affected customers.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.