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TalkTalk Hackers Sentenced to Prison

Two individuals were sentenced to prison on Monday for their roles in the 2015 hacking of British telecoms company TalkTalk.

Connor Allsopp, 21, and Matthew Hanley, 23, both from Tamworth, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges last year. Allsopp has been sentenced to 8 months in jail and Hanley to 12 months.

The TalkTalk breach was disclosed in October 2015 and the company initially said the incident had affected over 1 million customers. It later determined that only 156,959 customers, representing four percent of the total, were affected.

The attackers obtained names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers, but in roughly 15,000 cases they also accessed financial information.

Some of the hackers attempted to blackmail the telecoms company’s then-CEO, Dido Harding, using the stolen data.

The total loss suffered by TalkTalk has been estimated at £77 million ($99 million). The amount includes a £400,000 ($510,000) fine from the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Another individual involved in the TalkTalk hack was handed a 12-month rehabilitation order back in December 2016. The suspect was 17 at the time so he was not named.

Several people, mainly teenagers, were arrested in the weeks following the TalkTalk data breach over their alleged role, including for hacking and blackmail.

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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.