Are you affected by the latest cyber-attack?

On Wednesday 21st October 2015, TalkTalk’s website was breached due to a cyber-attack, affecting all their customers. In this article Jonathan Davies explains what you can do if you are affected by a cyber-attack and the steps you can take to minimise your future risk.

If you are a current OR previous TalkTalk customer, we strongly recommend you change your account password. At the time of writing, the TalkTalk “My Account” website is down and should be up in the next couple of days. The two phone numbers below will allow you speak with a TalkTalk representative and they will send you a password reset email at your request:

Residential Customers (non-business): 0870 444 1820 Business Customer (tel): 0800 083 3003 Business Customer (web): (

What is a “Cyber-Attack”?

Cyber-attacks are orchestrated by individuals or organisations that target any technology connected to the internet; including personal devices, computer infrastructures and computer systems. The act for this “targeting” can be for numerous reasons:

  • To bring systems down and cause disruption
  • To steal personal information
  • To mimic a user
  • For personal recognition

In TalkTalk’s case, an individual or organisation have attempted to gain access to personal user information of current and previous customers of TalkTalk. TalkTalk released a statement on the 22nd October 2015 stating that the following data may have been accessed:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • TalkTalk account information
  • Credit card details and/or bank details

Click to read TalkTalk’s statement here

What can you do to make your system secure?

In order to minimise the risk of your systems being compromised, you can:

Keep your software up to date, including;

  • Operating System
  • Browsers
  • Anti-Virus and Line of Business Applications

Make sure your passwords are secure

  • Avoid using common passwords, try to include at least one upper case letter, a number and a special character
  • If any company sends you a password in clear text as part of a password reset process, avoid using them as they are storing your password insecurely
  • Enable two-factor authentication where possible, such as a text or email verification code
  • If you have cause to suspect your password may have been compromised, change this as soon as possible
  • Try to avoid using the same password in multiple locations/websites where possible.

Verify the authenticity of an organisation or individual that are contacting you directly

  • If you are asked for any personal information, you can contact the company direct via email or phone, to verify the request at hand.
  • Never click on email links or attachments that you believe may be fraudulent

Install Anti-Virus software

  • Secure your network infrastructure. Configure firewalls, close ports that are not required, use intrusion monitoring tools and conduct regular penetration tests that simulate cyber-attacks

Encrypt your data

  • Consider using encryption tools to protect your data from any cyber-attacks, such as Bitlocker if you have appropriate hardware/software, or software-based encryption provided by companies such as Sophos or Symantec

Furthermore, GCHQ released a guideline of “10 steps to Cyber Security”.

What are Waterstons doing about this Cyber-Attack?

Waterstons are getting in touch with all of our clients that currently have accounts with TalkTalk and who have previously used TalkTalk. We will be encouraging our clients to change their account password and keep a close eye on any fraudulent activities including:

  • If you are contacted asking for bank details, passwords or personal information
  • Any unknown transactions on your bank account

If you do notice any fraudulent activity, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0345 094 0944 or the Action Fraud team, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting on 0300 123 2040 or If you are a current or previous client and we have not got in contact with you yet, please call the Service Desk on 0345 094 0944.

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