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Attacks/Breaches

10/26/2015
05:30 PM
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15-Year-Old Arrested For TalkTalk Attack

U.K. police collar Northern Ireland youth for questioning, while security industry tries to make sense of confusing information out of TalkTalk CEO.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested today in Northern Ireland for his suspected involvement in the cyberattacks against British ISP TalkTalk last week, according to the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police.

Met police stated that a house was searched in County Antrim, N.I. and the boy is being held for questioning on suspicion of offenses under the U.K.'s Computer Misuse Act.

Last week, British ISP TalkTalk -- which focuses on the consumer and small business markets -- was the victim of a data breach, most likely caused by a SQL injection attack, which may have exposed data on all its 4 million customers -- including names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, account information, and "incomplete" financial data and truncated credit card numbers. The company has stated that not all of the data was encrypted.

One of its websites was also hit with a denial-of-service attack, which may have been used to distract TalkTalk's IT security team from the attacker's data thievery. After the incidents, the company voluntarily brought the websites back down while they investigated what happened and bolster security.

TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding on Friday told the BBC she had received a ransom demand via email. Saturday, Brian Krebs reported that sources close to the incident told him the attacker demanded £80,000 (~$122,000), payable in Bitcoin, or the company's customer records would be published. Krebs also reported that a security researcher going by the handles Fearful and Glubz had recently posted a vulnerability in a TalkTalk website and said on Twitter that they were expecting a visit from the police.

TalkTalk's CEO, Dido Harding, has been front-and-center. She began speaking to the media soon after the attack was discovered, but some of her messaging has caused greater confusion -- perhaps because of miscommunications with or misunderstandings by the internal IT team. For example, Harding told the Financial Times it was a "sequential" attack, when she meant SQL injection attack. She stated it was just a DDoS on the customer-facing Website and no core systems had been compromised, when a data breach and a doxing threat would indicate there was more to it. 

The company is working with BAE Systems and Scotland Yard on the investigation. They have not yet made any offers for credit reporting or related services to affected customers.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio
 

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nani1
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nani1,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2015 | 1:52:14 AM
Re: Encryption part of story is meaningless -why include it?
he was too intalegent
RobT221
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RobT221,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/10/2015 | 10:06:12 AM
Re: CEO should resign
It's never too late to turn this over to your PRE-defined process to include Incident messaging (InfoSec/CIO) (FAQ questions/answers included). 

Teachable moments are not for your reaction but for your response.  After Action reviews/remediation steps....

 
Ray James
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Ray James,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2015 | 9:27:43 AM
Re: 15 year old arrested for Talk Talk Attack
So not surprising at all.
VaysI512
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VaysI512,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2015 | 6:18:26 AM
15 year old arrested for Talk Talk Attack
The boy is smart enough to hack the talk talk site, he lost his mind in backmailing the CEO of the company.
tedster50
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50%
tedster50,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/30/2015 | 11:53:41 AM
CEO should resign
Pre-breach, a security specialist, Paul Moore, wrote in a blog post that representatives from the TalkTalk CEO's office were "aggressive, defensive and dismissive" when he pointed out that the company's My Account website and webmail service did not use TLS/SSL encryption.  

paul.reviews / value-security-avoid-talktalk

Post breach, the CEO of TalkTalk admits that they did not encrypt any customer financial information but was "not legally required" to do so - because the UK's 1998 Data Protection Act does not explicitly require encryption.
Rene Paap
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Rene Paap,
User Rank: Author
10/29/2015 | 7:09:39 PM
Double dipping due to DDoS
This attack strategy seems to be two-fold: One DDoS attack was launched to take down the website and more importantly, distract the security staff. This may have given the attacker an opportunity to extract customer data records that were not (all) encrypted. Now the attacker has an extortion opportunity and threatens the company to publicize these records. So encryption (or lack thereof) is certainly related to this cyber-crime, though unrelated to the DDoS, technically speaking.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 8:31:08 PM
Re: Encryption part of story is meaningless -why include it?
Encryption is meaningless in attacks like these, but not meaningless overall.  I think it has more to do with the fact that something that ought to have been done should have been done -- regardless of the impact on the present circumstances.  It's like a restaurant being caught up in identity theft of its credit card-paying customers, and then in ensuing investigations finding out that the employees never washed their hands.  The two have nothing to do with each other, but still.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 8:27:03 PM
Re: "Sequential"
I'm not sure about CEOs not being good communicators.  Steve Jobs comes to mind...
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 8:25:58 PM
Re: "Sequential"
@Ryan: Indeed.  I could understand if this was a nimble startup, but not a major ISP or telco!
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 12:08:29 PM
Re: "Sequential"
I hear you, at the same time PR person is critical when there is a security bridge, otherwise things go worse than bridge itself.
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