Survivor

 In ITC's Threat of the Week

On Monday this week TalkTalk announced changes to pricing which will see approximately half of its users take an increase in fees. The reasons given for the price rise were the usual ‘simplification’, ‘streamlining’ etc. You can read the article here.

On Tuesday this week, after a lengthy and detailed investigation, the Information Commissioners Office fined TalkTalk a record £400,000 for the data breach in October 2015 in which 156,959 sets of personal details were accessed including, in 15,656 cases, bank account details. You can read the article here.

The report was incredibly critical of TalkTalk’s security saying that basic precautions such as patching back-end systems and keeping code up to date and supported were not taken. Very far from the picture painted by Baroness Harding of Winscombe or Dido Harding to her friends, who claimed at the time that TalkTalk was ‘head and shoulders above some of our competitors’, as you can read here.

The maximum fine that the ICO can dish out currently (European legislation pending in very confusing circumstances) is £500,000 and with a report like this it is hard to see what you would have to do to get the full penalty.

Representing just £2.55 per user’s details breached, £400,000 doesn’t seem like a great deal of money, certainly not to an organisation that has just hiked its prices and apparently pays The Baroness £2.8 million per year which is allegedly three times more than at the time of the breach. Astonishing.

Across the ocean another survival specialist, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, having spent the prior week trying to quench the raging fires and reputational damage caused by the admission that half a billion users data had been exposed in 2014 (a fact that she may well have been sitting on since then), awoke to find that members of the intelligence community had revealed that Yahoo routinely and programmatically scanned users emails on behalf of the NSA, as you can read here.

As bad weeks go, this has to be up there. One could almost feel sorry for Ms Mayer who is paid something like $35 million a year and stands to receive $122,578,795 from the forthcoming sale to Verizon (Read this article). Almost.

In the (amended) words of the (only) famous Survivor song: ‘Rising up, straight to the top, had the guts, got the glory, went the distance now i’m not gonna stop, just a woman and her will to survive’.

Who knows where all this will shake out? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Yahoo the mini series.

If you would like to discuss online privacy or get a recommendation for an email provider, please contact us at: enquiries@itcsecure.com or call us on 020 7517 3900.

Author: Kevin Whelan

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