So you are a Talk Talk customer, and you heard on the news today that they have suffered from a cyber attack, but what does that mean to you? What do you actually need to do?
At the moment the attack is being investigated and they really still don’t know what information might have been compromised, so at the moment you need to play safe and stay extra vigilant. Our hints on what this practically means to you are as follows:
Be very wary if you receive any calls from anyone claiming to be Talk Talk, and under no circumstances give any personal information to anyone over the phone. You will never be asked for passwords or pin codes over the phone from any reputable company.
If you think the call is trustworthy then ask for a customer reference number and call them back ON A NUMBER YOU HAVE FROM YOUR PAPERWORK OR AGREEMENT, not one they give you over the phone. If you can call back on a different phone, for example if they call on landline call back from a mobile that is even better. There are examples where people put the phone down and think they have called back, but the caller never disconnected so you are still talking to the same person when you call back.
Emails can look very convincing, Xero have sent a message out today too about phishing scams which look very realistic. The email itself might refer to the attack which has been widely publicised to make it look even more realistic.
If an email contains a link for you to click then be suspicious too, as it could take you through to an official looking website where they harvest your details when you attempt to log in. Hover your mouse over the link and see if the page it is taking you too looks real – although this is not always enough to be sure you are safe.
If you are suspicious about an email then call the customer service line of the company involved, or often they have a dedicated phishing email address you can forward the email to and ask if it is genuine. Browse to the site using the usual web address you use rather than click on the link if you feel you need to log in and check your account.
Check your Bank Account
Check your balance regularly and look out for out of the ordinary or transactions you may not have authorised. Even very small transactions should be investigated as sometimes criminals will try and take a small amount of money, and if that goes through unnoticed they follow up by taking a larger amount. Also think about it, if every Talk Talk customer has just 50p taken from their account, imagine how much money they will actually have stolen.
If you spot any activity you are not sure about then contact your bank straight away, and also inform Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Definitely change your Talk Talk password as soon as you get the chance.
Try and have a different password for each website you use. If you do use the same password on your Talk Talk site as you use in other places then you need to change them all. I strongly advice you make your new Talk Talk password as unique as possible, whilst of course being able to remember it.
There are software tools available to download to save complex passwords, which are a very good idea for any sites which use your bank details or contain sensitive information. For any advice on password management then get in touch with Paul here at Silicon Bullet on 01604 420057 and he can recommend the best solution for you.
A tricks you can use to create a seemingly random password which actually means something to you is to use the first letter of each word in a memorable phrase or a song lyric, that way you should be able to remember the password or have a cryptic reminder to yourself written somewhere. Add a number or character in there somewhere too replacing a letter if that is what the website demands.
So if you are a Talk Talk customer don’t panic, just be extra vigilant and take extra precautions with your passwords, and you shouldn’t suffer any adverse affects from their cyber hack.