Advice for TalkTalk customers affected by data breach

Tips and suggestions for TalkTalk customers following the serious data breach affecting the telecoms company’s website.

Posted on 23 October 2015 - Security
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I’m a TalkTalk customer - what should I do?

Official communications from TalkTalk have advised customers to check their bank accounts. That probably gives an indication as to the severity of the breach and offers a good starting point…

Change all your passwords

Having checked your bank account for evidence of any strange activity, the next stage is to change all your passwords. Remember, you might have used your TalkTalk password for another account or there could be sufficient information contained within your stolen data to lead back to an account elsewhere.

Do this today - delaying only increases the risk of your becoming a victim of fraud.

Tips on choosing a strong, memorable password

When you change your passwords, do try to resist the temptation to use the same one across all the various online systems you use. And I know this is hard. The temptation to choose the same one is strong - we are all human and it’s difficult to remember complex passwords. 

Pick a different one for your broadband, your email, your bank, your NHS access, your Netflix account and so on. At the very very minimum, have a password for things like email and broadband and a different password or two for things like bank, credit card and health.

Use a strong password. It should be a combination of letters, numbers upper and lower case and symbols. 

This needn’t be difficult to remember if you use a simple system to make it more memorable. For example, if you want to choose something as obvious as manchesterunited as your password, just follow these steps:

  • Make the last letter of each word a capital (not the first letter).
  • Convert the letters into currency symbols.
  • Pick a memorable number to accompany it.

So “manchesterunited" could instead be “manche$teRuniteD99". Okay, that looks ugly, but it should be memorable and it will be a strong password. 

Your system might change the letter “O” to the number “zero”. For example, “bobdylan” becomes "b0BdylaN”.   

Alternatively, consider using a passphrase and reversing the words in it, too, such as “Blues_The_Sings_Fergus”.

Get a system in your head and stick with it. Your own mini encryption technique, if you like . Something you can remember that creates strong passwords that you don’t need to write down.

Always numbers, letters and symbols. And do it now.

Concerned about being hacked?

Find out other steps you can take to minimise the risk of being targeted by hackers.

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