British police arrest teen over TalkTalk hack

Reuters, LONDON

Wed, Oct 28, 2015 - Page 7

Police on Monday arrested a 15-year-old boy in Northern Ireland over a cyberattack that may have led to the theft of data from among the 4 million subscribers of British broadband provider TalkTalk.

The attack, which took place on Wednesday last week, prompted the company to deny accusations of laxity and say its security was “head and shoulders” above that of its competitors.

However, it has led to calls for greater regulation of how companies and public bodies manage personal data.

A ransom demand was received by TalkTalk on Friday. Since then, the firm has said the attack was not as serious as first feared and it did not believe those behind it would be able to steal money from its customers.

“A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences,” London’s Metropolitan Police said.

“He has been taken into custody at a County Antrim police station where he will later be interviewed,” it said in a statement, adding police officers were searching an address in Northern Ireland in connection with the arrest.

A spokeswoman for TalkTalk said the company had been informed of the arrest.

“We are grateful for the swift response and hard work of the police. We will continue to assist in the ongoing investigation,” she said in a statement.

TalkTalk on Sunday said it had hired defense company BAE Systems to investigate the cyberattack.

As well as anger from its customers, TalkTalk is likely to face tough questioning from British lawmakers about the adequacy of its defenses against cyberattacks.

The parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee has said it will conduct an inquiry on data protection, which will likely see TalkTalk executives summoned to appear.