You’ve probably heard all the kerfuffle about TalkTalk’s website being hacked in the news.
I thought I should go over what it matters to you.
First of all, if you don’t use TalkTalk for your email/broadband and you never have, then it shouldn’t really affect you at all. I’d still recommend reading what’s below, though, in case it ever happens to whoever you do have your broadband through. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.
But what if you do use TalkTalk? Well, they’ve probably already emailed you and possibly written to you about it. But the main advice is to stay calm, don’t panic, but do take it seriously.
As I write, they’re not sure whether the hackers managed to get hold of credit card details or not. It might not even be what they’re after.
But it’s possible – so I’d keep a very close eye on the bank or card statements for whatever card you use to pay for your broadband. Make sure there are no charges that aren’t ones you recognise and if there are, contact your bank straight away. It’d be worth letting ActionFraud know too – that’s the police group that will be investigating the people behind this attack. The more they know, the better. (Their contact details are on their website: www.actionfraud.police.uk )
The good news is that provided you let your bank know straight away you spot any dodgy transactions, you shouldn’t be liable.
It’s also possible that the hackers didn’t manage to get at card details. You still need to keep your wits about you, though, as they almost certainly got hold of details including names and phone numbers… and some other personal details. They could easily ring you and pretend to be from TalkTalk, make it convincing by giving you personal details about you that TalkTalk would know and then ask for you to give you bank details. So be very wary of any phone calls claiming to be from TalkTalk in the next few days, if they ask for any important details like bank numbers.
Of course, I’m sure lots of people will be considering switching to a different broadband company – though it won’t help in the short term as the information is already stolen.
One other thing I’ve not seen anyone mention so far: even if you’re no longer a TalkTalk customer but you recently were, you should still be on the alert. If you recently were a customer, then it’s quite possible TalkTalk were still holding some of your data – and it could be important things like your card number. So even if you’ve recently stopped using TalkTalk, keep an eye on your account.
A group claiming to be a Russian (Soviet Russian no less – somewhat out of date…) jihadist group have said they’re responsible… and seem to have data to back it up. Of course, they could be lying about who they are… or they could be telling the truth. Who knows.
The official TalkTalk page about this is at http://help2.talktalk.co.uk/oct22incident – it might be worth keeping an eye on this in case there’s any more news on exactly what data was lost.
(By the way, if you have a Tiscali email address, they’re part of TakTalk nowadays too, so I’m afraid it all applies to you too.)
Backgrounds and making things easier on the eye
Now, to be clear, when I talk about making things easier on the eye, I’m not talking about Raquel Welch (I always thought she was better in the Three Musketeers than One Million Years BC), Brad Pitt or whoever.
I mean literally – making it easier for your eyes.
I thought about it the other day when using an iPad – some of the background pictures you can have make it quite hard to read the writing on the home screen.
It tends to be where there are areas of dark and light bits in the picture. It’s clever enough to change the writing under the icons to black or white depending on whether the photo is mainly light or dark, so it stands out. But if there are light and dark areas, some of the writing is going to be hard to read.
Either the white writing will be hard to read over light bits of the photo or black writing will be hard to read over the dark bits of the photo.
It’s not just for iPads, either. You have a similar situation on other tablets, on smartphones (in act even more so as they tend to have smaller writing so it’s even harder to read) and even on a normal PC.
So here’s a very simple tip: if you find it hard to read the writing on the home screen, choose a background that’s more or less all one colour, rather than a photo with lots of different colours in.
There are all sorts of fancy systems to make it easier to read the text on screen – but simply having a plainer background might be all you need.