What’s really happened at TalkTalk (plus something NOT to do with Raquel Welch)

By | October 26, 2015
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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.

6 thoughts on “What’s really happened at TalkTalk (plus something NOT to do with Raquel Welch)

  1. Morris Globe

    Hi Tim

    Just to let you and everyone else know, the Talktalk phone scam is not new.
    I had a call from someone who said they were from talktalk who said I had a problem with my computer. he asked me turn on the computer and he said that I had all sorts of viruses and he could sort it out for me.
    At this point I told him the computer was not even on and that I was going to call the police, the phone went dead!!
    This is similar to the Microsoft scam


  2. Pete Howarth

    My BB provider is Virgin and a few weeks ago I received an email from them to say I hadn’t updated my agreement with them and they sent me an online form to do so. I phoned Virgin on their 150 number to clarify it and they told me it was a scam and to inform their security people, however….
    since this happened In all communications received since then there has been no mention of this scam, nor more importantly a general warning to other Virgin users to take great care – the email was very convincing with all the usual bells and whistled I nearly fell for it. I expected Virgin to care about their customers

  3. John Bishop

    Thanks Tim, for these very useful tips. Please keep them coming.
    In the recent Win 10 package I purchased from you you advise saving all files before moving to the Windows 10 set up. I haven’t yet downloaded Win 10 ( rather apprehensive) I am still on good old Win 7. But when I take the inevitable step what do I do to ensure that my files won’t get wiped?
    As you will have gathered I am very much an amateur.

    1. Tim Post author

      In theory, the files shouldn’t be wiped anyway – and I have to say, I’ve upgraded several PCs now and none of them have lost files, so it’s working in that respect! I’d still be cautious, though.
      I have quite a lot of big files, so before I upgraded I used a portable (USB) hard drive to back everything up, copying everything onto that. But for a lot of people a little flash drive/pen drive/USB stick/whatever you want to call it (they’re all the same thing) will hold enough that you can use that… and you can get one of those for a few pounds.

  4. Christine Linley

    Thank you for all the really helpful information. Its good to know you are there.

  5. doug stevens

    I am glad that awhile back I bought a new phone which holds and displays my phone numbers( this should be universally available) as when my phone rings I look to see who it is and if its not on my list I wait and it soon goes dead if I don’t answer and I also use the same system on my mobile


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