Another day, another major corporation seriously letting its customers down.
The details about the TalkTalk cyber-attack have finally been becoming clear this week. Basically, TalkTalk’s systems were breached by hackers who managed to raid them of customer details.
Although exploitable financial information was not successfully recovered, hackers did manage to obtain email addresses, unencrypted passwords and TalkTalk account information.
Unlike VW, this may not have been an intentional deception of TalkTalk’s customers, but the negligence displayed in protecting customers’ data certainly represents a similar disregard for customer interest.
Similarly disappointing and reminiscent of Volkswagen’s poor behaviour are TalkTalk’s efforts to make things right. The most Talk Talk could bring itself to do is waive cancellation penalties for customers who can prove they have been affected and want to leave their contracts early.
So far, no financial compensation and no help for those customers who want to leave TalkTalk but have, as yet, not been affected by the data breach.
As many cyber experts have been quick to point out, the TalkTalk hack does not represent only an immediate danger to customers. Rather, the stolen data will be sold on and passed amongst thieves, hackers and fraudsters. It could be a matter of days, months or even years, but those customers who have their data shared could have many a nasty surprise awaiting them.
For example, fraudsters have been known to try and convince TalkTalk customers they are calling or emailing from TalkTalk, providing customer IDs and passwords obtained in the hack as evidence of who they are. Some customers have then been duped into disclaiming sensitive financial information or even giving fraudsters direct access to their bank accounts.
The root cause of all these problems is TalkTalk and their inability to protect (or even encrypt) customer information.
It is certainly not right for TalkTalk customers to force those who can’t afford to leave their contract to stay, when this entails allowing TalkTalk to carry on as guardians of their sensitive personal information. Furthermore, for the distress and hassle (cancelling cards, identity checking services etc) customers have experienced we believe TalkTalk compensation should be paid just as VW should pay-up.