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TalkTalk hack attack: Friends jailed for cyber crimes

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Two Staffordshire men admitted charges after an attack on the TalkTalk website

Two friends who took part in a £77 million hack on the TalkTalk website have been jailed.

Matthew Hanley, 23, and Connor Allsopp, 21, both from Tamworth in Staffordshire, admitted their roles in the massive 2015 data breach which affected 1.6 million accounts.

Hanley, described as a “dedicated hacker”, shared details of more than 8,000 customers with Allsopp.

At the Old Bailey, Hanley was jailed for 12 months and Allsopp for eight.

Sentencing, Judge Anuja Dhir QC said they were “individuals of extraordinary talent”.

“I’m sure that your actions caused misery and distress to the many thousands of the customers at TalkTalk,” she said.

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The court accepted that neither Hanley nor Allsopp had “exposed the vulnerability in [TalkTalk’s] systems… but you at different times joined in,” Judge Dhir said.

‘Little present’

In November 2015, a 17-year-old boy admitted posting details of a chink in the firm’s online security, sparking the breach.

Analysis by BAE Systems suggested there may have been up to 10 attackers.

Hanley also obtained computer files including names and passwords for server systems belonging to Nasa, after a Skype contact forwarded the details as “a little present”.

TalkTalk spotted issues with its site on 21 October 2015 and launched an investigation before warning customers the following day.

This led to its then-CEO Dido Harding being subjected to blackmail attempts, with hackers demanding Bitcoin in exchange for the stolen data.

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