Firms urged to stay alert to cyber threats

TalkTalk has suffered three cyber attacks in the last eight months

TalkTalk has suffered three cyber attacks in the last eight months

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In the wake of last week’s “significant and sustained cyber attack” on the TalkTalk website, a seminar in Edinburgh will this week hear how firms can take control when hackers strike.

The event takes place on Thursday at the offices of law firm Pinsent Masons, which said a recent study found only a third of firms believed they were well-equipped to deal with cyber risks.

Legal director David Woods will tell the seminar that businesses of all sizes must be alert to cyber threats and other hostile acts that undermine their digital reputation.

“In the new digital world threats to reputational damage come from all quarters and a potential cyber attack, such as the TalkTalk incident, or a social media backlash, are two serious threats that businesses must face up to,” Woods said.

“Whether a cyber attack involves online theft or exploitation of intellectual property, business information and customer data, or a denial of service, it strikes at the heart of any organisation, and for most organisations the question is not whether they will suffer a security incident, but when they will be hit, and what they will do when it happens.”

The seminar will discuss action plans for dealing with large-scale disruption and how to protect brand reputation in the face of a social media onslaught.

Woods added: “The rise of social media has added a new dimension and pace to reputation-management and it’s imperative your business has a plan on how to deal with online negativity.

“Previously, companies only had to worry about what individual customers or the media had to say, but with an ‘always-on media’ a single tweet can destabilise stock prices, impact on sales, unsettle staff and damage a brand.”

Scotland Yard is investigating the TalkTalk attack alongside the National Crime Agency. A ransom demand was sent to the telecoms giant following the attack by someone claiming to be responsible and seeking payment. The firm said it was not sure if the message was genuine.

The latest breach is the third in a spate of cyber attacks affecting TalkTalk in the last eight months, with breaches in August and February also resulting in customers’ data being stolen.

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