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TalkTalk hack: Police make fifth arrest on blackmail charges

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Now that we know the full extent of the TalkTalk hack, the whole affair has started to quieten down. Police are still pursuing the people responsible though and now, we've been told that a fifth suspect has been arrested. Officers used a search warrant on a property in Llanelli, Wales, before apprehending an 18-year-old boy on suspicion of blackmail. Unlike the other four suspects that have been arrested -- a 15-year-old from Northern Ireland, a 16-year-old from Feltham in London, a 16-year-old from Norwich and a 20-year-old man from south Staffordshire -- he hasn't been released on bail, at least not yet. At this time, he also isn't suspected of any Computer Misuse Act offences.

TalkTalk confirmed the hack on October 23rd, meaning 4 million customers were potentially at risk. Chief executive Dido Harding later confirmed that the company had received a digital ransom note, although the sender and terms were never disclosed. Police quickly launched an investigation and within a few days, TalkTalk was able to confirm the stolen data was "materially lower than initially believed." Eventually we got some ballpark figures, followed by definitive numbers: 156,959 customers had their personal details stolen, of which 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed. Furthermore, 28,000 credit and debit card numbers were taken, but these were obscured and TalkTalk claims they can't be used for any financial transactions.

While the police continue their investigation, the UK's Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched an inquiry into the attack. TalkTalk and its defences are clearly the focus -- the company will no doubt be required to give evidence -- but there's also interest in the wider telecoms and ISP industry, and whether it can do more to protect customer data.

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