TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding has come out fighting following a weekend of negative press and fuming customers, insisting the firm is simply the “punchball” and that its data security is “head and shoulders above rivals”.
Her stance is in sharp contrast to Friday, when Harding issued a grovelling apology for the breach, which it was claimed could have affected the firm’s entire 4 million-strong customer base, with highly personal and valuable information at risk.
However, it would appear her fightback has been sparked by claims that the amount of information that was breached was “materially lower” than first feared and insists it would be impossible for customers to lose any money solely as a result of last week’s cyber-attack.
TalkTalk also maintains that it is still too early to say whether it will set up a compensation fund for those affected because it was still unclear how many customers had been hit and to what degree.
In an interview with the Guardian, a distinctly bullish Harding said: “We are understandably the punchball for everybody wanting to make a point at the moment.
“We are really frustrated with the number of sensationalist claims that are being made, not just about TalkTalk as a company but more importantly about customers losing millions and millions of pounds. I think it’s actually very irresponsible because it’s whipping up fear about the digital world.”
Harding also insisted the security of TalkTalk’s website is “much better than it was” and described the threat from hackers as the crime of our generation. She added: “We are head and shoulders better than some of our competitors and some of the media bodies that were throwing those particular stones.”
“Digital safety is no different to physical safety. You can do your upmost to minimise it. You can arm yourself to protect yourself, but in the end there are criminals everywhere and that’s the way of the world. It’s usually tempting to say there will never ever be another attack but that would be naive.”
The investigation into the hack continues, with the Metropolitan Police and BAE Systems working with the company to try to track down those responsible.
TalkTalk under fire as 4m customers hit by hack
ICO ‘enquires’ about Carphone hack
Exposed: UK’s worst call centres
Call centres face TalkTalk action
King nets customer role at TalkTalk
TalkTalk rules out marketing con
TalkTalk axes 575 call centre jobs
TalkTalk billing gaffe costs £5.5m