TWO friends were jailed yesterday for their roles in a £77million hack on the website of phone company TalkTalk. Matthew Hanley, 23, and Connor Allsopp, 21, admitted charges relating to a massive data breach of customers’ details in 2015.
TalkTalk reported the attacks to police and the National Crime Agency and made public statements to alert customers. Investigations revealed 1.6 million accounts were affected. The Old Bailey heard that, as a result of the hacking, then-chief executive Dido Harding was subjected to repeated attempts to blackmail her in exchange for stolen data.
The jury were told that Hanley and Allsopp, of Tamworth, Staffs, were not personally involved in making those attempts but their “actions helped facilitate it”. Judge Anuja Dhir QC said it was a tragedy to find “two individuals of such extraordinary talent” in the dock. She said: “You were both involved in a significant, sophisticated systematic hack attack in a computer system used by TalkTalk. The attack led to you and others gaining access to TalkTalk clients’ confidential information.
“I’m sure that your actions caused misery and distress to many thousands of the customers of TalkTalk.” The court also heard how files including names and passwords for server systems of Nasa were handed to Hanley by a Skype contact as a “little present”. Hanley, jailed for 12 months, was described as a “determined and dedicated hacker”. Allsopp was sentenced to eight months.