Wednesday 27 July 2016 5:39 pm

TalkTalk boss calls for firms to be made to report all cyber attacks

Billy Bambrough is City A.M.'s deputy news editor.

Billy Bambrough is City A.M.'s deputy news editor.

TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding has called for firms to be made to report all data breaches following last year’s devastating cyber attack on the company.

Companies do not currently have to immediately report details of cyber attacks, meaning many customers may be unknowingly at risk.

Last October TalkTalk revealed a cyber attack on the firm that was orginally thought to be far worse than it ultimately was.

Harding has attracted criticism for initially warning all 4m of TalkTalk’s customers may had been affected but has defended her decision and stands by it.

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The move sparked panic among both investors and customers, sending TalkTalk’s share price down by almost a third overnight. In the end only 156,000 customers were affected, with none of the data stolen able to be used to access bank accounts.

Meanwhile, an offer to upgrade customers for free was taken up by 10 times more subscribers than the firm expected. Almost half a million – a whopping 489,000 – of TalkTalk’s four million customers opted for the upgrade – which included free Sky Sports for TV customers or a 12-month mobile sim.

“It was ten times more than I thought it would be, and I’ve been a consumer marketer almost all my life,” TalkTalk’s chief executive Dido Harding told City A.M.

TalkTalk’s yearly pre-tax profits fell to £14m, down over 50 per cent from £32m previously in the aftermath of last October’s cyber attack.

​Customer churn, a measure of the number of customers who ended their TalkTalk subscription, fell to 1.36 per cent for its last quarter, from 1.5 per cent previously.

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First quarter revenue for the three months to the end of June were flat year-on-year.

It lost 9,000 broadband customers and 23,000 TV customers, but added 48,000 mobile users and 36,000 Fibre consumers.

The company said it's expecting some growth over the year. 

We expect full-year 2017 revenues to grow modestly over the full year, driven by a broadly stable broadband base and continued growth in TalkTalk Business; and headline earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of £320m-£360m.

We expect the full -year 2017 dividend to be at least in line with that of 2016 and covered by free cashflow.