Hacked TalkTalk has received a ransom request, but it's not clear if it's real

The CEO of TalkTalk says she has received an email demanding money after the British telecoms company suffered a massive hack that put as many as 4 million customers’ data at risk.

Dido Harding told the BBC that “yes, we have been contacted by, I don’t know whether it is an individual or a group, purporting to be the hacker,” and that they are “looking for money.”

Late Thursday, TalkTalk announced it had suffered a massive breach that may have resulted in the theft of millions of customers’ data — including names, emails, addresses, and credit card details. BuzzFeed has spoken to one person whose email was included in an initial leak apparently taken from the hack, and they confirmed they were a TalkTalk customer.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the demand for money that TalkTalk has received comes from the actual hacker. It seems plausible (and even likely) that opportunist extortionists might try their luck, and what appears to be Harding’s email is being shared on Twitter — making it easy for them to do so.

Harding acknowledged this uncertainty to the BBC, saying: “”It is hard for me to give you very much detail, but yes, we have been contacted by, I don’t know whether it is an individual or a group, purporting to be the hacker.

“All I can say is that I had personally received a contact from someone purporting – as I say I don’t know whether they are or are not – to be the hacker looking for money.”

The London Metropolitan Police is investigating the hack.

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