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Vodafone hack- how much worse could it have been?

On 31st October 2015, hot on the heels of the Talk Talk cyber-attack, Vodafone announced that 1,827 customer accounts had been accessed by hackers, potentially providing criminals with customers’ names, mobile numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits of their bank accounts. No credit or debit card details were accessed, and whilst the information cannot be used directly to access customers’ bank accounts it does make them vulnerable to phishing and potential fraud.


A Vodafone spokesman said: “This incident was driven by criminals using email addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source external to Vodafone. Vodafone’s systems were not compromised or breached in any way. Whilst our security protocols were fundamentally effective, we know that 1,827 customers have had their accounts accessed. Our investigation and mitigating actions have meant that only a handful of customers has been subject to any attempts to use this data for fraudulent activity on their Vodafone accounts.”


The company said an attempt had been made to access some customers’ account details between midnight on Wednesday and midday on Thursday. Vodafone immediately began an investigation and informed the National Crime Agency, Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office on Friday night. Vodafone had contacted the banks of affected customers to alert them.


Vodafone had more than 18 million mobile customers in the U.K. at the end of June. How many customers does your business have? How difficult would it be to contact hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of people within a satisfactory timescale? Any organisation at risk of a data-security-breach needs to be able to inform stakeholders at the first opportunity, and the most efficient way of doing that is to use a critical communications platform. The Everbridge suite offers multi-modal notifications via text, email, phone, etc. until it is confirmed that the information has been received by the customer, making IT incident management easier to do. 


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