Scammers defraud TalkTalk users after UK ISP suffers data breach

The personal details of a number of TalkTalk customers have been stolen. In some cases, the details have been used to scam further information such as bank details from the victims.

TalkTalk is one of the biggest British internet service providers, with more than four million broadband customers. In an email to its customers, the ISP admitted to the breach late last year and said “a small, but nonetheless significant” number of its customers had been contacted by people pretending to be from TalkTalk.

According to a spokesman, the data was taken from TalkTalk’s systems, and the scammers quoted TalkTalk account numbers and phone numbers in order to convince victims to provide access to their computers. TalkTalk’s email suggested that this sometimes yielded sensitive information such as bank details, adding that “in some of these cases we know they may be using the information they have illegally obtained.”

It is so far not terribly clear how many customers’ data was stolen in the first place.

The Guardian reported that this admission lined up with its report in December of a possible data breach associated with one of TalkTalk’s Indian centers, which had resulted in some of the firm’s customers receiving scam calls. It also noted that one customer had been defrauded of more than $4,000 by the scammers.

TalkTalk stressed that bank account details and other sensitive information such as date of birth had not been stolen directly in the breach. In a statement, it said:

As part of our ongoing approach to security we continually test our systems and processes and following further investigation into these reports, we have now become aware that some limited, non-sensitive information about some customers could have been illegally accessed in violation of our security procedures. We are aware of a small, but nonetheless significant, number of customers who have been directly targeted by these criminals and we have been supporting them directly.

The ISP also said it was talking to the Information Commissioner’s Office – the British data protection regulator – and has “taken serious steps to remedy this.” The ICO said in a statement: “We are aware of a possible data breach involving TalkTalk and are making enquiries into the circumstances.”

This article was updated at 2.30am PT to amend “the data was taken from TalkTalk’s servers” to “the data was taken from TalkTalk’s systems”, per a correction from the spokesman. It was updated again at 3.30am PT to include the ICO’s brief statement.

Delta to install Gogo’s faster in-flight internet in 250 planes

Next year Delta Airlines flyers will start noticing their sluggish inflight internet connections getting a lot faster. Delta announced on Wednesday that it is upgrading more than 250 planes that fly its long-haul domestic, Latin America and Caribbean routes with Gogo’s new 2Ku connectivity, boosting overall broadband capacity on its planes to 70 Mbps.

I say capacity, not speed, because 70 Mbps is the connection to the airplane, which [company]Gogo[/company] in turn divides up among passengers who pay for the service, just as your home Wi-Fi router splits your broadband connection to all of your devices. Still, 70 Mbps is a huge improvement over Gogo’s current service, which essentially uses a meager 3 Mbps 3G connection to serve an entire cabin full of passengers.

2Ku supplements Gogo’s ground-to-air network – essentially a CDMA network pointed at the sky – with satellite capacity from SES and Intellisat. Upgrading to 2Ku requires an aircraft retrofit, however, so the airlines are only gradually moving over to the new service. Gogo says it now has six airlines either trialing or committed to deploying 2Ku on a total of 300 planes.

[company]Virgin Atlantic[/company] has already signed up for 2Ku, but [company]Delta[/company] is the first major domestic airline customer to hop on board. The airline will upgrade its first aircraft in 2016, though overhauling all 250 planes will take several years. Delta said it plans to equip new international aircraft with 2Ku as they enter its fleet.

Gogo hasn’t revealed any details on pricing yet, and it may choose to charge a premium over its already expensive rates to tap the faster network. That might be a turn-off for some people, but the typical Gogo user tends to be a business traveller whose company foots the bill.

Gogo issues fake security certificates to block in-flight streaming

If you’re looking for another reason to hate Gogo, the much-criticized ISP of the skies, then it just provided one. Neowin revealed on Monday that the Gogo is messing with the SSL (secure socket layer) certificates issued by websites to encrypt traffic coming to and from your browser.

According to Neowin, [company]Google[/company] security engineer Adrienne Porter Felt discovered the tactic when surfing Google sites. [company]Gogo[/company] was replacing the SSL certificates she would normally get from Google with the ISP’s own certificates. This is the kind of ploy you’d usually see when a malicious hacker is performing a man-in-the-middle attack. But according to Gogo it’s just using the certificates as a way of identifying video traffic so it can block it over its narrowband air-to-ground network. From a statement by Gogo EVP and CTO Anand Chari:

“… we have stated that we don’t support various streaming video sites and utilize several techniques to limit/block video streaming. One of the recent off-the-shelf solutions that we use proxies secure video traffic to block it.  Whatever technique we use to shape bandwidth, it impacts only some secure video streaming sites and does not affect general secure internet traffic. These techniques are used to assure that everyone who wants to access the Internet on a Gogo equipped plane will have a consistent browsing experience.”

Considering passengers on most Gogo planes today are sharing the equivalent of a single 3G connection, keeping video off the inflight wireless network is probably a good policy – instead of a bunch of crappy connections you’d get no connections at all. But the way Gogo is enforcing that policy by breaking the security of sites is, as The Verge puts it, “a terrible idea for everyone involved.”

Swedish ISP protects customers from surveillance with free VPN

Bahnhof was the last Swedish ISP to resist the enforcement of a data retention law that is arguably illegal under EU law. Now it’s technically giving in, but it intends to make the retained data useless to spies and law enforcement.

Mobile ISP Karma plans a move into home broadband

Karma’s pocketable mobile hotspot is already used by 100,000 people looking for connectivity on the go. But Karma wants its mobile broadband service to become its customer’s primary source of internet access.