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Solicitor for Norfolk Talk Talk hacker warns companies hit by cyber attacks could find themselves as victims and criminals

Chris Brown, chief executive of Fosters Solicitors in Norwich, speaks at the Norfolk Cyber Security Cluster inaugural conference at Centrum on Norwich Research Park. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Chris Brown, chief executive of Fosters Solicitors in Norwich, speaks at the Norfolk Cyber Security Cluster inaugural conference at Centrum on Norwich Research Park. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Archant

Companies targeted by cyber criminals could be labelled as both victims and offenders, the solicitor who defended the teenaged Talk Talk hacker has warned.

Chris Brown, chief executive of Fosters Solicitors in Norwich, said cyber crime had an almost unique ability to both implicate and victimise businesses who found themselves hit by it, with their bottom line at risk alongside their reputation.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Norfolk Cyber Security Cluster, Mr Brown said: “If a supplier lets you down or a contractor does not deliver, you have some recourse.

“If you are subject to one of these attack, you will not get back the value that is lost. This kind of thing will take an SME down.”

He said there were “myriad reasons” why hackers went after personal data.

“We cannot know what they are after or how they are going to get it. If you cannot guess what the other player has in his hand, all you can do is work out how to play yours. That is what I would suggest your business looks at,” he said.

The Talk Talk hack in October 2015 cost the telecoms company £77m as well as its reputation, with 4% of its customers leaving within a week of the attack.

The 17-year-old hacker from Norfolk was sentenced last December but did not receive a jail term for the incident.

Head of crime and business advice at Fosters Mr Brown added that everyone within a business had a responsibility to improve their cyber awareness, not just those responsible for IT systems, joking that people in his own profession were “notoriously backward” in talk about cyber security.

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