JD Wetherspoon hack, Snoopers’ Charter and VTech woes: The week in security

Hacking and cyber crime again dominated the headlines this week, after UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon and toy manufacturer VTech both fell victim to attacks.

Meanwhile, there were developments in the US Office of Personnel Management story when the Chinese government arrested a handful of suspected hackers following an investigation into the breach.

Furthermore, it was revealed that storing internet records as part of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill proposals would cost the UK taxpayer £17m a year.

It was a busy week, so read on for the top security stories from V3:

JD Wetherspoon hack exposes over 650,000 customer records

Wetherspoons pub

British pub chain JD Wetherspoon admitted that over 650,000 customer records and 100 partial credit card details were stolen in a cyber attack on the database of an old website. 

China blames OPM hack on ‘criminals’ after arrests of suspects

China and US flags

The Chinese government arrested a number of suspected hackers following an investigation into the data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management earlier this year.

Snoopers’ Charter: Mozilla, TechUK and privacy groups challenge controversial bill

Houses of Parliament from above

Security experts, civil liberty groups and technology organisations pushed back against key sections of the recently revealed Investigatory Powers Bill in 46 separate written submissions to the government.

US court exposes content of secret FBI National Security Letters

FBI logo (Creative Commons)

A US court exposed the content of the controversial FBI National Security Letters (NSLs) used to compel ISPs to hand over customer data. The use of NSLs expanded rapidly after the introduction of the US Patriot Act following the terrorist attack on 9/11, but the exact contents remained secret … until now.

VTech hack: Over one million UK parents and children affected

Illustration of an eye looking through a keyhole

Over one million UK parent and child records were compromised in an attack on the servers of popular toy manufacturer VTech, the firm admitted. VTech announced on its FAQ page that 560,487 parent profiles and 727,155 child profiles have been stolen by hackers. 

Internet snooping plans will cost UK taxpayer £17m a year

Businessman chasing money

The expense of extended internet snooping powers and data retention included in the Investigatory Powers Bill will cost the UK taxpayer £174m over the next 10 years, a Home Office official revealed.

UK number plate monitoring one of the ‘world’s biggest surveillance systems’


The widespread use of automatic number plate recognition systems by UK police forces represents one of the largest surveillance systems in the world, but lacks any legal framework or governance.

TalkTalk breach could be good for cyber security in the long run


Feature: UK companies have started to realise how vulnerable they really are in the wake of numerous data breaches over the past few years, none more so than the recent hack at TalkTalk.

Tailored response to cyber crime needed as data protection overhaul looms


Feature: Data protection reform is quickly approaching, and companies of all sizes need to be fully aware of the changes about to affect the UK in terms of cyber crime and breach notifications. A first proper look at the law is expected this side of Christmas, and security experts and law firms are bracing for impact.

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4 December 2015 | 3:27 pm – Source: v3.co.uk


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