Dido Harding, chief executive, says she doesn’t know if Cyber Essentials is a sufficient benchmark for protection

The huge hack on TalkTalk could not have been fully prevented, even if the company had been accredited by Cyber Essentials, a government-backed scheme to help organisations protect themselves against digital attacks, telcoms company’s chief executive said.

In October, hackers obtained the details of nearly 157,000 TalkTalk customers, 15,000 of which had their bank details accessed. It was the third in a spate of similar attacks affecting the telecommunications company in the past year, with incidents in December 2014 and August 2015 also resulting in customers’ data being stolen.

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