10th Nov 2016
If companies want to restore customers’ faith after a cyber attack, they need to respond swiftly to the attack and keep customers informed – which is what Tesco Bank did this week after suffering a sophisticated attack on its online accounts over the weekend.
The attack affected 9,000 customers and resulted in the loss of £2.5m. The bank was quick to refund that amount to those customers affected, - announcing on Tuesday that it had done so - while emphasising that personal data wasn’t compromised in the attack.
At the same time, Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, apologised to customers for “the worry and inconvenience this issue has caused”.
The bank also moved quickly to minimise the impact of the attack when it became aware of it, suspending online transactions to prevent criminal activity. Customers were notified of the breach by emails and text messages, and later informed that normal service had been resumed.
Meanwhile, customers were advised to look out for regular updates on Tesco Bank’s website and Twitter page and that they should contact its customer service team if they had any concerns.
The bank also emphasised that it continues to work with authorities and regulators to address the fraud. Higgins said: “Our first priority throughout this incident has been protecting and looking after our customers.”
By responding swiftly to the cyber attack and being open with customers, the bank demonstrated the approach The Institute of Customer Service has advised businesses to take if data is exposed in such an attack.
Responding in June this year to a Parliamentary inquiry into cyber-security breaches, Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute, urged businesses to accept responsibility, rather than offer excuses, if customer data is affected by a cyber attack.
“It’s too easy to blame organisations when a breach happens because personal security cannot be wholly delegated by consumers,” said Causon. “However, unless UK plc is transparent about its approach and the actions taken when things go wrong, trust will continue to fall. If that happens, loyalty, repeat purchase and recommendations are likely to fall, too, which is something organisations can ill afford.”