TalkTalk has received a ransom demand from a source claiming to be responsible for a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of data and personal information of millions of customers.
The provider has admitted it does not know how many of its four million customers have been affected by the breach, but was quick to reassure customers that it was taking the necessary steps to establish the extent of the incident.
TalkTalk customer? Find out how the breach affects you and what to do to stay safe with our guide: TalkTalk hack FAQ
In a dramatic twist, the company has now claimed to have received a ransom demand over the incident.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “We can confirm we were contacted by someone claiming to be responsible and seeking payment.”
The spokeswoman declined to elaborate further, saying “everything else is a matter for the police”.
TalkTalk’s chief executive Dido Harding told the BBC: “Yes, we have been contacted by - I don’t know whether it’s an individual or a group purporting to be the hacker.
“I personally received a contact from someone purporting - as I say, I don’t know whether they are or are not - to be the hacker, looking for money.”
The Metropolitan Police has already launched an investigation into the incident amid mounting speculation that the breach could be the work of Russian-based Islamic extremists.
A post appearing on Pastebin entitled 'A Message from the TalkTalk hackers', reads: "We Have Made Our Tracks Untraceable Through Onion Routing, Encrypted Chat Messages, Private Key Emails, Hacked Servers. We Will Teach our Children To Use The Web For Allah.. Your Hands Will Be Covered In Blood.. Judgement Day Is Soon.
"WE Are In The Soviet Russia And Near Place, Your Europe, WE control Asia, We Control AMERICA."
Investigations are ongoing.