T-Mobile data breach, the most recent one
The reason I say most recent is because, well, T-Mobile have had this happen to them several times already over the past couple of years. Oftentimes it’s nothing too serious but this time the apparent breach includes customers’ sensitive data being sold on the dark web. On the weekend there were reports that some data may have been found of the dark web being sold for around 6 bitcoins (around $280,000) for a subsect of 30 million customer data sets. Vice, known for its unorthodox way of reporting, managed to liaise with the seller who had claimed they had millions of records, without directly saying the data came from T-Mobile customers.
On Sunday, before the public were aware of the potential breach, a self-proclaimed hacker had posted in a hacker forum and boasted on social media that he possessed sensitive information that had been stolen from 100 million customers, and that the mass number of customers that had data leaked from a company like this had never been over 30 million before. Hackers will often make their claims a bit exaggerated, or post things on forums that they haven’t done to have their peers think they are decent hackers, but T-Mobile had said that they were taking the claims seriously either way and they will be investigating, which of course was the best choice of action. They are currently unaware of how many of its customers have been affected and will be alerting them to the issue as soon as they have more information.
The data that was found to be on the cybercriminal site wasn’t just names and numbers, it was also personal information such as Social Security numbers, drivers’ license information and IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers, which can be used to identify and locate the cell phone user. Names and numbers are easy to come across, even social security numbers, but the IMEI should be private information, and having those leaked could end up with the users being exposed to online abuse and spamming, or even real-world consequences. Malicious actors could use this sensitive data in a variety of ways, phishing text messages, mass spam to offer “upgrades for T-Mobile customers” would probably entice users to take the bait and leave them in debt or leave their phones open to new vulnerabilities. Sometimes malicious actors will use the data from a specific person, possibly they have a grudge, or the person has a lot of sensitive information that could be leaked for money such as secrets, or they could be a very rich person and have their accounts drained.
As mentioned in the beginning, T-Mobile have had a fewbreaches, 5 that have been caught by the public eye thus far. In January this year, they had a data breach where around 200,000 call records and subscriber data were stolen. Last year there were two incidents, a breach on their email systems where hackers accessed employees accounts and access customer data, and a breach of a million prepaid customers’ billing information. And going back a bit further, in 2018, T-Mobile had said around 2 million customers could have possibly had their personal information stolen.
T-Mobile has said the entry point that the hackers gained access through has now been resolved, and they are carrying out a thorough reviews of their security systems to identify how it happened, and how much has been stolen.
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