The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced late Wednesday that it would investigate a data breach disclosed by T-Mobile US that affects more than 47 million current, past and potential customers.
The third largest US cellular operator said personal information, including social security numbers and driver’s license information, has been stolen from more than 40 million former and prospective customers along with data from T-Mobile’s 7.8 million existing cellular customers.
Date of birth, first name and surname were also stolen, the telecommunications provider said, adding there was no evidence that its financial information had been compromised.
“Telecommunications companies have an obligation to protect their customers’ information. The FCC is aware of reports of a data breach affecting T-Mobile customers and we are investigating it, ”an FCC spokesman told Reuters.
The company, which had 104.8 million customers in June, admitted the data breach Sunday after US-based digital media company Vice reported that a seller posted private information on an underground forum, including social security numbers from a breach at T – Mobile servers.
T-Mobile also said approximately 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer names, phone numbers and account PINs were also revealed.
In 2015, AT&T agreed to pay a fine of $ 25 million (approximately Rs.185 billion) to settle an FCC investigation into consumer privacy violations at AT&T call centers.
Vice said the seller claimed 100 million people’s data was compromised in the breach. The seller offered data on 30 million people for 6 bitcoin, or around $ 270,000 (about 2 billion rupees).
Later reports suggested that the asking price had gone down and all of the data was selling for just $ 200 (about 14,860 rupees).
Reuters was unable to verify the accuracy of the forum post.
T-Mobile’s data breach is the latest high profile cyberattack as digital thieves take advantage of security weakened by work from home guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Poly Network cryptocurrency platform lost $ 610 million (approximately Rs 4,530 billion) in a hack and later offered the hacker or hackers a bug bounty of US $ 500,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 million).
© Thomson Reuters 2021