FCC To Investigate T-Mobile Data Breach

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Data breach that impacted more than 40 million former, prospective, and current customers will be investigated by US regulator

The Federal Communications Commission has confirmed it is aware of the massive data breach at US mobile operator T-Mobile.

On Monday, T-Mobile announced that “some” customer data had been compromised, after it investigated media reports of a forum post, which claimed to have data of over 100 million T-Mobile customers stolen from T-Mobile servers.

But in an update on Tuesday, T-Mobile admitted that approximately 7.8 million current T-Mobile postpaid customer accounts’ information were contained in the stolen files.

FCC Investigation

Even worse, T-Mobile said that just over 40 million records of former or prospective customers who had previously applied for credit with T-Mobile, were also compromised.

Whilst T-Mobile’s conclusion of impacted individuals is not as great as the 100 million first reported, it is still a sizeable breach.

T-Mobile confirmed that personal data, including customers’ first and last names, date of birth, SSN, and driver’s license/ID information had been compromised.

It said it had “no indication” that any financial data (credit card, debit or other payment information) had been compromised (at this time).

And this has now drawn the attention of the US communications watchdog, the FCC, which said it has begun an investigation of the matter.

“Telecommunications companies have a duty to protect their customers’ information,” an FCC spokesperson told Reuters. “The FCC is aware of reports of a data breach affecting T-Mobile customers and we are investigating.”

“I want to assure you that our @Tmobile team is doing their best to get answers to your questions about our recent cyberattack,” tweeted T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. “As our investigation continues, we’ve launched a website dedicated to providing you more information and details on how we’re working to protect you.”

Previous hacks

It should be noted that T-Mobile has been hacked on multiple occasions in the past, with some publications reporting that the operator has been hacked as many as five times in recent years.

In 2015 the personal data on 15 million T-Mobile USA customers appeared online for sale.

T-Mobile last year finally completed its $26 billion acquisition of rival Sprint, in a deal that took years to complete.

The merger, which almost took place in 2014, was revealed in April 2018, but faced significant regulatory scrutiny over concerns it would reduce competition, and result in higher prices for consumers.

Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, had been negotiating with Japan’s SoftBank, which controlled Sprint, for years.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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