The personal information of 15 million subscribers of T-Mobile were compromised by a group of hackers who directed their attack on the specific company that processes the US wireless carrier’s credit checks. That company is Experian, and it stated via a press release that it detected a data breach in which customers’ personal data were stolen from September 1st of 2013 to September 16th of this year. The information captured by hackers include names, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Experian was quick to note that no credit card data or payment information were hacked.
What Experian normally does is store the information whenever it performs a credit score check on a customer. This is done to in order to ascertain if the customer is indeed eligible for service, and whatever promotions they can avail of. Because of this protocol, basically everyone who undergoes an Experian credit check, regardless if they are current or former customers or new applicants, is put at risk.
This latest hack is a new addition to the list of high profile data breaches in recent times. This list already includes the breach that left the United States government losing data of 4 million federal workers and also the breach that exposed 10 million health records of health insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile, quickly posted in the wireless carrier’s official blog and frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, warning subscribers, and expectedly, ranting about the unfortunate incident, vowing to evaluate its current business relationship with Experian, while at the same time, promising to help any T-Mobile subscriber affected with the data breach.
15 million potential affected subscribers is certainly something that can not be taken lightly. That figure is equivalent to over one fourth of T-Mobile’s total customer base. Sure, some of the people included in the number may no longer be current T-Mobile customers, but still, the magnitude of the breach is rather scary.
For Experian’s part, the company has duly taken full responsibility for the data breach. It has stated that it is now in the process of notifying all customers affected. As confirmed by T-Mobile, both current and former subscribers of the wireless carrier should start getting their letters of notification by next week.
Part of Experian’s services is offering two years of credit monitoring and identity protection via its ProtectMyID service. This offer is open to all of T-Mobile’s subscribers, and as explained by an Experian spokesperson, the service is available for as long as people want to avail of it.
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