Hackers have gained access to the personal data of 50m T-Mobile customers. Cybercriminals are reportedly offering access to some of the data in return for a fee of 6 bitcoin, or $270,000. The cause of the breach is unclear, but this follows a string of breaches for T-Mobile in recent years, after an incident in December 2020 that leaked the call records of around 200,000 customers.
Egress VP of Threat Intelligence Jack Chapman comments: “This could be one of the most serious leaks of consumers’ sensitive information we’ve seen so far this year, potentially affecting 50 million people. Cybercriminals are using T-Mobile’s data to line their pockets, and unfortunately, it’s T-Mobile’s customers who will pay the price.
A primary goal of data retention policies is to minimise a breach’s impact - and typically to prevent an incident of this magnitude from happening. The priority for T-Mobile will be to understand the true extent of what data was accessed - how many records and the types of data exposed - and how. It’s been reported that some of the data belonged to past customers, so urgent questions need to be asked about whether it is appropriate for T-Mobile to still hold this data at all. While they state they’ve closed the attackers’ ‘entry point’, T-mobile now need to simultaneously address the issues of how to protect affected data subjects from exploitation by cybercriminals, and the secure storage of all other relevant data they hold, while removing any records they shouldn’t continue to store.
We’re living in an era of massive cyberattacks – and major organisations like T-mobile must accept that they are a target and take appropriate precautions to protect their customers – including maintaining responsible data practices.