In a press release dated 16th August 2021, T-Mobile confirmed the unauthorized access to some T-Mobile data in what it tagged a highly sophisticated cyberattack; however, T-Mobile was yet to determine whether there was any personal data breach. As a proactive step towards concealing network security loopholes, the entry point used to gain access was closed, and a deep technical review of the situation across all systems immediately commenced to identify the nature of any data that the hackers accessed illegally.
After conducting forensic analysis and investigation into the cyberattack, T-Mobile reported that the attackers made off with personal data of about 54 million people. The data collected include 40 million (from initial findings) and an additional 667,000 accounts of former T-Mobile customers that were accessed. Also, records of 13.1 million current T-Mobile postpaid customer accounts and 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer accounts were exposed.
T-Mobile reported that it had reset ALL the pins on the accounts and none of the T-Mobile files stolen related to former Sprint prepaid or Boost customers. Some of the data accessed by hackers include first and last names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and driver’s license or ID information. The company said no phone numbers, account numbers, passwords, or financial information, including credit or debit card details, were compromised.
T-Mobile has recommended and implemented the following for its customers:
- Two years of free identity protection services with McAfee’s ID Theft Protection Service to any person who believes they may be affected.
- All eligible T-Mobile customers sign up for free scam-blocking protection through Scam Shield.
- Support customers with additional best practices and practical security steps like resetting PINs and passwords.
- Publish a customer support webpage that includes information and access to the above tools at https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/data-breach-2021.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the 21-year-old hacker who claimed responsibility for the cyberattack called T-Mobile’s security “awful”.
In a further update by Mike Sievert, the CEO of T-Mobile, he stated that the investigation is “substantially complete and that T-Mobile had entered long-term partnerships with the industry-leading cybersecurity experts at Mandiant and consulting firm KPMG LLP to build a future-forward strategy to protect T-Mobile and its customers.