AT&T Data Breach Exposes 73 Million Customers: Cyber Crisis Strikes Again

A security breach at AT&T has put customer data at risk – and it could have significant repercussions for tens of millions of customers.

Security Breach at AT&T

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Major telecommunications multinational AT&T admitted on Saturday that a massive security breach has put millions of customers’ data at risk. But how did it happen?

No Suspects Yet

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So far the corporation had denied having any information on the source of the breach, saying in a public statement that they didn’t know if it “originated from AT&T or one of its vendors.”

73 Million Affected

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On Saturday, they contacted millions of AT&T customers – including current and past customers – to inform them of a cyberattack that affected up to 73 million account holders.  

“Robust” Investigation Launched

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The AT&T announcement confirmed that a “robust investigation” had been launched, and a dataset containing stolen sensitive customer information had been found on the “dark web.”

First Appeared on Hacking Forum

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AT&T confirmed that the dataset first appeared on a hacking forum more than two weeks ago. 

Social Security Numbers Leaked

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This included the social security numbers of 7.6 million current account holders and 65.4 million numbers from former defunct accounts.

The Next In a Line of Breaches

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It is just the next in a string of serious security breaches at AT&T, with the last occurring in January 2023, where cyber attackers stole information affecting 9 million customers. 

Addresses, Codes, Numbers, and More

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Though the stolen data did not include financial information, it did include email addresses, mailing addresses, passcodes, phone numbers, birth dates, and social security numbers.

Company Takes Action

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While the company has contacted customers about their compromised personal information, and all affected passcodes have been changed, hackers and scammers could use any personal information that has not been changed. 

Useful Information for Hackers

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This information could be effectively used for identity theft, phishing scams, and other methods that could allow criminals to access customer bank accounts. 

Are You Aan AT&T Customer?

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If you are a current or former AT&T customer and you are concerned that your personal data has been compromised, you should have received a direct email or letter from the company on Saturday, when the announcement was first made.

Credit-Monitoring Services 

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AT&T has also committed to paying for any credit-monitoring services for customers who may need them due to the security breach. 

Tracking Credit

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Credit monitoring will allow these customers to track their credit scores and deflect any attempts at identity theft in the wake of data loss.

Consider a Credit Freeze

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However, experts say that if you have been affected by the AT&T data breach, you should consider a credit freeze as a more effective way to protect your accounts. 

“At the Top of the List”

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“In order of effectiveness, the credit freeze is certainly the top of the list,” said Equifax and FICO credit expert John Ulzheimer.

“With a freeze, no new creditor will be able to access your credit reports. So it effectively stops any attempt to apply for credit in its tracks.”

Free Credit Freeze and Fraud Alerts

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The Federal Trade Commission has also offered free credit freezes and fraud alerts to U.S. consumers who need to take steps to protect their accounts from fraud and identity theft.

“You Need to Act Accordingly”

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Experts argue this should be an automatic move for consumers whose personal information has been compromised.

“The reality of living in 2024 is your information is going to be stolen, so you need to act accordingly,” said John Dwyer, the security research director of cybersecurity company Binary Defense.

Tough First Quarter for AT&T

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This latest cyberattack signals a rough first quarter of 2024 for the Dallas-based telecommunication corporation. It is now the second crisis the company has faced since the beginning of the year.

Widespread Outage

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In February, AT&T made headlines when a widespread outage cut mobile services to some customers for more than 10 hours, sparking concerns about customer access to 9-1-1 calls. 

A Technical Coding Error

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This time, the incident allegedly resulted from a technical coding error rather than a security breach, and the company offered $5 worth of credit to affected customers.

The post AT&T Data Breach Exposes 73 Million Customers: Cyber Crisis Strikes Again! first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.