AT&T data breach affects 73 million past and present customers

Saturday March 30th, AT&T—the largest US telecom company—announced that a giant data set of personal customer information was discovered on the dark web. In total, 73 million individuals are affected: 7.6 million are current customers, while the vast majority, 65.4 million, are former customers. Fortunately, financial information and call history are reportedly not included, however the data set is believed to include other highly sensitive information such as:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Full names
  • Dates of birth
  • PINS
  • Email addresses
  • Postal addresses
  • Customer numbers

AT&T Data Breach: What Happened? Am I affected?

The data is believed to be from 2019 and earlier – presumably that’s why there are so many previous customers. AT&T stated on Saturday that they do not know whether the data leak “originated with AT&T or one of its vendors.” The dataset was published on a popular cybercrime forum on the dark web and appears to be linked to a security event in August 2021.

At the time, a hacker claimed to have stolen the personal information of around 70 million customers. At the time, AT&T denied that the data came from them or that they had suffered a breach, while the hacker only released a small sample — making it difficult to verify the large numbers and claimed PII. Based on these facts, it appears that that original security incident has backfired on AT&T and its many customers.

No one, including AT&T, seems to have any idea where the leaked data came from. But it’s legal and should be taken seriously—for example, by updating codes and passwords, and paying attention to correspondence from AT&T. In their words:

“Our internal teams are working with external cyber security experts to analyze the situation […] We are contacting all 7.6 million affected customers and have reset their passcodes. In addition, we will communicate with current and former account holders with compromised sensitive personal information.”

Four top tips to stay safe

  1. Change your passwords for the affected sites. You should change your passwords frequently for all accounts. Make sure your passwords are strong and not easily guessed.
  2. Turn on multi-factor or two-factor authentication for those accounts if you haven’t already. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips.
  3. See if your data has already been leaked. Trend Micro offers a free service to check if your personal information is circulating on the dark web. Give it a go here!
  4. Stay alert. When major data breaches occur, it usually coincides with increased cybercriminal activity. Be on the lookout for an increase in phishing attacks. When in doubt, don’t click links or reply!

Protection of your identity and personal information

Trend Micro is here to support you in 2024. We would encourage readers to turn to our new ID Protection platform, which is designed to meet the security and privacy threats we face now .

ID Protection Home Page

With ID Protection, you can:

  1. check out to see if your data (email, number, password, credit card) has been leaked or is available on the dark web;
  2. secure your social media accounts with our social media account monitoring tool, with which you will receive a personalized report;
  3. Create stronger hard-to-hack password suggestions from our advanced AI (they’ll be safely stored in your Vault);
  4. Enjoy a safer browsing experience, as Trend Micro checks websites and prevents trackers.
  5. Get comprehensive rehabilitation and insurance services, with 24/7 support.
ID protection features

Offering both free and paid services, ID Protection will ensure you have the best safeguards in place, with 24/7 support available to you through one of the world’s leading cyber security companies. Trend Micro is trusted by 8 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies — and we’ll have your support, too.

Why not release it today? As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do Share it with family and friends to help keep the online community safe and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a safe 2024!

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