T-Mobile Confirms Data Breach, Hackers Seek Bitcoin

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In Brief
  • T-Mobile confirmed a data breach affecting millions of users.

  • Confirmation follows a post by the hacker claiming to be selling user data.

  • The hacker is selling the information for six bitcoin.

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The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency.

T-Mobile confirmed that the company suffered a data breach with vulnerable data of over 100 million people. The hacker seeks bitcoin in return. 

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Two days ago a seller told Motherboard, VICE’s tech reporting outlet, that they’ve obtained the private information of over 100 million people via T-Mobile servers. The seller claimed to have compromised multiple servers tied to T-Mobile. 

According to Motherboard, the data is highly sensitive information which could lead to identity theft. This includes social security numbers, phone numbers, names, physical addresses, and more. The hacker told VICE they have the data backed up in “multiple places”.

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In the initial ad placed on the underground forum, the hacker asked for six bitcoin for a portion of data. The data up for grabs contains around 30 million social security numbers and drivers licenses. 

In the statement confirming the hack T-Mobile said they are wasting no time on the case.  “We have been working around the clock to investigate claims being made that T-Mobile data may have been illegally accessed. We take the protection of our customers very seriously and we are conducting an extensive analysis alongside digital forensic experts to understand the validity of these claims, and we are coordinating with law enforcement.” 

Although the hacker revealed numbers in the hundreds of millions, T-Mobile did not give a confirmed number.

Cybersecurity on everyone’s radar

As the world digitizes, cybersecurity becomes more of a concern. Especially as global regulators towards the crypto industry see potential security concerns as a threat to consumers. 

The bitcoin request of the hacker is nothing new to dark web heists. Given Bitcoin’s innate ability to allow the anonymity of its holders, it’s an attractive option to those operating undercover. This year, the news of the Colonial Pipeline hack also involved crypto-hungry hackers. The U.S. paid over $5 million in crypto to the hackers to restore operations of the pipeline. 

On the other hand, officials also sought out hackers for information on terrorist activity on the Dark Web, with crypto rewards.

This past week the crypto space was abuzz with news of a $600 million hack on a DeFi network. While the hacker claimed no interest in the funds, it still highlighted the increasing need for high performing cybersecurity solutions. 

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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