T-Mobile & Experian Hack Exposes Data of 15 Million

T-Mobile headquarters in Dortmund, Germany

T-Mobile headquarters in Dortmund, Germany;
image courtesy Google

T-Mobile & Experian Hack Exposes
Data of 15 Million
| published October 2, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff


Consumers whose credit information has been collected and stored by the company Experian may have had their personal data stolen by hackers with possible links to China.

Law enforcement agencies—along with the credit reporting giant Experian—say that the data breach may involve the information of as many as 15 million people, primarily those who use T-Mobile for the their wireless service. The information stolen includes home addresses, cell phone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers.

T-Mobile says the hacking occurred between September 1 and September 16 of this year, and includes millions of its customers and potential customers who had applied for new wireless plans, or had sought to upgrade plans or purchase new phones or devices. T-Mobile uses Experian for credit checks and credit reporting of its new and existing customers.

T-Mobile officials have said that customers—or potential customers who may have been impacted by the breach—can sign up for two years of credit monitoring at no change.

The original data breach is believed to have taken place on Experian’s data server, though it is not clear which of the two huge companies will take full responsibility for the cyber-attack. And though some in law enforcement are suggesting that the attack has all the earmarks of a possible state-sponsored cyber assault by China, no official confirmation of who was behind the attack has been made. Experian says it is in the process of taking technological steps to prevent a similar attack from taking place.

Several consumer groups and on-profit consumer advocacy organizations say that any customer affected by the breach should remain vigilant—watching credit card statements and bank accounts closely for any suspicious activity.

Thousands of T-Mobile customers expressed anger on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Many expressed outrage that the most Experian and T-Mobile could offer was credit monitoring. Some customers were unclear as to where to place the blame—Experian or T-Mobile.

Experian is one of the three mega companies engaged in credit reporting and credit reports. The others are Equifax and TransUnion. T-Mobile is owned by parent company Deutsche Telekom, based in Bonn and Dortmund, Germany.

Related Thursday Review articles:

China Hacks Federal Employee Records; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; June 5, 2015.

Taxpayer Information Stolen From IRS Website; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; May 27, 2015.