April 20, 2024

Image for article titled A massive AT&T data breach affected 73 million customers

Photo: Shannon Stapleton (Reuters)

A data set containing the personal information, including social security numbers, of 73 million current and former AT&T customers was released on the dark web, the telecommunications giant said on Saturday.

The data set hit the dark web about two weeks ago. It’s not clear whether its release came from AT&T itself, which is the world’s fourth-largest telecommunication company, or one of its vendors.

“AT&T has launched a robust investigation supported by internal and external cybersecurity experts,” the company said in a press release. “Based on our preliminary analysis, the data set appears to be from 2019 or earlier, impacting approximately 7.6 million current AT&T account holders and approximately 65.4 million former account holders.”

AT&T hasn’t determined yet if a nefarious entity infiltrated its systems to steal the data. Outside cybersecurity experts were tapped to help investigate the breach, which the company said hasn’t materially affected its business.

AT&T’s rough start to 2024

Last month, AT&T suffered a major outage that affected millions of customers. Toward the end of February, about 1.5 million customers of the U.S.’s largest wireless provider had filed outage reports. AT&T had promised to send out $5 credits to people affected by the outage, but if aggregated, that cost was minimal: if AT&T only gave credits back to those 1.5 million customers, it would spend $7.5 million.

Laura Bratton contributed to this article.

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