T-Mobile claims to have contacted virtually all of the millions of customers whose personal information was taken and to be “sincerely apologetic” for the incident.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said in a written statement Friday that the company spends lots of effort to try to stay ahead of criminal hackers “but we didn’t live up to the expectations we have for ourselves to protect our customers. Knowing that we failed to prevent this exposure is one of the hardest parts of this event.”
The company said earlier this month that a recent data breach exposed the names, Social Security numbers, and information from driver’s licenses or other forms of identity of slightly over 40 million customers who registered for T-Mobile credit. The same data seemed to be compromised for about 7.8 million existing T-Mobile customers who pay monthly for phone service.
On Friday, Sievert made no direct mention of Binns, but stated that “in brief, this individual’s objective was to break in and take data, and they succeeded.”
According to Sievert, the breach has been contained, the investigation is “basically complete,” and no consumer financial information was compromised. T-Mobile has recruited cybersecurity specialists from Mandiant to assist with the investigation, and the company is working with law enforcement.
“What we can share is that, in simplest terms, the bad actor leveraged their knowledge of technical systems, along with specialized tools and capabilities, to gain access to our testing environments and then used brute force attacks and other methods to make their way into other IT servers that included customer data,” Sievert wrote.
Sievert said that the company has contacted “almost every” existing client who has been affected, and that it is currently doing the same for previous customers and potential customers who may have provided some personal information while enrolling for an account. Customers who are not affected will see a banner on their T-Mobile online account page informing them that their data was not compromised.
T-Mobile, along with AT&T and Verizon, became one of the country’s major mobile service carriers after acquiring competitor Sprint last year. Following the merger, it reported a total of 102.1 million US subscribers.