AT&T suffers breach, data accessed to unlock smartphones

AT&T suffered a data breach when workers employed at a vendor accessed information without authorization.

Published Sat, Jun 14 2014 10:06 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:16 PM CST

Telephone giant AT&T confirmed subscriber personal information was accessed in a data breach that took place sometime from April 9 to 21. AT&T reported the incident in a California regulatory filing, confirming three employees working with a partner vendor accessed the information. It is believed they were trying to unlock devices for re-sale, and accessed Social Security numbers and birth dates along the way.

AT&T suffers breach, data accessed to unlock smartphones | TweakTown.com

If a smartphone is unlocked, the device can be easily re-sold by AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, and the phone can be used on most mobile phone networks outside of the country. Many lost smartphones are quickly available on international markets, outside of the United States.

"Employees of one of our service providers violated our strict privacy and security guidelines by accessing your account without authorization," AT&T warned customers in a letter. "AT&T believes the employees accessed your account as part of an effort to request codes from AT&T that are used to unlock AT&T mobile phones in the secondary mobile phone market."

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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