T-Mobile says cyberattack impacted more customer data than initially thought

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ABC News 20 August, 2021 - 03:58pm 52 views

Did T Mobile get hacked?

T-Mobile said it learned late last week that an individual in an online forum claimed to have breached its systems and was attempting to sell stolen customer data. The company confirmed on Aug. 16 that it was hacked, later adding that attackers made off with personal data from 54 million people. The Wall Street JournalT-Mobile Data Hack: What We Know and What You Need to Do

T-Mobile hack exposed tens of millions. How to protect your personal data after any breach

CNET 20 August, 2021 - 04:02pm

Be proactive, regardless of whether you're a victim of this particular hack. 

T-Mobile continues to investigate a data breach from earlier this week, in which the personal information of tens of millions people may have been compromised, and not just for active subscribers. The figure includes a spectrum of data, including names, drivers license numbers, Social Security numbers and device identification (IMEI and IMSI) numbers for subscribers, former customers and prospective customers who may have been interested in T-Mobile service at one point. The breach includes customers of Metro by T-Mobile, too; in short, almost anyone who's considered T-Mobile could be affected.

There's "no indication" that financial data like credit card or other payment information was compromised, T-Mobile said Friday in a press release. The company has reset PIN numbers for all prepaid customers after the exposure of 850,000 PINS for this group. Right now, there's no way to tell if you should take additional action. T-Mobile is still completing its investigation and will notify people whose data was accessed. In the meantime, you can read our guide to check if your password is on the dark web.

While the situation develops -- T-Mobile could reportedly face a class action -- there are things you can do to help secure your sensitive data against any hack -- regardless of whether your information has been included in any number of data breaches.

The downside to freezing your credit is that when you want to make a purchase, such as upgrading your iPhone, you'll need to go through the process of briefly removing your credit freeze -- and then refreezing once you're done. 

Yes, it's inconvenient. But the extra time you take to freeze, unfreeze and then refreeze your credit is worth it and pales in comparison to the time you'd spend trying to reverse the damage done by someone opening a credit card or line of credit in your name. 

Lock down everything you can, as soon as you can. 

Staying on top of what's on your credit report is an easy way to make sure someone isn't using your information nefariously. Some companies offer free credit monitoring to victims of a data breach, but oftentimes that's only temporary. For example, T-Mobile is offering two years of McAfee's ID Theft Protection Service for free to those affected by the latest breach. Take advantage of offers like this if your data is included in a breach, but once the limited-time offer expires, be ready to sign up for another service.

There are several credit monitoring services that help you watch your credit report and using one could mean you will receive an alert and hopefully catch false accounts as soon as they happen. 

Monitoring your credit report is an important step to take; however, there's so much more that can be done with your personal information. In addition to keeping an eye on your Social Security number and credit, an identity-monitoring service will monitor the dark web for anyone selling or trading your personal information or arrests under your name. It should give you peace of mind if someone tries to do anything with your personal information. 

1Password is one of many password managers that keep your information secure. 

Using a unique and strong password for every online account you own is an easy way to make sure a breach of one service doesn't lead to bad guys accessing more of your online accounts where you used the same password.

Instead of reusing a password -- or a series of passwords -- rely on a password manager to create, store and autofill your login information. 

The most important aspect of taking action after a hack or breach is announced is to not wait for the affected companies to announce how they want you to handle it. Be proactive. At the end of the day, it's your information and your financial future that's at stake.

After locking down your credit and starting monitoring services, begin to look at suggestions from the affected companies.

Some breaches lead to settlements, forcing the company to offer free services or, as in the 2017 Equifax case, settlements.

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