Experian, a major credit reference agency has suffered a huge data breach. Around 15 million T-Mobile users (who signed up for T-Mobile’s service last month) suffered as their information was leaked by hackers.
T-Mobile used Experian to process its credit applications and perform credit checks on its customers. It is reported that any user who acquired T-Mobile’s regular USA postpaid plan between September 1, 2013 and September 16, 2015 may be affected.
“The investigation is ongoing, but, what we know right now is that the hacker acquired the records of approximately 15 million people, including new applicants requiring a credit check for service or device financing from September 1, 2013 through September 16, 2015,” T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere said.
Experian claims that in September, their server which contained these records was accessed by hackers. Experian North America claims that one of its business units was compromised, but no customer credit bureau was disturbed.
It is reported that hackers have taken out personal information of T-Mobile users such as names, addresses, security/PIN numbers, and other delicate information like passport number or military ID.
“The data set was for applicants and customers of T-Mobile who applied for service over that two year period,” said Experian spokeswoman Susan Henson.
The security of all that information was comprised 2 weeks back. It “was discovered within two days, secured immediately, a comprehensive forensic investigation launched (and still continuing) and we announced it today to quickly notify consumers. Our notification to state attorneys’ general happens tomorrow,” Henson said.
Experian clarified that other computers that deal with this type of information were left untouched –things were secure.
It is currently uncertain what the stolen information would be used for. Normally, it is sold on black markets after which hackers gather all that information and store it in huge searchable databases. This information can then later on be accessed by any person for a small price. This can eventually lead to tax refunds paid to the wrong person etc.
A 2-year free credit monitoring and identity protection service is being offered by Experian to compromised customers to pacify them. Surprisingly, the same credit monitoring service of Experian is offering these resolution services.