Image credit: T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s catastrophic data breach has affected 9.8 million customers

Names, Birthdates, Phone Numbers, Medicare numbers, and even addresses have all been leaked for former and current customers of T-Mobile. The breach was first reported by Optus on the 22nd of September, but the gravity of the situation was only made obvious after it was noted that over 9 million customers would be affected by this breach.

According to T-Mobile, worth $168 Billion, customers are entitled to $25 dollars which they hope should compensate for the priceless damage of having numbers, addresses, and medicare numbers leaked in full. 

“The data leak has been disastrous enough for the government to step in and protect customers”

Of course, if customers can provide extensive documentation to prove they have had to take steps to prevent identity theft and fraud related to this specific breach they could potentially receive up to $25,000; which means that there is still light at the end of the tunnel for T-mobile customers, albeit dimmed by intensive amounts of legal work and documentation.

This is part of their $350 million settlement deal with customers, and they are expected to pay a further $150 million to upgrade data security measures.

The data leak has been disastrous enough for the government to step in and protect customers. This Friday, the Australian Federal police released a joint media release alongside other departments such as the cybercrime unit in which they expressed their plans to help victims of the T-Mobile data breach.

“The AFP and state and territory police have set up Operation Guardian to supercharge the protection of more than 10,000 customers whose identification credentials have been unlawfully released online under the Optus data breach. Customers affected by the breach will receive multi-jurisdictional and multi-layered protection from identity crime and financial fraud. The 10,000 individuals, who potentially had 100 points of identification released online, will be prioritised.”

Joint media release with the Australian Federal Police, all State and Territory Police, Australian Cyber Security Centre, Australian Banking Association, IDCARE and Customer Owned Banking Association

Australian federal departments had made a request to Optus to disclose the full list of customers who have had their Medicare and Centrelink information revealed, however they have not been met with any response or updates so far.

As data breaches become common in a rapidly digitizing world, customers and users are more worried than ever when it comes to the protection of sensitive information. 

The best case scenario for data breaches of this scale are customers being the target of unwanted marketing campaigns and being included in various email lists – the worst case scenario, however, can be far more sinister as it can result in outright identity theft.

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