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AT&T reports attempted customer data hack

Part of an 'organized and systematic' attempt

By Brad Reed, Network World
November 21, 2011 05:19 PM ET

Network World - AT&T today notified customers that there had been an "organized and systematic" attempt to hack into their personal account information.

The company sent out an email to customers informing them of an "attempt to obtain information on a number of AT&T customer accounts" but also emphasized that it did "not believe that the perpetrators of this attack obtained access" to users' online accounts. The company said that the perpetrators had tried using "auto script" technology to "determine whether AT&T telephone numbers were linked to online AT&T accounts." AT&T said it is now focusing its efforts on finding out who attempted the hack and what their intent was for gathering customer information.

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AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel says that there is no relation between the attempted hack and the three-hour wireless data service outage that hit some customers in the northeastern U.S. this morning. Rather, he says that the service outage was caused by a routing error that has since been fixed.

Today's attempted hack of AT&T user accounts marks the first major publicized hack attempt on the carrier since a hacking group called Goatse Security successfully extracted the email addresses of about 114,000 AT&T customers by exploiting vulnerabilities on the website that AT&T had set up for customers using Apple iPads. Daniel Spitler, a 26-year-old man who helped the hackers steal iPad users' personal information, pled guilty to fraud and hacking charges earlier this year.

Read more about security in Network World's Security section.

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