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AT&T Website Faces Hackers’ Axe

When about 19,000 customers were shopping equipment for DSL services from AT&T online store, a group of hackers unlawfully entered AT&T website and stole sensitive information of the customers including credit card details. AT&T declared this on 29th August 2006.

AT&T informs that the attack happened last weekend and as precaution they shut down the site within a few hours from the time they discovered the fraud. AT&T has alerted all the credit card companies with whom the company's affected customers had accounts. Moreover AT&T has promised to compensate for the damages to its customers. The company has notified caution to the customers through phones, letters and e-mail.

AT&T's chief privacy officer Priscilla Hill-Ardoin admits that an active market for illegally obtained personal information exists. Therefore the company has entrusted itself to protect its customers' privacy and dig out and punish the criminals. It would also join with law enforcement authorities to make the data thieves answerable.

According to AT&T spokesman Walt Sharp they were not sure about the exact data of occurrence of the violation but it was found by a routinely conducted security monitoring system. He further said the case of 19,000 customers is not as big a damage compared to the magnitude of the company's activities. Yes, it does affect their reputation but not significantly. He confirmed that only the online store was attacked while DSL subscribers were unscathed. However, as a precautionary measure the online store that sells telephones was also shut down. Sharp assured that forensic teams and law enforcement had been examining the theft.

While expressing concern over the rising number of online breaches, Todd Stefan of Setec Investigations, a computer security-consulting firm in L.A., said that there was a large underground international community of organized criminals, which transmits unlawfully collected information especially of credit cards. There credit card numbers are traded in bulk in chat rooms.

AT&T has been accused of not having appropriate level of security against deception. Some imposter data brokers purchase data of AT&T customers and then resell them to private buyers and law enforcement agents for profit. AT&T has filed a lawsuit against these data brokers.

Related article: AIT Charges Fayetteville Observer Of Click Fraud

» SPAMfighter News - 9/4/2006

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