A person with insider knowledge stole data including names, addresses, birth dates, and bank account information, the world’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier said in a statement today. The hacker had no access to credit-card information, passwords, PIN numbers or mobile-phone numbers, Vodafone said.
The attack was detected by Vodafone at the beginning of September, stopped and reported to the police, Kuzey Esener, a Vodafone spokesman, said. Clients can check on Vodafone’s German website to see if they are affected, and will also be informed by mail, he said. While the data stolen does not allow criminals to access bank accounts, Vodafone will warn clients of the possibility of so-called phishing attacks, he said.
Vodafone, based in Newbury, England, is the latest high-profile company to announce a security breach. Last month there were hacker attacks on Google Inc. (GOOG), Twitter Inc. and the New York Times. KT Corp., South Korea’s largest phone and Internet company, fell the most in seven months in July last year after saying customer data were leaked by hackers.
Vodafone shares fell 0.8 percent to 208.40 pence at 10:40 a.m. in London, giving the company a market value of 101 billion pounds ($158 billion).
Vodafone said the incident only affects clients in Germany. Authorities have identified a suspect, Esener said. He didn’t say whether the suspect was an employee or an outsider.
Germany contributes more to Vodafone’s revenue and profit than any other country. It accounted for about 18 percent of sales in the fiscal year ended March 31. The company is trying to conclude a 7.7 billion-euro ($10.2 billion) takeover of Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, Germany’s biggest cable company, to expand in the country and increase customer loyalty with packages combining phone, Internet and TV services.
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