T-Mobile Data on 15 Million People Exposed in Experian Hack

  • T-Mobile CEO says he's 'incredibly angry' about the breach
  • Names, addresses, social security numbers were exposed

T-Mobile US Inc. said about 15 million consumers who filled out credit applications with the wireless carrier may have had their personal information stolen by hackers.

The breach happened when attackers gained access to a database containing T-Mobile’s information that was run by Experian Plc, the credit-tracking firm, the carrier said Thursday. The hackers stole names, addresses and social security numbers. People who submitted credit applications from Sept. 1, 2013, to Sept. 16, 2015, were affected.

“Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected,” John Legere, T-Mobile’s chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to consumers.

Telecom analyst Kevin Roe said it’s unlikely the hack will have any material negative fallout for T-Mobile.

“I don’t expect the data breach news to impact subscriber trends,” said Roe, president of Roe Equity Research LLC in Dorset, Vermont. These “seem to have become regular occurrences and I think the U.S. consumer is a bit immune to data-breach headlines.”

T-Mobile rose 1.4 percent to $40.70 at the close in New York. The shares have climbed 51 percent this year. Experian dropped 3.8 percent to 1,034 pence in London trading.

Hackers didn’t gain access to any payment or banking information, Experian said in a statement. The firm is investigating the hack, and said it notified U.S. and international law enforcement. The breach didn’t impact Experian’s consumer-credit database, it said.

Hackers are targeting health care and other companies, after retailers stepped up security following the data breach of Target Corp. in 2013, according to John Gunn, a vice president at VASCO Data Security. Hackers can sell social security numbers for 10 to 20 times more than credit-card numbers on the black market, he said.

“My government is not going to send me a new social security number ever,” Gunn said. “There’s exposure for the rest of my life.”

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