AT&T Destroys the Lives of Millions… Not Really

Jackson Nielsen

Recently, one of the largest phone providers, AT&T, made the public aware of a massive data leak. Users of AT&T may have potentially had very serious information, such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, full names, dates of birth and mailing addresses, leaked onto the dark web. For those who are unaware, the dark web is a hidden layer to the internet that cannot be accessed via the conventional internet browser, like Google Chrome or Safari. Instead, a special browser is needed where, once installed, the user can access a smorgasbord of website’s promoting illegal activity and selling illegal goods. This is definitely somewhere I would not want my sensitive information getting leaked to; but to each their own. 

AT&T went on the record stating that they are currently unaware of where the leak even came from. The company is working with inside and outside cyber security experts in the hopes that they can pinpoint where the data breach came from but for now, they are still in the dark. According to the phone providers numbers, 7.6 million of their customers and about 65.4 million former customers had their data leaked onto the dark web. This is following last month’s AT&T outage that affected more than 1.7 million users. AT&T then went on to announce that they would be notifying those who had their information leaked and would even go as far as to pay for credit monitoring “when applicable”.

I understand that no one is perfect and that accidents happen. I would also like to believe that AT&T has numerous safeguards in place to ensure this exact kind of incident doesn’t occur. But for a company who has access to this kind of sensitive information, given to them by their customers, I would expect more. I would like to believe that the 7.6 million customers and 65.4 million former customers would agree with me on this one. The ramifications that could result from losing information, such as Social Security numbers and mailing addresses, can be a huge pain in the butt for the people who had their information leaked. And as we all know, identity theft is not a joke (Jim). 

Regardless of what they could or couldn’t have done better, the fact of the matter remains that it still happened. I know if I were contacted by my phone provider informing me that my information is now floating around on the dark web for anyone to view, I would be very upset. I would expect some sort of compensation for this disastrous turn of events. I can only imagine the look of disdain on millions of AT&T customers when they hear the custom support employee utter the words “we will pay for credit monitoring if applicable”. I would have already been planning my tropical getaway, paid for by AT&T of course. But instead I get credit monitoring for potentially having my identity stolen. All of this is hypothetical, of course, because I use Verizon.

Data from 73 million AT&T accounts leaked to dark web, company says

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