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AT&T resets millions of passcodes following a massive customer data leak

AT&T has reset millions of customer passcodes after a massive data leak, affecting current and former users' sensitive information.

In an unprecedented move, AT&T has initiated a mass reset of customer account passcodes after a significant data breach saw millions of its users' records leaked online. This step was taken swiftly after TechCrunch reported the incident to AT&T, uncovering that the leaked cache contained encrypted passcodes, potentially threatening customer account . This article delves into the details of the breach, its implications, and the measures AT&T has undertaken to secure its customers' data.

A breach of significant scale

Earlier this month, a considerable volume of AT&T customer records was dumped on the , sparking immediate concern. The breach, which came to light after TechCrunch's report, contained encrypted passcodes that, if decrypted, could allow unauthorized access to customer accounts. A security expert who closely analyzed the leaked data-informed TechCrunch that the encrypted passcodes could be easily deciphered, prompting immediate action from AT&T.

In response, AT&T stated on Saturday that it had launched an extensive investigation with the help of cybersecurity specialists, both from within and outside the company. Preliminary findings suggest that the data dates back to 2019 or earlier, affecting around 7.6 million current and approximately 65.4 million former AT&T customers. Despite the breach, AT&T reassures that there's no evidence to suggest any unauthorized system access that could have led to the data leak.

This incident marks AT&T's first acknowledgement of a data breach affecting its customers, three years after a hacker claimed to have stolen the records of 73 million AT&T users. Although AT&T had previously denied any system breach, the source of the leak remains unidentified. The telecom giant has stated that it's unclear whether the data originated from AT&T or one of its vendors.

The implications of the leak

The leaked data includes sensitive information such as customer names, home addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. Security researcher Sam “Chick3nman” Croley disclosed that the dataset included encrypted account passcodes, which he analyzed without breaking the encryption cypher.

Croley's investigation revealed about 10,000 unique encrypted values, corresponding to the range of possible four-digit passcodes, with a few exceptions for accounts with longer passcodes. This discovery indicated a lack of randomness in the encrypted data, making it possible to guess a customer's passcode based on other information within the dataset.

What AT&T is doing

In light of these findings, AT&T has proactively reset the account passcodes of the 7.6 million affected current customers and has committed to reaching out to current and former customers whose personal information was compromised. Customers are also encouraged to take additional steps to secure their accounts, as detailed in AT&T's security advice post.

This breach serves as a stark reminder of the importance of digital security and the potential vulnerabilities that come with it. For customers, it underscores the need for vigilance and the adoption of robust security measures to protect their personal and financial information.

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Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition, where she writes about technology and often does listicles and product reviews. Based in Austria, Gabriela is a person with many and diverse hobbies. If you don't find her reading a book at home or baking something, she will probably be out hiking or taking some classes to learn a new skill.

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