After being sued by the Federal Communications Commission for stealing customer data, one of the largest communication companies in the world, AT&T,agreed to settle and pay 25 million US dollars.

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The Mexico, Columbia and the Philippines call centers were accused of data breaches, and unauthorized disclosure of more than 280 thousand names of customers in the United States. Beside the names, social security numbers and other account related data were also disclosed. The gathered info from the call centers was later used to unlock stolen mobile phones from the AT&T network. The data was also directly bought from the call centers employees by anyone interested.

FCC has never taken such large and significant data security action, and we may expect more of the same in the future, with customers often expressing concern about the security of their private data. This could serve as a wakeup call to the companies all around the world, which are not optimally protecting their clients’ personal data.

The confident data was gathered in Mexico from 2013 to mid-2014, and this was the first incident that caught the eye of the FCC investigators. The investigation revealed three workers at the Mexico call center who sold the names and the last four numbers of the Social Security number of the client. Further investigation led the FCC to new evidence indicating the same security breach occurring in Columbia and in the Philippines.

More than 211.000 AT&T clients’ accounts were breached in this action, the FCC reported.