Last year was awful for a lot of reasons, and T-Mobile (opens in new tab) isn’t off to the best start with 2021 as it has just reported (opens in new tab) a recent data breach that may have affected your T-Mobile account information.
This information comes from T-Mobile itself, which posted a notice of security incident on its website on December 31, 2020 stating that it had identified and shut down a data breach in which hackers gained access to customer proprietary network information (CPNI) - this includes phone numbers, the number of lines on your account, and some call related information.
T-Mobile was quick to stress that the data breach did not include information like names, physical or email addresses, financial information, credit card details, social security numbers, tax IDs, passwords, or PINs. T-Mobile’s cybersecurity team identified the breach and immediately shut it down. An investigation is now underway, and federal law enforcement has been notified. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you will likely be contacted via email to explain what happened and if you were affected.
What does the T-Mobile data breach mean for you?
In all likelihood? A few more calls from spammers and cold callers are likely to be the worst side effects of this breach, as phone numbers were the main piece of information that the hackers were able to gain access to. T-Mobile assures us that they won’t have access to your name, address, or financial information.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of your phone number being out in the ether for all to see, then you can contact T-Mobile (opens in new tab) itself to request a phone number change. T-Mobile allows one free mobile number change per year. Additional changes come with a $15 charge but, given the data breach we think you’ve got a good chance of getting that fee waived.
Keeping your smartphone safe from hackers
T-Mobile is one of the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab) in the country and data breaches are a constant worry for both companies and consumers. Hackers are always looking for ways to steal your personal information, either for scamming purposes or just to sell on to other enterprises (some legitimate, some not). In this case, the attack was on T-Mobile’s end so there was nothing that customers could have done to prevent it, but there are many ways that hackers and scammers can gain your personal information that you can defend against.
Many internet security software (opens in new tab) packages work with mobile devices, meaning you can protect your smartphone and tablets, along with traditional computers. These software suites include firewalls, anti-malware software and other protections that will keep your devices and information safe.
Looking for more ways to stay safe online? VPN services (opens in new tab) are another way to protect your personal information on your smartphone. Many of the best smartphones (opens in new tab) in 2021 also have in-built security features, so upgrading your handset is another option.