Hack could cost T-Mobile millions, analysts predict

T-Mobile US announced that up to 40 million current or prospective customers had their personal information stolen out of the company's computer systems.

"We take our customers' protection very seriously and we will continue to work around the clock on this forensic investigation to ensure we are taking care of our customers in light of this malicious attack," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

T-Mobile said its preliminary analysis of the hack found that 7.8 million current T-Mobile postpaid customers had their data stolen. The company added that around 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customers had some data stolen, including their account PINs. T-Mobile said that the personal data that was stolen included first and last names, dates of birth, social security numbers and driver's license information. However, the company said no financial information was stolen.

In response to the situation, T-Mobile said it would offer two years of free identity protection services with McAfee's ID Theft Protection Service, among other steps. "While our investigation is ongoing, we wanted to share these initial findings even as we may learn additional facts through our investigation that cause the details above to change or evolve," the company said.

The financial analysts at New Street Research speculated that T-Mobile may face millions of dollars in fines due to the hack: "We don't know what liability, if any, T-Mobile will face for the leak. We are reminded of the Equifax leak, which involved a similar kind of data breach for around 163 million people and resulted in fines for Equifax of up to $700 million," they wrote in a note to investors Wednesday. "On similar math, T-Mobile's leak of roughly 50 million customers would result in a fine of around $215 million."

The analysts also pointed out that T-Mobile's shares lost around $5.3 billion in value on the news. The company's stock fell from around $145 per share to $140 per share on initial reports of the hack earlier this week.

"The loss of $5.3 billion in value seems to imply that T-Mobile will have 1-2 million fewer customers as a result of the reputational damage inflicted by the breach," they noted.

Importantly, this is the fifth time in recent years that T-Mobile has reported hacks into its systems.

Related posts:

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
Sign In