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T-Mobile’s Massive Data Breach Worries U.S. Senators

October 8, 2015 - Written By Fernando Bonilla

Last month, T-Mobile partner Experian suffered a data breach on one of its servers. As a result, a staggering 15 million customers using T-Mobile plans had their personal information stolen, including names, addresses, and even Social Security numbers. Now, U.S. Senators have written a letter to both companies in an effort to bring attention to the crisis.

T-Mobile advertises its JUMP! On Demand service and similar offers as one of the network’s key advantages of other carriers. The promotions seem to be working, and T-Mobile now stands as the nation’s third largest cellular network, leaving Sprint in fourth. However, to approve new clients for these offers, T-Mobile requires a credit check that verifies eligibility. That’s where information services company Experian comes in. T-Mobile collaborates with Experian as a way to perform the needed credit check for potential customers.

Immediately after Experian’s confession that a data breach did occur, T-Mobile and Experian committed to conducting investigations on what exactly happened and looking into ways to protect T-Mobile users. Experian stated their intent to improve security while T-Mobile reviewed their partnership.

However, the two company’s actions so far have not been enough to satisfy U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Bill Nelson, and Brian Schatz. All three are Democrats, though they represent Connecticut, Florida, and Hawaii, respectively. Their joint letter is addressed to Experian CEO Brian Cassin and outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere. The Senators are particularly interested in illuminating the dangers of having stolen Social Security numbers floating around. Although Experian emphasized that bank and credit information was not taken, the U.S. Senators are not pleased with the fact that Social Security numbers were. Their goal is to prove “the need for legislation that addresses both consumer notification and sets minimum security requirements for companies that collect and store such sensitive consumer data.”

Data breaches have been all too common in recent history. The Senators are looking to reduce the amount of personal information that can be stolen from companies like Experian. The letter asks for the credit checking company to reveal the results of their investigation and explain how their servers were accessed. Experian hasn’t presented any additional information on the stolen data since their first statements after the breach.

Experian is offering a complimentary membership to ProtectMyID for two years, a service that provides identity protection.