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Hackers steal credit card details from AT&T

US telecoms giant AT&T said Tuesday that hackers have stolen personal data, including credit card information, from as many as 19,000 of its customers.

The security breach came to light over the weekend and affects only AT&T customers who bought purchased DSL equipment through the company’s online web store.

“The unauthorised electronic access took place over the weekend, was discovered within hours and the online store was shut down immediately,” a statement form the company said. “AT&T also quickly notified the major credit card companies whose customer accounts were involved. The company is also working with law enforcement to investigate the incident and pursue the perpetrators.”

AT&T said that it has sent out customer notifications by email, phone and letter. The company will also pay for credit monitoring services to assist in protecting the customers involved.

“We recognise that there is an active market for illegally obtained personal information. We are committed to both protecting our customers’ privacy and to weeding out and punishing the violators,” said Priscilla Hill-Ardoin, chief privacy officer for AT&T.

Ironically, AT&T Government Solutions, a business unit of AT&T, was also awarded a $250m network contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) Tuesday.

“At AT&T, we make it our mission to ensure that our military customers are getting the most reliable, secure and cost-effective solutions available anywhere,” said Don Herring, president of AT&T Government Solutions in the press release.

Earlier this week, Nicholas Lee Jacobsen, the 23 year old hacker who broke into the personal records of T-Mobile USA’s customers in 2004 was given just a $10,000 fine and a year under house arrest.

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