AT&T has notified about 9 million of its customers about a marketing vendor the company used that was breached in January, exposing the private information of those wireless accounts.
The wireless company isn’t revealing much. However, here’s what we know and what advice we can give you to protect yourself.
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What information was exposed in this data breach?
The company claims that credit card information, social security numbers and account passwords were not exposed during the data breach. However, the customer proprietary network information (CPNI) of about 9 million AT&T users, which includes information such as names, wireless account numbers, wireless phone numbers and email addresses, was exposed.
An AT&T spokesperson said, “A small percentage of affected customers also had exposure for their billing plan name, late amount, monthly payment amount, various monthly charges, and/or minutes used. The information was several years old.”
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AT&T has notified law enforcement about the data breach. However, the report they provided did not include specific information about any user’s account. They only notified law enforcement that a breach had occurred, as required by the Federal Trade Commission.
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How can I protect myself and my data?
AT&T encourages people to first submit a CPNI restriction request, which would disable the sharing of CPNI data on their accounts and reduce the risk of their information being exposed in the future if AT&T uses it again for a third-party vendor’s marketing purposes.
In addition to this step, here are some more tips to further protect you:
Have good antivirus software on all your devices
The best way to protect yourself from having your data compromised is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices. This can also alert you to any phishing or ransomware scams.
Check out my review of the best antivirus for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices by searching for “BestAntivirus” at CyberGuy.com by clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the top of my site.
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Use anti-theft protection
Identity theft companies can track personal information like your social security number, phone number, and email address and alert you if it’s being sold on the dark web or used to open an account. They can also help you freeze your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals.
Check out my tips and top picks on how to protect yourself from identity theft by searching for “identity theft” at CyberGuy.com by clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
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Have strong passwords and use 2-factor authentication
Using the same password on multiple platforms will always make you more vulnerable because if one account gets hacked, everyone gets hacked. 2-factor authentication is just an extra shield that will prevent a hacker from getting into your accounts. Make sure you use a password manager to keep track of all passwords.
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Create alias email addresses
Sometimes it’s best to create several email aliases so you don’t have to worry about all your information being taken in the event of a data breach. An alias email address is a great way to stop receiving constant spam by simply deleting the alias email address.
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To learn more about upgrading your email security, go to CyberGuy.com and search for “Mail” by clicking the magnifying glass at the top of my site.
What additional steps do you take to protect yourself in the event of a data breach? Tell us your thoughts.
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