T-Mobile, the telecom behemoth, has reportedly suffered a data breach affecting the personal and financial information of 100 million users. Hackers are willing to sell the information in exchange for BTC (Bitcoin), whereas the US State Department strategies to distribute cryptocurrency payments to a more charitable group of dark web users.
T-Mobile claims to be aware of allegations made in a web forum “that a hacker allegedly paid 6 BTC (approximately $ 284,000 at the time of this writing) in exchange for a portion of the data loot (data from 30 million users) demands.”
When approached by Motherboard, the media company likely posing as an interested buyer, the suspected hacker claimed that the data of the remaining 70 million had already changed hands in “private” sales.
The suspected hacker told Motherboard in a “online chat” that he assumed T-Mobile had already discovered the hack because “we lost access to the servers that had been piled up.”However, the damage appears to have already been done, as the provider claims to have downloaded the data and saved it in “multiple locations.”
According to the article, T-Mobile is “actively investigating” the validity of the claims made by the suspected hackers.
Motherboard, on the other hand, claimed to have seen “examples of the data” and “established that it hadexact information about T-Mobile customers.” The data “includes social security numbers, phone numbers, names, physical addresses, unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers, and driver’s licence information,” according to the alleged seller.
Data breaches have plagued the network in recent years, with incidents reported in 2018, 2019, 2020, and at the turn of the year. T-Mobile explained how hackers broke into its employees’ email accounts before digging into customer account information, according to The Register in March 2020 – “the third security issue in as many years.”
This year has seen an increase in data breaches in almost every part of the world, and much has been written about the role of cryptocurrencies in these attacks. Ransomware attackers have been demanding cryptocurrency payments in exchange for restoring access to data that has been withheld from them, while other hackers have attempted to sell stolen data for cryptocurrency.As a result, the crypto world has been vilified in parliaments around the world, with some referring to the tokens as the tools of shadowy underworld villains.
However, this type of information has not always been well received by younger, tech-savvy people.That may be why the US State Department has chosen a different path, handing out cryptocurrencies funded by Treasury funds to informants who provide information about “state-motivated hackers.” Uncle Sam also wants to handle everything on the dark web, which is a surprising move.
According to CNN, a campaign announced last week at the Black Hat security conference would allow “informants” to “receive payments in cryptocurrency and provide sensitive information to the US government through a secure portal on the dark web.”
The State Department claims on a page promoting the campaign that it “To protect the safety of potential sources, has established a hotline for advice from the Dark Web (Tor-based). Possible relocation and reward payments via cryptocurrency must be available for legitimate sources.”
The department boasted that it would “pay up to $ 10 million for information leading to the identification or whereabouts of a person engaged in malicious cyber activity against critical US infrastructures while acting on the direction or under the control of a foreign government.”