Google Fi and T-Mobile’s Breaches
Last week’s big story was about the data breach of Google Fi, Google’s cell network provider. This is apparently part of the wider T-Mobile breach from last month, in which 37 million customers had their personal information stolen. Google Fi uses T-Mobile in part for its network connectivity, and “suspicious activity” of a third-party system containing the information alerted the company to the trouble. Billing addresses, T-Mobile account details and birth dates were among the initial data, with Google reporting additional information such as account statuses, SIM card serial numbers and other info about mobile plans. Enough data was accessed for the hacker to initiate a fairly convincing phishing scheme.
One customer, in particular, noted that their phone number had been briefly hijacked due to the breach. This method, known as SIM swapping, allows hackers to use a phone number to access other online accounts that share said phone number – think multifactor authentication protocols. Ironically, a procedure intended to bolster your security proved, in this unique case, to open the door to a narrow type of cyber attack. Not that this should in any way be a discouragement to using such protective features, which are otherwise of immense benefit to users. It is precisely because cyber criminals have access to a vast array of tricks and techniques that people must avail themselves of any means of stopping them.
Another strategy that organizations of all types and sizes must implement is data encryption. In many cases, a company trying to improve its cyber hygiene may still be exposing in plain view the personal information it collects. Solutions like NetLib Security’s Encryptionizer enable an organization to efficiently and effectively encrypt the sensitive data against the prying eyes of cyber intruders. By providing this critical layer of protection, a business ensures a strong data security posture while also adhering to numerous and evolving compliance requirements.
This most recent T-Mobile breach is the telecom’s eighth time being hacked since 2018. As we often say, even a company of that size, with all its resources, has to endure bumps in the road when breached. How much more severe, imagine, for one of much humbler means. To avoid the existential threat a major breach can pose, do not leave your valuables out in the open, so to speak. Encrypt your data and secure your continued success.