Thursday, October 2, 2008

Deutsche Telekom Cites Concern over Data Theft

Deutsche Telekom acknowledged an incident involving the theft of 17 million mobile telephone numbers.

The incident of data theft dates back to 2006 and has the attention of the public prosecutors' office. According to the magazine Der Spiegel, a storage device with 17 million mobile telephone data records is in the hands of unknown parties. The data relate to both prepay and postpay customers. Apart from names, addresses and cell phone numbers, the data, in some cases, also include the date of birth or e-mail addresses. The records do not contain bank details, credit card numbers or call data. Deutsche Telekom has no evidence to confirm that the records have led to harassment of users in 2006 or subsequent years, or that they have otherwise been misused by unauthorized parties.

Deutsche Telekom said it reported the theft to the responsible public prosecutors' office in the spring of 2006. Within the scope of their investigations, the public prosecutors' office was able to recover storage media. Extensive research conducted over several months on the Internet and in data trading places could not reveal any clues indicating that the data had been offered or disseminated on the black market. Owing to this, Deutsche Telekom assumed that there would be no dissemination of the data. However, Der Spiegel was apparently able to access the data in question via third parties.

"We are very concerned by the fact that the incident from 2006 is relevant once again. Until now, we were under the assumption that the data in question had been recovered completely as part of the investigations of the public prosecutors' office and were safe," said Philipp Humm, Managing Director at T-Mobile Deutschland. "Notwithstanding the fact that the culprits have been at work with a tremendous criminal potential, we earnestly regret to say that we have not been able to protect our customer data in line with our standards."